Blazing Trails chronicles John Mackey's life as a lightning rod for attention throughout the 1960s. Mackey refused to remain silent on any topic he felt strongly about—especially anything dealing with justice. As one of Baltimore’s first famous African Americans, he fought for racial and battled for legal equality for pro football players of all color as the first president of the newly merged NFL and AFL National Football Players Associations. More than affecting the freedom of his football-playing brethren, Mackey was a major factor in using his sports fame to change the world around. What Muhammad Ali was to boxing, Arthur Ashe was to tennis, and Bill Russell was to basketball, John Mackey was to football: an African-American star who proved that the world, and not just sports, was going to become a better, more colorful place.
John Mackey was a professional football player and only the second tight end to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992. Thom Loverro is a columnist for the Washington Times. He has won numerous local and national journalism awards throughout his career, including top honors in the National Society of Newspaper Columnists competition. He is the other of Home of the Game: The Story of Camden Yards, The Negro League Baseball Encyclopedia, and The Washington Redskins: The Authorized History. Don Shula is a former NFL player and coach who was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
Ten NFL seasons. Five Pro Bowl
selections. Two Super Bowl appearances. One Super Bowl ring. A member of the
Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Blazing Trails: Coming of Age in Football\'s Golden Era by John Mackey with Thom Loverro reveals how the former
Pro Bowler revolutionized more than just a sport.
Never before had any player possessed the combination of
strength, size, speed and skill that today is associated with the position.
Mackey\'s playing-day size (6-foot-2, 225) combined with his strength and
speed led to his nickname \'Mack Truck.\'
But it wasn\'t on the field that Mackey made his biggest
impact. Like his counterpart in professional baseball, Curt Flood, Mackey
forever changed the way professional football was run by challenging free
agency rules. Mackey\'s successful lawsuit against the NFL in 1973 was the
beginning of the current era of free agency where players have control over
chronicles Mackey\'s life as a lightning rod for attention throughout the
1960s. Mackey refused to remain silent on any topic he felt strongly about -
especially anything dealing with justice. He fought for racial equality in Baltimore (he was one of the city\'s first famous
African-Americans) and battled for legal equality for pro football players of
all color as the first president of the newly merged NFL and AFL National
Football Players Associations.
More than affecting the freedom of his football-playing
brethren, Mackey was a major factor in using his sports fame to change the
What Muhammed Ali was to boxing, Arthur Ashe was to
tennis and Bill Russell was to basketball, John Mackey was to football - an
African-American star who proved that the world (not just sports) was going
to become a better, more colorful place.
Thom Loverro is a columnist for The Washington
Times. The winner of numerous writing awards, Loverro joined The Baltimore
Sun in 1984 as a reporter and editor. In 1992, he moved to the Times, where
he has covered the Washington Redskins, Baltimore Orioles, and a host of
other sports, including several Olympics. He has won numerous local and
national journalism awards throughout his career, including top honors in the
National Society of Newspaper Columnists competition. Loverro is a graduate
of the University of Scranton, with a master\'s degree in journalism
and public affairs from American University in Washington, D.C., where he is a member of the adjunct
faculty, teaching newswriting. This is Loverro\'s sixth book; some of his
other titles include The Washington Redskins: the Authorized History, Home of
the Game: the story of Camden Yards and The Negro League Baseball
Encyclopedia. Loverro has appeared on ESPN, Home Box Office, MSNBC and
numerous local television programs. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Lovero currently lives in Columbia, Md., with his wife, Elizabeth, and his two
sons, Rocco and Nick.
About the Authors
John Mackey was only the second tight end to be inducted into the Pro
Football Hall of Fame in 1992. A native of Roosevelt, New York, Mackey played for the Syracuse
Orangemen from 1960-62 and is considered to be one of the best players Syracuse ever produced. In 1963, Mackey was a
second-round pick of the Baltimore Colts, where he played for nine seasons
before playing his 10th and final season with the San Diego Chargers. During
his tenure in Baltimore, Mackey was elected to five Pro Bowls, played in two
Super Bowls, caught a 75-yard touchdown in the Colts\' 16-13 win against
Dallas in Super Bow V (1970) and was named (in 1969) as the tight end of the
NFL\'s 50th Anniversary Team. In 1968, Mackey was chosen as the first
president of the newly unified NFL-AFL Players\' Association. Mackey was the first
player to fight the NFL\'s restrictive free agency rules that didn\'t allow
players a realistic chance to have a voice in their own careers. Mackey filed
a successful lawsuit against the NFL in 1973 that directly led to the free
agency that football enjoys today. Mackey\'s lawsuit was a landmark decision
in sports law and many historians equate what Mackey did to Curt Flood\'s
situation in Major League Baseball. Many football historians have said that
Mackey\'s aggressive stance against the management of the NFL kept the former
tight end out of the Hall of Fame until his 15th and final year of
eligibility. After his playing career was over, Mackey served as an agent
representing players, eventually becoming president of his own company, John
Mackey Sports. He has served on the Board of Advisors to the Leukemia Society
of America, the Syracuse University Business School and the Board of Directors for the
Syracuse University Alumni Association. The John Mackey Award is presented
every year to the best Division I tight end in the country by the Nassau
County Sports Commission. Mackey is the father of three and has two
grandchildren. He currently lives in the Baltimore area with his wife, Sylvia.