John Mara: It's not just business, it's personal
People always say that football is a business. That’s true when it comes to contracts and stadium rights and all of the other monetary influences over the sport. But essentially, football is not a business. It’s a sport. A game. And John Mara was sure to recognize the personal nature of football last night.
The Giants president and CEO spoke to the players and coaches at Tiffany’s before they received their Super Bowl rings – for most their first or second, for Mara his fourth – and gave them a heartfelt thank you, not only for what they did during a six-week stretch from late December through early February, but what they have done in the last decade or so.
“I just want you to know how much this means to my family,” Mara told them. “We have been here with this team since the beginning in 1925, through great seasons and a number of not-so-great seasons. This is not just a business to us, this is personal. Much of my childhood and early adult years were spent suffering with some pretty poor teams. There were years when the team was ridiculed and scorned by the media and by our fans.
“So to get to this point today, where we’re the world champions again, and to have an organization that is universally respected and, to my thinking, is second to none, is very special indeed. So thank you Jerry Reese, Tom Coughlin and all the players, coaches and staff for making this dream of ours a reality.”
Mara’s grandfather, Tim Mara, founded the franchise 87 years ago. The reigns were passed to John’s late father, Wellington, and then to him.
“I just want to say thank you,” Mara said. “Thank you to all of our players, our coaches, our staff who are here tonight. Thank you on behalf of the Mara and Tisch families for making us world champions for the second time in five years.”
Mara does understand the business of football. A year ago at this time he was slogging through negotiations during the lockout, trying to figure out how to save the season. Little did he know at the time that it would turn out to be a championship season for the Giants.
“Most players never get an opportunity to wear a ring like this and call themselves world champions,” Mara told them. “It’s something they can only dream about. So cherish the ring, enjoy it, and remember what it took to earn it – hard work, dedication, belief in the team concept, belief in yourself, belief in your teammates. You now know what it takes to be a world champion. Congratulations men.”