John Mackey’s passing at the far too young age of 69 gives us a chance to reflect on his legacy. For anyone under the age of 45, you won’t know much from personal experience. But ask anyone that played the game during his time or grew up watching him, and Mackey is the standard bearer for tight ends. He’s Tony Gonzales….but better. Antonio Gates…but better. Same for Ozzie Newsome, or Shannon Sharpe, or anyone else. Mackey revolutionized the position. Mike Ditka was the first tight end inducted into the Hall of Fame, and he said Mackey was the best….EVER! The NFL Network ranked tight ends several years ago, and Mackey was #1. He was big, and strong, and fast. He could block and catch, and boy could he run after the catch. If you didn’t see him play, don’t underestimate his greatness. He was the best.
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 22: US Bob Hayes (R), who won the 100m sprint at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, poses 22 March 1972 in Paris with his teamates John Mackey (L) and Bill Curry. Bob Hayes died in Jacksonville 19 September 2002 from kidney failure, according to his daughter. However the 59-year-old's death follows a long period of battling numerous health problems. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)(Photo: STF/AFP/Getty Images)