Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



John Mackey Was Leader On and Off the Field 0

Posted on July 07, 2011 by Dean Hybl

John Mackey was the first tight end capable of providing a deep receiving threat.

At a time when the current NFL players are battling with the league for a fair share of billions of dollars of revenue, we have learned of the death of one of the players who cleared the path for the benefits the players today enjoy.

Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey, who served as president of the NFL Players Association following the AFL-NFL merger, passed away Wednesday at the age of 69.

The second tight end inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Mackey was a key target for quarterbacks Johnny Unitas and Earl Morrall and helped the Colts to five playoff appearances and victory in Super Bowl V.

After playing collegiately at Syracuse, Mackey was a second round draft pick of the Baltimore Colts and earned Pro Bowl honors as a rookie in 1963 by catching 35 passes for 726 yards and seven touchdowns.

Before Mackey, tight ends were typically known as blockers first and then primarily as possession receivers. However, the 6-foot-2, 225 pounder had surprising speed for his size and served as a deep target.

In 1965 he caught 40 passes for 814 yards (20.4 ypc) and seven touchdowns. The following season he had 50 receptions and a career-high 829 receiving yards. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

      Read more »

    • RSSArchive for Vintage Athlete of the Month »
  • Follow Us Online

  • Current Poll

    Which Rookie MLB Player Do You Think Will Have the Best Career?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Post Categories



↑ Top