Kate Mara starts Giant rout in style

Kate Mara was fabulous. Wellington Mara's granddaughter has sung the national anthem countless times before Giants games. But never under this bright a spotlight. However, there she was, decked out in a number 89 Giants jersey with the name ‘Duke' on the back, beautifully belting out our national anthem in front of close to 80,000 fans.

"I've sung the national anthem so many times here, but this time was the most important and most special," she told TGI in the stadium tunnel moments after her stirring performance. "I knew he was watching up there."

Mara was backed – literally and figuratively – by 36 of her cousins, which she said was "really special."

GM Ernie Accorsi was extremely impressed by Mara's rendition and told her so afterward.

"I was crying and I wasn't even singing," Accorsi said. "How could she do that? I said to her it was magnificent. I told her she did a magnificent job."

Mara said once she got started, the nerves disappeared.

"I was more nervous that I was going to cry during the moment of silence," she said. "It's been a really emotional week. It's been an amazing week, all the stories about my grandfather. I was more nervous that I was going to start crying before I sang."

While obviously a tough situation, Mara said she never even thought about passing up the opportunity.

"I wanted to do it for my grandfather as a thank you," the 22-year-old said. "I wanted to do it for him."

While sad he's gone, Mara knows that her special grandfather will always be a part of her life.

"He meant everything to me," she said. "He's my hero. Every Sunday is like a reunion for our family. It's hard to know he's not going to be here with us, but we know that he's going to be watching and he'll be there in spirit."…

Somewhere above, Wellington Mara is smiling down on all his Giants. Mr. Mara certainly loved to beat the Redskins. The Giants not only beat, but embarrassed the boys from DC on Sunday, in as fitting a tribute to their beloved owner as ever.

"It means the world," Accorsi said of the victory. "He's such a powerful influence in everybody's life."

"He was a great guy," added former Giants and current Redskins DT Cornelius Griffin. "I loved playing for him. He was always around his players. That meant a lot to him. He'd come and talk to you no matter what."

Mara always said his favorite game was the 1986 NFC Championship Game, which was part of the moving video tribute displayed on the stadium's big screens during halftime. He might now have a co-favorite.

"It was pretty special for us, it really was," John Mara said. "I never in my wildest dreams expected them to pitch a shutout. I just wish he could have been there to see it."

After the game, Eli Manning presented Mara with the game ball.

"It was pretty special," Mara said of the gesture. "I said, ‘don't do this to me. I don't know if I can hold my emotions any more than I have this week.' Obviously it's very gratifying."

Jeremy Shockey symbolized the thoughts of the Giants when he pointed to the heavens while running out on the field before the game.

"It was obviously a very emotional game," Shockley said. "We know he's up there smiling, but in the same sense he's probably saying get ready for San Francisco."…

While so much has been made of all of Wellington Mara's generous and loving ways, he sure knew a little something about football at the same time.

While he was a staple at practices, he especially loved being involved in the Giants draft meetings.

"It was his favorite time of year," John Mara said. "Day after day, he would sit there as reports were read on every prospect. No matter how remote they were, he didn't want to miss anything and he loved interacting with our scouts. He identified with them because he had been one himself for so many years."

In fact, Mr. Mara was the one who pulled the trigger on Justin Tuck in this past draft. The Giants started their discussion when their turn came up in the third round, but Mara, knowing that they had planned to draft Tuck in the second round, but took Corey Webster instead, said he wanted Tuck. Done deal. The Giants selected Tuck, who sure looks like he has a bright future ahead of him.

"He was on top of everything," former Giants defensive coordinator John Fox said of Mara. "He knew football. He sat in on all those draft meetings."

Mara also was the one basically responsible for New York' selection of Wesly Mallard in the sixth round three years ago. When Big Blue was on the clock, Mara pointed out the club's deficiency on special teams and reminded everyone that Mallard was a solid special teams performer. While he never panned out as a linebacker, Mallard sure did a great job on STs…

Unfortunately, Mr. Mara wasn't the only big loss in Giantsland last week. Ronald B. Anderson, 69, of Malden, Mass. died Monday, Oct. 24, 2005. He was the son of the late Cornelius and Arlene Anderson. Ronnie was born in Malden and was a lifelong resident. A 1953 graduate of Malden High, he worked for the City of Malden Department of Public Works and later became a foreman, working for 41 years until his retirement in 2002.

"Malden Ron" as many Giants fans in New England knew him, founded the New York Giants Fan Club in the early ‘80s. He supported the team through good times and bad, traveling to New Jersey to see his beloved team all the time.

I got to know Ron pretty well through the years and always found him to be the life of the party, but also a very serious and passionate person, family man and Giants fan. God bless you, Ronnie.

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