New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Tim Mara

Tim Mara (Pro football. Born, New York, NY, July 29, 1887; died, New York, NY, Feb. 16, 1959.) One of the legendary names not only in New York sports but in all of pro football, Timothy J. Mara created the second-oldest continuous sports franchise in the New York area, the New York Football Giants, in 1925. In the process, he may have saved the fledgling National Football League, then floundering through its sixth season. Few took the N.F.L. seriously at that time, as it did not have a New York franchise. Even more than today, the city was the center of press and media attention. To be considered big time, a sport simply had to succeed in New York or not be taken seriously. Although he started out to buy a piece of a boxing champion, Mara wound up with an N.F.L. franchise in 1925 and determined to make a go of it. It took years and thousands of dollars risked, but he did it. While the appearance of Red Grange and the Chicago Bears packed the Polo Grounds and cleaned up the first year’s $40,000 deficit, Mara faced a tougher challenge in 1926 when Grange joined the opposing American Football League and set up shop in Yankee Stadium. But Mara met that challenge, too, and by 1927 produced a championship team by shedding players and coaches until he found the right combination. Although he later turned over active management of the team to his sons, Jack and Wellington, Tim Mara remained the guiding light of the Football Giants until his dying day.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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About Bill Shannon

A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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