The nickname on all NFL official footballs is Wellington Mara, the former President and founder of the New York Giants. The handle is “The Duke.” This nickname is historic and has a story, which is very interesting.

Wilson, the brand that designs the NFL footballs, has been a partner with the NFL for so many years that they are the only company that has ever partnered with an American sports league. They are responsible for putting this nickname on the football. Let’s look at the history behind this nickname.

The Nickname Stamped On The Football


The nickname of the official game ball used in the NFL is “The Duke.” This has been discussed before. The handle was taken from Wellington Mara, the former President of the New York Giants. He was a tram driver in 1925. Although he had left the team before his death, he was officially declared dead at 89.

The players gave Wellington Mara this nickname. His teammates loved calling him his nickname, which became popular. They didn’t decide to name him Duke. The name came from the Duke of Wellington, his father’s name. The nickname “the Duke” was too long for him to be a catchy nickname. His teammates chose the name. Tim Mara, Wellington’s father, moved to sign the partnership agreement with Wilson sporting goods. Wilson sporting goods became the leading supplier for all NFL official football through this partnership.

They made stamps to honor him for his efforts to make the deal possible. This stopped in 1970 after the merger. After Mara died in 2005, they continued to stamp on official NFL balls. Mara was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2005. It devastated everyone connected to football, as he was a true legend. It was decided that Mara would be honored with his nickname on all official footballs. Since then, every official football has had ‘the Duke’ stamped on it.

Mara Family Football Story

Tim Mara, who in 1925 made the first investment of 500 dollars into the New York Giants, also became the owner of the club and the President. He split the company shares equally between his two sons, Jack and Wellington, five years later. Wellington was just 14 years old when he made the decision. He eventually went to Fordham University. He became a school student and was ultimately promoted to an office with the New York Giants. He was appointed treasurer for team affairs.

He made his first impression when he could draft a business plan and secure a signed contract from Tuffy Leemans, who was then on the hall of fame’s future list. His father was proud that he did this while still at university. After all the clever strategies he used to help the club advance, he was promoted to the position of secretary. He did have a short break from work because of his involvement in the second world war, which lasted from 1943 to 1946. After completing the war, he returned to the club. After 19 years of service, Jack Mara passed away in 1965. He was now the President of the club. Before that loss, he was Vice President. He was the club president and was responsible for all aspects of the team until Andy Robustelli took over in 1974.

Wellington Mara’s Legacy

While Wellington Mara was their coach, the New York Giants enjoyed a winning streak. They won six NFL championships and two Super Bowls under his leadership. Based on their winnings, this is the only team that has ever been able to beat the New York Giants. Mara wasn’t content to stop leading the club. He continued his leadership skills by being elected the National Football Conference President until he died in 1948. He also works on long-term planning and reorganization. Wellington Mara was also appointed to the NFL Management Council.

Because his father was the first honorary guest there, he also organized the Canton Hall of Fame. He was there with his father in 1963. His legacy is unrivaled. In 1966, he joined the AFL and NFL to continue his legacy. The merger was a success, and the super bowl was created. We can’t believe anyone could disagree with us when Mara is cited as someone who made significant contributions to the NFL’s success.

What Makes the Duke Stamped NFL Ball a Special Ball?

With all the information you have read, it is clear that you agree that the man whose name is on an official NFL football deserves special recognition for his great deeds. The balls are made with such passion by the brand that makes them that you’d be able to see the genuineness of the material and stitches.


While some might argue that he had the plan to honor the deal with Wilson goods, you can see that he deserved it well. This concludes the informative article. We hope you found helpful resources to help you find the nickname for every NFL official football. We welcome your comments and questions about this article. We appreciate your understanding.