"The Duke" is the nickname on the side of every NFL football. How the "The Duke" appeared on all the NFL Footballs made is an interesting story
Wellington Mara spent his whole life dedicated to the National Football League (NFL). His father the late Timothy J. Mara was the founder of the Giants. Wellington's father was also a charter member to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Wellington would join the Giants organization in 1937 as the part-time assistant to the president of football for the Giants. In 1938, Wellington Mara would become a full-time club secretary for the Giants. He would become president of the team after his brother Jack Mara passed away in 1965.
Lets take a look at how Wellington Mara became a household name to the NFL and how his nickname is now printed on every NFL Football.
Wellington "The Duke" Mara - The nickname printed on every NFL football
Wellington Mara would have extensive experience with the Giants organization and led them to 16 NFL/NFC division titles. He would also help the Giants obtain four NFL Championships. Wellington would spend 68 seasons with the Giants after he graduated from the University of Fordham in 1937.
With all his experience he would made significant changes to the Giants. He would draft Hall of Famer Tuff Leemans and would make key trades to better the team. Mara would craft the perfect trades to bring in Y.A. Tittle, Andy Robustelli and Del Shofner. On top of that he would draft Frank Gifford and Roosevelt Brown who both helped the Giants become a dominant team in the NFL.
Wellington Mara would build the almost perfect team for the Giants and would make them into an NFL powerhouse in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In the span of eight season the Giants would win six divisional championships and the 1956 NFL title. He is known as one of the most knowledgeable executives in the NFL.
Wellington has this quote on the NFL Hall of Fame website:
"I SPENT ALL MY TIME WITH THE PLAYERS AND COACHES. THE PLAYERS USED TO CALL ME 'DUKE’ BECAUSE OF MY NAME. I WATCHED GAME MOVIES AND SAT IN ON TEAM MEETINGS AND AT THAT TIME KNEW EVERY ASSIGNMENT ON THE TEAM, OFFENSE AND DEFENSE. I DON’T HAVE TIME TO DO THAT ANYMORE. AND I’M NOT THAT CLOSE TO THE PLAYERS EITHER. THEY CALLME MR. MARA NOW.”
The NFL would honor Wellington "The Duke" Mara by placing his nickname on every NFL Football that is used today. Each NFL game ball is handcrafted by Wilson in Ada, Ohio. Wilson has been the maker of "The Duke" since it all started.
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Wilson is currently the longest brand to be partnered with the NFL. In 1941, the NFL would adopt the name "The Duke" for their game balls and that continues to this day. For the many years Wellington Mara spent in the NFL with the New York Giants. He is more than worthy enough to be remembered forever.