Originally posted on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 1/31/12

WASHINGTON - APRIL 30: New York Giants President and Chief Executive Officer John Mara (R) speaks while President George W. Bush (C) and quarterback Eli Manning stand nearby during an event to honor the Super bowl XLII Champions on the south lawn of the White House, April 30, 2008 in Washington DC. Last February the Giants beat the New England Patriots 17 to 14, in one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Every time a New York Giants or New England Patriots player looks at one of the 120 footballs used on the field during Super Bowl XLVI he will see the name "The Duke" embossed on the ball and might wonder 'Who the hell is that?' It's more of a mystery for Patriots players than the Giants side because "The Duke" was the beloved Giants owner Wellington Mara— father of current owner John Mara— who passed away in 2006. The older Mara was given the nickname by Giants players when he was a child growing up on the sidelines on the franchise started by his father Tim Mara. And right there, prominently branded on all of this Sunday's balls— next to the "XLVI" logo and "Roger Goodell" signature— is the nickname of the deceased owner which some of the current Giants team knew and fondly remember. The balls are made by Wilson Sporting Goods in Ada, Ohio and have been called "The Duke" for most of the league's history. It all started when Wellington and his brother Jack made a deal wit...
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