John Mackey (American football)

Last updated

John Mackey
John Mackey (American football).jpg
No. 88, 89
Position: Tight end
Personal information
Born:(1941-09-24)September 24, 1941
Roosevelt, New York
Died:July 6, 2011(2011-07-06) (aged 69)
Baltimore, Maryland
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:224 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school: Hempstead High School (NY)
College: Syracuse
NFL Draft: 1963  / Round: 2 / Pick: 19
AFL Draft: 1963  / Round: 5 / Pick: 35
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions:331
Receiving yards:5,236
Yards per reception:15.8
Receiving touchdowns:38
Player stats at NFL.com  ·  PFR

John Mackey (September 24, 1941 – July 6, 2011) was an American professional football player who was a tight end for the Baltimore Colts and the San Diego Chargers. He was born in Roosevelt, New York [1] and attended Syracuse University. He was the first president of the National Football League Players Association following the AFL-NFL merger, serving from 1970 to 1973. Mackey was also a major reason the NFLPA created the "88 Plan", which financially supports ex-players who required living assistance in later years.

Contents

A five-time Pro Bowler, Mackey was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992, the second pure tight end elected.

College career

Mackey played three seasons at Syracuse University (1960-1962), alternating between the running back, tight end, and wide receiver position. His first two seasons were on the same team as Ernie Davis, the 1961 Heisman Trophy winner. Mackey caught a total of 27 passes for 481 yards and 5 touchdowns, while also rushing for 259 yards and 4 more scores. [2] As a Junior, he set a school record with 321 receiving yards, and caught 4 passes in Syracuse's 15-14 win over the University of Miami in the 1961 Liberty Bowl. [3] In Mackey's three seasons, Syracuse had a 20-10 record and won the Liberty Bowl each year. [4]

NFL career

Mackey was drafted by the Baltimore Colts with the 19th pick in the second round of the 1963 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he averaged over 20 yards per catch, scored seven touchdowns, and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl. He also returned 9 kickoffs for 271 yards, an average of 30 yards per return. [5]

He went on to play a total of 10 NFL seasons as tight end, and became known for his size and speed. [6] Mackey played his first nine seasons with the Colts. After losing his starting role to Tom Mitchell entering the 1972 regular season, he requested to be traded. Colts general manager Joe Thomas placed him on the team's retired list instead, prompting Mackey to demand being put on waivers. He was not claimed by any team in an attempt by franchise owners to blackball him for having been the president of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). He eventually signed with the San Diego Chargers on September 18, 1972, after being contacted by the team's defensive backs coach Willie Wood hours after clearing waivers. [7] He retired as an active player at the end of the 1972 season. [8] Although a knee injury forced him into early retirement, Mackey only missed one game in his whole career. [9]

During his 10 seasons in the NFL, Mackey scored 38 touchdowns and caught 331 passes for 5,236 yards. He also rushed 19 times for 127 yards. His career yards per catch average of 15.8 is currently the second-highest total among all Hall of Fame tight ends, trailing only Jackie Smith. [10]

Super Bowl V

Mackey played in Super Bowl V on January 17, 1971. He was involved in a famous game-changing play where he caught a record-setting 75-yard pass from quarterback Johnny Unitas after the ball was deflected twice, once by fellow Colts player Eddie Hinton and once by opposing Dallas Cowboys defenseman Mel Renfro. Baltimore won the game 16–13, following a 32-yard field goal by Jim O'Brien with five seconds left. [6] [9] [11]

Honors

During his playing career, Mackey played in five Pro Bowls, including in his rookie season. He was also named All-NFL three times. [6] In 1992, Mackey was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, becoming only the second pure tight end to be awarded this honor. [9]

Mackey has been included in several lists of great NFL players. In 1999, The Sporting News ranked Mackey at 48 on their list of "The 100 Greatest Football Players." [12] He also placed at number 42 on the NFL Network's list of the "Top 100 Football Players" in 2010. [8] [13]

In 2001, the John Mackey Award was established by the Nassau County Sports Commission. The award is given yearly to the top college tight end. [14] On September 15, 2007, Mackey's alma mater, Syracuse University, retired number 88 in his honor. [6]

On September 27, 2017, Mackey was installed, posthumously, into the Nassau County High School Athletic Hall of Fame as an athlete. His widow, Sylvia, accepted the honor on his behalf. This was the third class of the Hall of fame, which is housed in the renovated Nassau County Veterans' Memorial Coliseum.

Post-playing career

NFL Players Association presidency

In 1970, Mackey became the first president of the National Football League Players Association following the merger of the National Football League and the American Football League. [15] Although the NFL and AFL each had a candidate for president in mind, Mackey emerged as the leader both sides could agree on. [16] Mackey held the position of president until September 1973. [17]

In his first year as president, Mackey organized a strike following a lockout by owners, [6] with NFL players seeking additional pension contributions and insurance benefits, as well as higher pre- and post-season pay. The strike resulted in increased fringe benefits for NFL players totalling more than $12 million. [18] According to former teammate Ordell Braase, Mackey "had a vision for that job, which was more than just putting in time and keeping the natives calm. You don't get anything unless you really rattle the cage." [6] In 1972, Mackey became the lead plaintiff in a court action which led to the overturning of the so-called "Rozelle Rule," which limited a player's ability to act as a free agent. In 1976, the Rozelle Rule was ruled to violate antitrust laws in Mackey v. NFL. [19] [20] [21]

Post-career health problems

Several years after retiring from the NFL, Mackey began to suffer from symptoms of dementia. In one notorious incident at an airport checkpoint, Mackey refused to remove his Super Bowl and Hall of Fame rings at the metal detector. When a guard insisted he take them off, Mackey bolted through the checkpoint. It took four guards to subdue him. “I’m just so thankful they didn’t shoot him because they had no idea about his mental condition,’’ His wife Sylvia said after the incident. “They easily could have mistaken him for being a bomb-toting terrorist.” [22] [4]

His condition eventually worsened, and his family was forced to put him into a full-time assisted living facility. [23] Although Mackey received a small pension, it was not sufficient to cover the costs of his care, leading his wife Sylvia to reach out to NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. [6] [23]

Once made aware of the problem, Tagliabue and NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw responded with the "88 plan" in February 2007. [24] [25] [26] Named for Mackey's jersey number, the plan provides $88,000 per year for nursing home care and up to $50,000 annually for adult day care for former NFL players, including Mackey, suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's. [11] Mackey died July 6, 2011 at the age of 69. [6] It was revealed by a study by Boston University on his brain that he died of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. [27]

Related Research Articles

Johnny Unitas American football player

John Constantine Unitas was a National Football League (NFL) quarterback for 18 seasons, primarily with the Baltimore Colts. He has been consistently listed as one of the greatest NFL players of all time following a career that spanned from 1956 to 1973.

Super Bowl III Third AFL–NFL Championship Game

Super Bowl III was the third AFL–NFL Championship Game in professional American football, and the first to officially bear the trademark name "Super Bowl". Played on January 12, 1969, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, the game is regarded as one of the greatest upsets in both American football history and in the recorded history of sports. The 18-point underdog American Football League (AFL) champion New York Jets defeated the National Football League (NFL) champion Baltimore Colts by a score of 16–7.

Super Bowl XV

Super Bowl XV was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Oakland Raiders and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Philadelphia Eagles to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1980 season. The Raiders defeated the Eagles by the score of 27–10, becoming the first wild card playoff team to win a Super Bowl.

Peyton Manning American football quarterback

Peyton Williams Manning is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 18 seasons. Considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, he spent 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and four with the Denver Broncos. Manning is also one of the NFL's most recognizable players, earning the nickname "the Sheriff" due to his tendency to audible prior to the snap. The second son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and older brother of former NFL quarterback Eli Manning, he played college football at Tennessee, with whom he won the 1997 SEC Championship Game and earned MVP honors.

Don Shula American football player and coach

Donald Francis Shula was an American football defensive back and coach who served as a head coach in the National Football League (NFL) from 1963 to 1995. The head coach of the Miami Dolphins for most of his career, Shula is the NFL's winningest head coach, compiling 347 career victories and 328 regular-season victories. He held his first head coaching position with the Baltimore Colts, whom he led for seven seasons, and spent his next 26 seasons with Miami. Shula had only two losing seasons during his 33 years as a head coach and led the Dolphins to two consecutive Super Bowl titles in Super Bowl VII and Super Bowl VIII. His first Super Bowl title during 1972 is the only perfect season in NFL history.

National Football League Players Association Labor organization representing the professional American football players in the National Football League

The National Football League Players Association, or NFLPA, is a labor union representing National Football League (NFL) players. The NFLPA, which has headquarters in Washington, D.C., is led by president J. C. Tretter and executive director DeMaurice Smith. Founded in 1956, the NFLPA is the second-oldest labor union of the four major professional sports leagues; it was established to provide players with formal representation to negotiate compensation and the terms of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The NFLPA is a member of the AFL–CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States.

Kellen Winslow II American football tight end

Kellen Boswell Winslow II is an American former professional football player and convicted sex offender. He was a tight end in the National Football League (NFL) and played college football at the University of Miami, where he earned unanimous All-American honors, was recognized as the top college tight end and won the 2001 BCS national championship. Winslow was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the sixth overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. Winslow played four seasons for the Browns and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2007. He also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and New York Jets.

Reggie Wayne American football wide receiver

Reginald Wayne is a former American football wide receiver who spent 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Miami, and was drafted by the Colts in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft. A six-time Pro Bowl selection, Wayne was a member of the Colts' Super Bowl XLI championship team that beat the Chicago Bears. He ranks tenth all-time in NFL career receptions, tenth all-time in NFL receiving yards, and 24th all-time in career touchdown receptions. On December 14, 2014, Wayne played in both his 209th game and his 142nd win as a member of the Colts, breaking the franchise records set by Peyton Manning.

Kevin Mawae

Kevin James Mawae is an American football coach and former player who is the assistant offensive line coach for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League (NFL). He played center in the NFL for 16 seasons, primarily with the New York Jets. He played college football for Louisiana State University (LSU), where he was a four-year starter. He was picked by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1994 NFL Draft, and also played for the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans.

Dallas Clark American football tight end

Dallas Dean Clark is a former American football tight end who played 11 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Iowa, earned unanimous All-American honors, and was recognized as the top college tight end in the nation. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft and he was a member of their Super Bowl XLI championship team against the Chicago Bears. He also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Baltimore Ravens.

Gene Upshaw American football player, labor leader, NFLPA president

Eugene Thurman Upshaw Jr., also known as "Uptown Gene" and "Highway 63", was an American professional football player for the Oakland Raiders of the American Football League (AFL) and later the National Football League (NFL). He later served as the executive director of the National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA). In 1987, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is also the only player in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl in three different decades with the same team.

Gino Marchetti

Gino John Marchetti was an American professional football player who was a defensive end in the National Football League (NFL). He played in 1952 for the Dallas Texans and from 1953 to 1966 for the Baltimore Colts. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972. In 1969, Marchetti was named to the National Football League 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. In 1994, Marchetti was named to the National Football League 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. In 2019, he was unanimously named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Rayfield Wright

Larry Rayfield Wright is an American former professional football player who was an offensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL) for 13 seasons. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 2006.

Riley Mackey Odoms is a former American football tight end. He played college football at the University of Houston. In 1971, he had 45 catches for 730 yards and 8 TD after playing sparingly the two seasons prior.

Bob Trumpy American football tight end

Robert Theodore Trumpy Jr. is a former professional American football tight end who played for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1968 through 1977. He was a two-time National Football League Pro Bowler and a two-time American Football League All-Star. Following his playing career he spent many years as a broadcast color analyst, calling four Super Bowls. He was given the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

Raymond Canute Donaldson is a former American football Center in the National Football League for the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at the University of Georgia.

James Francis Whalen, Jr. was a professional American football tight end.

Kyle Rudolph American football tight end

Kyle Daniel Rudolph is an American football tight end for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Notre Dame, and was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He has been selected to two Pro Bowls.

Dwayne Allen American football tight end

Dwayne Lamont Allen is an American football tight end who is currently a free agent. He played college football for Clemson University, earned consensus All-American honors, and was recognized as the most outstanding college tight end in 2011. He was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. With the New England Patriots, he won Super Bowl LIII over the Los Angeles Rams.

Jack Doyle (American football) American football tight end

John Glenn Doyle is an American football tight end for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Western Kentucky, and signed with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent.

References

  1. "John Mackey, NFL Hall Of Famer And Long Island Native, Dies At 69". CBS New York . July 7, 2001. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  2. https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/john-mackey-2.html
  3. https://cuse.com/news/2011/7/7/FB_0707110503.aspx
  4. 1 2 https://www.syracuse.com/orangefootball/2011/07/syracuse_great_john_mackey_and.html
  5. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/M/MackJo00.htm
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Hall of Famer John Mackey dies". ESPN.com . July 7, 2011. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  7. Anderson, Dave. "Sports of The Times: John Mackey's Week," The New York Times, Tuesday, September 19, 1972. Retrieved October 22, 2020
  8. 1 2 Dick Friedman (July 18, 2011). "He Gave His All. Make It Matter". Sports Illustrated . Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  9. 1 2 3 "John Mackey". profootballhof.com. Pro Football Hall of Fame . Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  10. https://athlonsports.com/nfl/25-greatest-tight-ends-nfl-history
  11. 1 2 James M Klatell (February 11, 2009). "John Mackey: From The NFL To Dementia". CBS News . Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  12. Mike Freeman (August 1, 1999). "PRO FOOTBALL: NOTEBOOK; The Best From 1 to 100, And Subject to Debate". The New York Times . Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  13. "Photos: 100 Greatest NFL Players of All Time". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  14. "About Us". johnmackeyaward.org. Nassau County Sports Commission . Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  15. Levine, Matthew (2006). "Despite His Antics, T.O. Has a Valid Point: Why NFL Players Deserve a Bigger Piece of the Pie". Jeffrey S. Moorad Sports Law Journal . 13 (2): 425–464. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
  16. Jarrett Bell (March 12, 2011). "Timeline of NFL labor disputes". USA Today . Retrieved March 22, 2013.
  17. "Mackey Quits Players Post". Schenectady Gazette . September 13, 1973. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
  18. "The Year of the Strike". Ebony . Johnson Publishing Company. November 1970. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
  19. Novick, David (1975). "The Legality of the Rozelle Rule and Related Practices in the National Football League". Fordham Urban Law Journal . The Berkeley Electronic Press. 4 (3): 581–596. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
  20. John Mackey et al. v. National Football League, 407 F.Supp. 1000 (United States District Court, D. Minnesota, Fourth Division1975).
  21. Mark Conrad (2010). The Business of Sports: A Primer for Journalists. Routledge. p. 149. ISBN   978-0415876537.
  22. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/sports/football/john-mackey-was-defined-by-greatness-and-illness.html
  23. 1 2 John Gibeaut (November 1, 2011). "Thrown for a Loss: Retired Players Sue, Claim NFL Hid Brain Damage Info". ABA Journal . Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  24. Stanley H. Teitelbaum (2010). Athletes Who Indulge Their Dark Side: Sex, Drugs, and Cover-Ups. ABC-CLIO. p. 88. ISBN   978-1469962771.
  25. Peter Keating (December 4, 2007). "Congress questions NFL record-keeping on disabled players". ESPN The Magazine . Retrieved March 19, 2013.
  26. Alan Schwarz (March 14, 2007). "Wives United by Husbands' Post-N.F.L. Trauma". The New York Times . Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  27. Fainaru, Steve and Mark Fainaru-Wada (December 3, 2012). "Study: New cases of CTE in players". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 22, 2019.