New York Giants: John Mara

Mara: Giants unlikely to use franchise tag

February, 19, 2013
The Giants don't use their franchise tag very often and it appears they will likely not use it this year.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport spoke with John Mara and tweeted that the team's co-owner said the Giants will "probably not" apply the franchise tag to any Giant.

The Giants are one of seven teams that have only used their franchise player designation three times or fewer on offense, defense or special teams since the system began in 1993, according to ESPN Stats and Information. They have used it on tackle Jumbo Elliott (1993), running back Brandon Jacobs (2009) and last year on punter Steve Weatherford. The Giants used the tag on Jacobs and Weatherford in an effort to later reach a long-term deal. (Here's a look at how the Giants' usage of the franchise tag compares to the rest of the NFL).

Tackle Will Beatty is considered to be the Giants' biggest free agent priority. If the Giants were to use the franchise tag on Beatty, perhaps in an effort to work out a long-term deal, the projected non-exclusive franchise player tag for an offensive lineman is $9.66 million.

Some other free agents the Giants would like to re-sign are tight end Martellus Bennett and left guard Kevin Boothe. The non-exclusive franchise tag for tight ends is projected to be $5.96 million.

Considering how the Giants likely need to clear more cap space to sign free agents, their own draft picks and tender restricted free agents like wide receiver Victor Cruz and safety Stevie Brown, it makes sense for Mara to say that the team will likely not opt to use its franchise tag.
John Mara remembers the Giants organization being torn on who to take days before the 2004 NFL Draft.

Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger?

We all know what has happened since. But it is always fun to look back and Mara fondly reminisced about trading for Manning on WFAN radio on Tuesday.

"We went right to the last day or two before the draft trying to decide between Eli and Ben Roethlisberger, who obviously has been a great NFL quarterback as well," Mara said. "They both have been brilliant. Really, the decision came down to one guy played in the SEC, the best conference in the country, and the other guy played at Miami of Ohio against obviously lesser competition."

"Also, [Manning] was on a team at Ole Miss that didn't have a tremendous amount of talent and he kind of carried that team on his shoulder," Mara added. "We felt he was the better pick for us, but obviously either way they both ended up being great players."

Mara also recounted how his father, Wellington Mara, wasn't keen on paying such a high price to get Manning, who was taken first overall by the Chargers. Wellington Mara had a soft spot for Kerry Collins but the Giants ended up trading Philip Rivers (taken fourth overall), their 2004 third-round pick and 2005 first and fifth-round picks.

"It was not an easy decision," Mara said. "It was one that even my father was against initially because he had such a strong feeling for Kerry Collins, who had played so well for us and kind of resurrected his career. I just felt like and Ernie Accorsi felt strongly also that this guy had a rare talent and was worth taking a chance on."

Mara admits he had some doubts early on when Manning struggled.

"I will tell you there were times where I had some doubts," the Giants president and CEO said. "I can remember so vividly the first minicamp practice that Eli was here for. He just had a terrible day throwing the ball in a windy practice field out here. It was going all over the place and he was surrounded by media and cameras."

"I remember thinking to myself, I hope it gets better than this," Mara added. "Because we just gave up half the franchise to get this guy and he is throwing the ball all over the place."

Mara chuckled as he recounted that. It's fun for the Giants to look back on everything seeing how it all turned out.

"It really wasn’t until the second half of the '04 season when he got into the games [and] he really struggled at first," Mara said. "And then we had that final game of the '04 season when we beat Dallas at home and he takes us down the field at the end of the game to win and that just sort of kicked off his career for us."

"He certainly has had some ups and downs since then," Mara added. "But I will take my chances with the ball in his hand at the end the game every day."

Coughlin tweaks Jets, Tebow-mania

March, 28, 2012
PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Giants are only two months removed from winning the Super Bowl, but they've been overshadowed in New York by Tebow-mania.

That's fine by Tom Coughlin. As far as he's concerned, the Jets can have the headlines, he's got the Lombardi Trophy. He doesn't think the fans have forgotten what they accomplished.

"You know who won the Super Bowl, you know who the world champions are," Coughlin told reporters Wednesday morning at the NFL meetings. "Whether we’re on the front page every day or not, it’s not that important. New Yorkers know."

This came three days after Giants co-owner John Mara mocked the Jets' acquisition of Tim Tebow, saying they were planning to have a news conference for their recently-signed backup, David Carr.

Coughlin didn't want to comment on the Tebow trade -- "That's their business," he said -- but he praised Tebow as a football player, calling him "physically tough ... a guy that's going to be a force in your locker room."

Asked if he'd ever consider removing his "guy" for 20 snaps per game, as the Jets have suggested they might do with Mark Sanchez so Tebow could run the wildcat, Coughlin looked increduously at the questioner.

"Our guy?" he asked, referring to Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.

In a one-hour sitdown with reporters, Coughlin touched on a variety of topics:

On this week's annoucement that the Giants will face the Cowboys in the NFL opener: Coughlin said he wasn't surprised because "the league always does a great job of making it a very attractive." That the game will be played on a Wednesday night, he admitted, will be a challenge in terms of the training-camp and practice schedule.

On re-signing RB Brandon Jacobs: "I think it’s a possibility. Brandon wanted the opportunity to go out into the marketplace and see what he could do with the opportunity, and it was granted. We'll just see." The Giants are looking for a backup to Ahmad Bradshaw. UPDATE: Jacobs has agreed to a deal with the 49ers, a league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Coughlin said it's hard to cut players that contribute to a championship, adding, "There is some sentiment involved in it, but we don’t say goodbye, we say, 'Next time.'"

On the future of DE Osi Umenyiora: Coughlin said he has no plans to part ways with Umenyiora, who staged a training-camp holdout last summer. He wants Osi back. "I'm not thinking of anything else," he said.

On a contract extension. Coughlin, entering the final year of his contract, expressed confidence a deal will get done shortly. He also discussed the joy of winning a title in New York.

• His hysterical recollection of his post-game hug with rap star Flavor Flav: "I finished (an interview with the NFL Network) and I get up. This guy is waiting for me with these glasses, big glasses, and a clock on his chest. He's kind of right in front of me. I walk by. I mean, I'm hugging sign posts at that time. He grabbed me and hugged me. I walked away and one of my kids says, 'Dad, you know who that was?' I said, 'No, I don't know who that was.' They said, 'Fava Flav' -- a rap singer. Then we're at the parade and (Brandon) Jacobs reaches down, grabs him by the hand, pulls him up and he's on the float. I'm on one of the floats with him, too!"

Mara enjoys second pep rally in four years

February, 8, 2012
Pep rallies are apparently like a fine wine to Giants co-owner John Mara. The 2008 pep rally surely was a great memory but Tuesday's celebration stood out a little more.

"It's unbelievable. It feels even better than the last time for some reason," Mara said on Tuesday. "To see the number of people around on the streets all wearing Giants colors, really makes you feel terrific and it was a great day for all of us."

Mara celebrated his second title in four years since assuming control of the team following his father Wellington Mara's death in 2005. The owner commended the crowd, which was estimated by the Giants to be about 40-45,000 people.

"We just had an incredible experience going through the Canyon of Heroes," Mara told the fans. "But I have to tell ya, and I said this four years ago, when you pull into this place, and see all you fans out there, you realize one thing: there's no place like home."

The Giants co-owner said there were more fans at the event than he expected but he said he shouldn't have been surprised since the Giants have always received that type of support from their fans. He was one of several high-profile members of the Giants to speak to the crowd at the pep rally at MetLife Stadium.

Mara called the day unbelievable, saying it was icing on the cake for the players to go down the Canyon of Heroes and then see fans back at the stadium. Mara was also joined by his mother, Ann Mara, and brother, Chris Mara, at MetLife Stadium.

When asked what word he would use to describe his newest title team, the owner used a word quite that became synonymous with the Giants' season.

"I use the coach's expression, finish," Mara said. "That's what he told them to do all year long and that's what they were able to do. Finish."

Forbes: Giants owners are No. 1

November, 4, 2011
Forbes magazine ranks John Mara and Steve Tisch as the top owners in the NFL.

According to Forbes writer Brian Solomon's valuation, the Giants owners "have presided over 33 percent growth in the value of their team – best in the NFL. The 2010 opening of MetLife Stadium helped them rack up a 21 percent bump in revenue last year, the latest achievement for an ownership duo that also lifted the Lombardi Trophy in 2007 for the organization’s third Super Bowl victory."

Forbes based its rankings on the change in the franchise's value its winning percentage over the last five years.

During Mara and Tisch's five-year tenure, franchise value has increased by 33% and the Giants have won at a 60% clip.

John Mara and Steve Tisch took over the team when their fathers, Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch, died in 2005.

No. 2 on Forbes' list is Patriots owner Bob Kraft, whose team has compiled the highest winning percentage in the NFL over the last five years. New England's value has increased 17% since 2005, according to the magazine.

So it will be a battle between Forbes' No. 1 and No. 2 on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Jets' owner Woody Johnson is No. 6 on Forbes' list. The Jets' franchise value has increased 26% over the last five years. Gang Green has won 54% of its games in that span.

The worst owner, according to the magazine, is Lions owner William Clay Ford Sr. Detroit may be enjoying one of its best seasons in years, but that doesn't overshadow the fact that they've lost 3% in value over the last five years and dropped 77% of their games.

Tisch, Mara react to Davis' death

October, 8, 2011
The owners of the Giants commented with heavy hearts after learning of the death of one of their own.

Raiders owner Al Davis died Saturday at the age of 82.

“The Raiders personified Al Davis. Al is the Raiders,” Steve Tisch said in a tweet released by the Giants.

Added John Mara: “Al Davis had a brilliant football mind and his teams set a standard for excellence for many years.”

Video: 2011 Giants season preview

September, 7, 2011

Freddie Coleman and Ohm Youngmisuk discuss how the defense will deal with all the preseason injuries and if Eli Manning can become a Top-5 quarterback this season.

Giants owners staying upbeat despite injuries

August, 23, 2011
The Giants are going down like flies, but the owners aren't crying about it.

Following the loss of Terrell Thomas and Brian Witherspoon to torn ACL injuries Monday night, Giants co-owner John Mara is looking to his roster to step up and fill the void—although the team will keep an open eye on any available players.

"We have other guys on the roster that are going to have to step up and play and obviously we will keep our eyes open for other players that might become available but we have confidence in guys like Aaron Ross and our No. 1 pick (Prince Amukamara) will be back hopefully in a few weeks and we still have Corey Webster and a couple young kids that have done pretty well there," Mara said. "Obviously it happens all the time in the NFL you get an injury at one position and you get a few more guys hurt at that position and certainly it's a concern but it's time for other guys on the roster to step up."

The loss of Thomas will hurt the Giants the most this season. While players like Bruce Johnson and Witherspoon would have provided strong depth, Thomas was the No. 2 cornerback and was intent on having a breakout year. He led the team in tackles last season with 101 and is known for making tackles in the open field.

"He's one of our main guys. He's not only one of our best players, he's one of our smartest players and he's got a lot of leadership skills and we're certainly going to miss him," Mara said. "But as I said before, we've got other guys on the roster that are going to get an opportunity now and they have to step up and play."

If the Giants chose to bring in an outside cornerback to help with their depth, as Ross will move to the No. 2 spot and Amukamara will likely return, Mara said the team has cap flexibility to make moves. He said the team would re-work contracts under the right provision and won't just restructure deals for the sake of doing so, because that will hurt the team in the long run.

Even with the two injuries Monday, Mara and co-owner Steve Tisch were both pleased with the progress of the team in its second preseason game as it triumphed over the Bears 41-13. The offense and special teams looked much more crisp and several players trying to make the team made some big plays.

"I thought last night's game was fantastic and I think we showed our fans, I think the players showed the coaches, we're playing football and this year and we are going to play it at the level our fans expect us to and the players expect each other to," Tisch said.

While other teams in the NFL have made more moves in the offseason than the Giants, Mara said that teams don't win Super Bowls in the offseason. He said it's about drafting well, re-signing players at the right values and improving the team.

He's optimistic about the Giants this season--even if they can't stay healthy.

"I think we have a pretty solid roster right now. I like our team," Mara said. "Obviously the injuries at cornerback are a concern but we've got a very good defensive front and we've got other guys on the roster that will get an opportunity to play."

1050 Podcast: John Mara

August, 17, 2011
John Mara joined "The Mike Lupica Show" to discuss the team's offseason moves and the top quarterbacks in the NFL.

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1050 Podcast: John Mara

July, 25, 2011
John Mara joins "The Michael Kay Show" about some details of the new CBA agreement and to share his thoughts on the future of Plaxico Burress.

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John Mara

John Mara joins "The Mike Lupica Show" with his outlook on the CBA negotiations, his take on the players union negotiation strategies and what is the next step in getting a deal done.

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John Mara

1050 Podcast: John Mara

August, 18, 2010
NY Giants owner John Mara speaks with 1050's Bonnie Bernstein and Greg Buttle about the individual game tickets, the team and the ring of fame.

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John Mara