Our list of the Top 100 SU athletes continues with an icon from the 1960s.
You can find the Fizz’s SU Top 100 list here. Make sure you keep checking in to see who made the list and where they are ranked!
John Mackey grew up idolizing Jim Brown and Syracuse Football. When he got the chance, he made the decisions to follow his idol and went to play in the salt city. Mackey arrived at SU in the Fall of 1960. Orange Football was coming fresh off a National Championship victory and looked to have some continued success. Obviously the superstar on that championship roster was Ernie Davis. A running back donning the number 44 that cemented himself into Syracuse history as one of the greatest ever to touch a football. Mackey came to town and was slotted as a backup for Davis in his freshman year, but in those following played Tight End and Wide Receiver as well. The winning didn’t stop when Mackey got involved, Syracuse took down Miami in the Liberty Bowl in 1961, capping off an 8-3 year. Mackey led the run-heavy Orange offense in receiving yards in his two final seasons and built up a great reputation by the time the NFL draft rolled around.
Mackey was selected 19th overall by the Baltimore Colts where he would spend nine of his ten NFL seasons. In the NFL, the 6’3” 222 lb pass catcher revolutionized the Tight End position. Prior to him, Tight Ends were viewed as extensions of the offensive line. Mackey was able to utilize his size, speed, and athleticism to provide an option on a deep pass that normally was non-existent. He is now a pro-football Hall of Famer.
Mackey absolutely deserves this spot on the list. His talent matched with his pioneering of the sport kicks off our top 25.