John Mackey started playing football in Syracuse University as a halfback but during his junior year, he was selected to be in the tight end position – one of the most challenging and brutal positions on the team.
After college, he played for the Baltimore Colts, then the San Diego Chargers. He quickly became a premier performer at his position. Right after he joined the Colts, he became the only first-year player picked to play in that year’s Pro Bowl! In 1992, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. During his career, he caught a total of 331 passes for 5,236 yards and 38 touchdowns! Phew! That’s a lot!!
He was lightning fast on the field, too! In 1966, six out of the nine touchdowns he scored were more than 50 yards! His most memorable play was during Super Bowl V in 1971 – he caught a pass from the quarterback after the ball first bounced off the hands of a receiver, and then almost caught by the defensive back. It landed right into Mackey’s arms, where he ran 75 yards for a touchdown! This was a Super Bowl record at the time.
After retiring as a football player, he became the first president of the NFL Players Association.