NFL Hall of Famer John Mackey, as a tight end for the Baltimore Colts, made his mark on professional football.
Yes, he became a leader in the NFL Players Association as its first elected president in 1970, winning millions in pensions and benefits for the players.
But Mackey, who played in two Super Bowls and one NFL championship game, made his greatest contribution on the field.
He used his outstanding speed to add an extra dimension to offensive play, taking the tight end position—until then mainly a vehicle for blocking and short passes—and turning himself a constant threat for the long touchdown pass.
The biggest catch of his career came in the 1971 Super Bowl against the Dallas Cowboys, when he grabbed an errant ball and ran 75 yards for a touchdown.
He did that one thing, and he did it excellently.
— Adapted from “Colts legend struggled with dementia,” Matt Schudel, The Washington Post.