Mara was 21 when he attended his first game at Giants Stadium. Today he's 55, and now he walks into a new home just across the parking lot at the Meadowlands. In a story in last Sunday's New York Times, Mara recalled what it felt like to walk into the old stadium for the first time (October 10, 1976; a 13-7 loss to the Dallas Cowboys).
"I remember being in the locker room with my father (then co-owner Wellington Mara), and how disappointed he was,” Mara said. "And I remember Marty Schottenheimer, who was our defensive coordinator, walking up to him in the locker room and saying, ‘I’m sorry we ruined your day, Mr. Mara.’ And he said, ‘Oh, you didn’t ruin it.’ But he wasn’t telling the truth."
Eventually, Mara would inherit his father's office in the old stadium. Wellington Mara died in 2005, and it took his son quite some time to feel comfortable moving in.
"I stood there for a while," Mara said of his last visit to the office in the old stadium. "It was tough.""We got all of his pictures out, but it was tough. Because that was his office. It wasn’t really mine. I was just borrowing it for a while. I had a lot of conversations with him in there — about the team, personal conversations — and I remember his last day in there before he went to the hospital. That was an emotional day."
Mara joined the Giants in 1991 and became the chief executive and president when his father died. He spoke about what it was like to see the old stadium come down.
"Every day you come in, there’s another section down," Mara said. "We’ve had to watch this agonizing destruction, piece by piece. I’ve spent a lot of emotion on it already. Now I’m just ready for it to come down."
As for naming rights to the new stadium, Mara said the following:
“We like to refer to it as the New Giants Stadium, for the time being, anyway."
It will be the Giants' new home.