New York Giants’ co-owner Ann Mara died early Sunday morning due to complications suffered from a recent fall, according to a statement released by the football team. She was 85 years old.
"I am sad to say that our mother has passed away," John Mara, Ann Mara's son and Giants' president and CEO, said in the statement released on Super Bowl Sunday. ”She has been the leader of our family in every way, and we will miss her dearly.”
Mara, who was often called “The First Lady of Football,” was hospitalized for a head injury after she slipped in front of her home in Rye, New York, during an ice storm two weeks ago. “After a few days, we were hopeful for her recovery, although we knew it would be a long road back. Unfortunately, there were complications,” John said in the statement.
"Mrs. Mara was a tower of strength, dignity and inspiration for her family and all of us in the NFL," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement Sunday, according to ESPN. "Her family and the Giants organization have always reflected Mrs. Mara's competitive spirit, integrity, and wonderful sense of humor. Our thoughts and prayers are with John Mara and the entire Mara family.”
After her team's Super Bowl XLVI victory, Mara famously interrupted Fox Sports broadcaster and Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw on live TV, saying, “You never pick the Giants!”
Mara and her 11 children owned 50 percent of the Giants, following the death of her 89-year-old husband, Pro Football Hall of Fame member Wellington Mara, in 2005. Mara said she was always a Giants fan, even before meeting her husband in 1952. The two went on dates at Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden and the Fordham gymnasium before marrying in 1954, according to the Giants’ statement.
Wellington’s nephew, Tim Mara, sold the other 50 percent of the team in 1991 to the Tisch family. Wellington’s father, also named Tim Mara, founded the Giants in 1925, according to ESPN.
Mara is survived by her four sons, seven daughters, 43 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Three of her children work in the Giants’ front office and two of her grandchildren are well-known actresses, Rooney and Kate Mara.