(PIX11) — The matriarch and co-owner of the New York Giants, Ann Mara, died Sunday morning at the age of 85. Mara had been hospitalized for two weeks after she slipped on ice at her home in Rye, N.Y. and hit her head, NFL.com reported.
The true, blue New Yorker was born in Manhattan on June 18, 1929.
Mara and her children inherited 50 percent of the NFL team after her husband of nearly fifty years died in 2005.
Mara shared 11 children with her husband, Wellington Mara, who is one of the most prominent figures in NFL history and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They wed in 1954, but Mara maintained that she’d been a Giants fan far before her fateful nuptials, often dubbed “The First Lady of Football” and attending almost every single game for 60 years, Giants.com reported.
Wellington’s father, Tim Mara, founded the team in 1925.
In 2012, when Mara chastised Fox’s Terry Bradshaw on live television for rooting against the Giants in the NFC Championship Game, her son, Giants team president John Mara, is seen in the background trying to stop her, to no avail.
You have to laugh,” Eli Manning said of Ann Mara’s outburst at Bradshaw. “Mrs. Mara, you see her and you think, ‘Sweet Mrs. Mara.’ But she is obviously very passionate about Giants football and passionate about this team and involved and knows the players. I like her attitude. I like the way she spoke her mind about something she cares deeply about.”
Although Mara typically stayed out of the spotlight, the euphoria of winning two Vince Lombardi trophies just four years was too great for Mara to steer clear of the flashbulbs.
“She is not very happy with me right now, believe me,” John said of his mother in reference to the Giants’ struggles in the 2014 season. “She suffers through this probably even more so than I do.”
The devout Catholic and philanthropist supported numerous charitable organizations during her lifetime, including Convent of the Sacred Heart, Inner City Scholarship Fund, Boys Hope Girls Hope, Life Athletes, and the Ronald McDonald House of New York.
John Mara said in a statement that all of his mother’s children, their spouses, and her grandchildren were with her when she passed.
“She has been the leader of our family in every way, and we will miss her dearly,” he said in a statement.
“Mrs. Mara was a tower of strength, dignity and inspiration for her family and all of us in the NFL,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “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.”