Ann Mara, the fiery co-owner of the New York Giants, passed away on Sunday morning from complications resulting from a head injury she sustained in a fall in January. She was 85 years old.
“I am sad to say that our mother has passed away. She has been the leader of our family in every way, and we will miss her dearly,” her son, John Mara, wrote in a statement. “She loved her family, and all of us were able to spend time with her in these final days. All 11 of her children and our spouses and numerous grandchildren were with her when she passed away.”
Ann Mara reportedly suffered a fall at her home on January 18 when she slipped on an icy path, and though her family was looking for a speedy recovery, there were complications stemming from an injury to her head.
Speedy recoveries were not foreign country to Mara, who slipped and fell in 2011 as she was leaving church and broke her shoulder. The injury came just one day after the NFC Championship game, and her family didn’t know if she would be able to attend the Super Bowl that year with her team.
“Sure enough as we board the plane to Indy, I look to the left and who do I see dressed in all black looking as good as she wants to look WITH AN ARM SLING!? I knew then that we had all our troops aboard and ready for this battle that we were facing,” Giants team member Antrel Rolle said on Instagram over the weekend.
After her husband, Wellington, died nearly a decade ago, Ann Mara became a well-known and beloved figure in the world of football and was highly regarded by her team, which she defended to Terry Bradshaw in the famous clip seen above. When they played well, she was ecstatic, but when times were tough, she let them know it. Her son John said in December that she was pretty unhappy with their season and that, even as CEO, his job wasn’t necessarily safe.
“She is not very happy with me right now, believe me. She suffers through this probably even more so than I do. I am on notice as well,” Mara said.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement regarding Mara’s passing, saying, “Mrs. Mara was a tower of strength, dignity and inspiration for her family and all of us in the NFL. 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.”
Ann Mara was the matriarch of a large family, which included seven daughters, four sons, 43 grandchildren–including actresses Kate and Rooney Mara–and 16 great-grandchildren.