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Steve Owen, Jack, Tim and Wellington Mara

Giants of Their Day

Stephen Joseph "Stout Steve" Owen

In 1941 Steve Owen began his eleventh season as head coach of the New York Football Giants. "Stout Steve" was born on April 21, 1898 at Cleo Springs in Oklahoma Territory--more than nine years before Oklahoma became a state.

Owen graduated Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma in 1921. He played football, baseball and was a member of the wrestling team. He spent a year at Phillips as line coach before turning to professional football.

Owen began his professional football career with the Kansas City Blues in 1924. He was five-feet and ten-inches and weighed 237-pounds. He was a tackle/guard. Kansas City changed its name to the Cowboys in 1925. Owen started the season with the Cowboys, but finished with the Cleveland Bulldogs. 

In 1926 Tim Mara made one of the great decisions of a lifetime, he purchased the contract of Steve Owen from the Cleveland Bulldogs for $500. 

In 1931 Tim Mara offered Owen the head coach job with the Giants. They shook hands on an agreement making Owen head coach. The agreement would stand for 23-years.


Steve Owen died at the age of sixty-six on May 17, 1964 of a cerebral hemorrhage at Oneida City Hospital, Oneida, New York. He is buried in Cleo Springs Cemetery, Cleo Springs, Oklahoma.


John Vincent "Jack" Mara

In 1941 Jack Mara was president and treasurer of the New York Football Giants. He was the oldest of Tim Mara's two sons. He was born in New York City in 1908. 

Mara graduated Fordham University in 1930 with a degree in law. He never practiced law, but instead joined the Giants' organization as vice-president.


Jack Mara died at the age of fifty-seven on June 29, 1965 of cancer at Memorial Hospital. He is buried at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Valhalla, New York.


Timothy James "Tim" Mara

In 1941 "Tim Mara's Giants" started their 17th season in the National Football League. Mara was born on July 29, 1887. He grew up poor in Greenwich Village on the lower West Side of the borough of Manhattan. 

Mara was a newsboy at the age of twelve. Bookmaking was legal in New York, and he started in the bookmaking business as a runner between the bookies on his paper route and the hotel guest that he delivered newspapers. 

In 1925 the National Football League began its sixth year in existence, which included the first two years it was known as the American Professional Football Association. 

In 1921 the franchise for New York City was granted to the New York Brickley Giants for the second season of the APFA. At the end of the second season in 1921 the league members voted to change the name to the National Football League. Joseph F. Carr was president of the league and the franchise fee of $100 that may not have been collected from any of the league members was a requirement by the start of the 1922 season. 

The Brickley Giants did not pay the franchise fee, and the league cancelled their franchise. The franchise for New York City remained vacant until officially granted to a small group of investors on August 1, 1925 that included Timothy J. Mara. The franchise fee was $500, and the New York Football Giants rose from the ashes of the Brickley Giants. 

The first season for the Giants was a winning one on the field, but not at the turnstiles. It took Red Grange and the Chicago Bears to bring an overflow crowd of approximately 70,000 to the Polo Grounds to recoup the season's losses for the Giants, and guarantee them a second season in the NFL.

By the start of the winter meeting of the NFL in Detroit on January 25, 1926, Tim Mara was president with controlling interest in the New York Football Giants organization.        

In 1930 Mara turned over the ownership of the Giants to his two son's Jack then 22 and Wellington 14. Some said that he was in danger of losing the Giants because of his heavy losses in the stock market.

The Giants won their first NFL championship in 1927 under Head Coach Earl Potteiger. Steve Owen was an All-Pro lineman. 

In 1933 the NFL divided itself into Eastern and Western Divisions. The Giants won the Eastern Division championship. They repeated in 1934, and added an NFL championship. They were also Eastern Division champions in 1935.

In 1938 the Giants were the Eastern Division champion and NFL champion. They repeated as Eastern Division champions in 1939.

In 1941 when Jack was a rookie end for the Giants, they won the Eastern Division of the National Football League. 

Tim Mara was the elder statesman of the New York Football Giants.


Tim Mara died of a heart attack at his home in New York City at the age of seventy-one on February 16, 1959. He is buried at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Valhalla, New York. 


Wellington Timothy "Duke" Mara

In 1941 Wellington Mara was secretary of the New York Football Giants. He was the youngest of Tim Mara's two sons. He was born in New York City on August 14, 1916

Mara grew up with the Giants, and joined the organization full time after graduating Fordham University in 1937. He was made secretary of the club in 1938.

He was secretary of the Giants when Jack Lummus signed his contract with the club in 1941.


Wellington Mara died of cancer at his home in Rye, New York at the age of eighty-nine on October 25, 2005. Funeral Mass was on October 28 in St. Patrick's Cathedral. He is buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, New York.


New York Football Giants 1941


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