Phil McConkey
No. 80
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1957-02-24) February 24, 1957 (age 66)
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:170 lb (77 kg)
Career information
High school:Buffalo (NY) Canisius
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receiving yards:1,113
Receiving avg.:16.6
Receiving TDs:2
Kick return yards:1,324
Punt return yards:1,832
Player stats at

Philip Joseph McConkey (born February 24, 1957) is a former American football wide receiver who played for the New York Giants (1984–1988), Green Bay Packers (1986), Phoenix Cardinals (1989), and San Diego Chargers (1989) of the National Football League.

Early life

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McConkey grew up in Buffalo, New York, the son of Joe, a Buffalo police officer, and Jean McConkey (1936–2013). His father also worked side jobs and managed to pay for Phil and his sister, Debbie, to attend private schools.

He attended Canisius High School, and during that time Canisius didn’t lose a football game during McConkey's last three seasons when they were one of the top teams in the state. He played both defensive back and wide receiver, earning local honors, but in his senior year in 1975 he still weighed only 140 pounds.

He knew the only way he could attend college was on a scholarship, but he received no offers until he earned an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.[1]

Navy Midshipmen

McConkey played college football for the Navy Midshipmen, catching 56 passes for 1,028 yards, while also gaining 1,039 special teams return yards and scoring 13 touchdowns (10 receiving, two rushing and one punt return).

In his senior season, McConkey helped lead the Midshipmen to a 9-3 record.[2] In his last game for Navy in 1978, McConkey led Navy to a come-from-behind 23-16 win over Brigham Young University and star quarterback Jim McMahon in the inaugural Holiday Bowl and was named MVP.[1]

Pro football career

McConkey had completed his mandatory five years in the U.S. Navy as an officer and helicopter pilot when he decided to try to play professional football even though he was already 27. He weighed barely 160 pounds and hadn’t played football in five years. The first person he approached was Steve Belichick, Navy's backfield coach and scout, who timed him at a speedy 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Belichick then contacted his son, Bill Belichick, who had just been elevated to defensive coordinator of the New York Giants under head coach Bill Parcells.[1]

McConkey was signed by the Giants as a 27-year-old rookie. He was the first Navy Midshipman to join the NFL after four full years of service since Roger Staubach in 1969.[3]

In his six NFL seasons, McConkey was used as a reserve receiver, and frequently returned punts and kickoffs on special teams. His best statistical season was 1985, when he caught 25 passes for 404 yards, returned 53 punts for 442 yards, and gained 234 yards returning kickoffs.

After two seasons with the Giants, in 1986 he was released and signed with the Green Bay Packers. He played four games with the Packers in 1986, then was re-signed by the Giants for the season's last 12 games. In those 12 games, he caught 16 passes for 279 yards and one touchdown, plus he was a punt returner and kick returner.[4]

McConkey is best remembered for his performance in Super Bowl XXI after the Giants' 1986 season, which the Giants won 39-20 over the Denver Broncos. In the game, his 25-yard punt return set up a Giants field goal. On the team's next drive, his 44-yard reception on a flea flicker play gave the Giants a first down on Denver's one-yard line, setting up a touchdown on the next play. In the fourth quarter, McConkey caught a six-yard touchdown reception after the pass bounced off the fingertips of tight end Mark Bavaro. Overall, McConkey contributed 50 receiving yards, 25 punt return yards, and one touchdown in the Giants victory. He also caught a 28-yard touchdown pass in New York's divisional playoff win over the San Francisco 49ers a few weeks earlier.

While running off the field during the celebration following the victory in Super Bowl XXI, McConkey spotted a handgun on the field. He picked up the weapon, which was subsequently taken by a security officer, who in turn returned it to the police officer who was unaware it was missing. The officer had lost the weapon while struggling with a fan who had jumped onto the field.[5]

He played for the Giants for two more seasons as the team's primary punt returner and reserve wide receiver. His final NFL season was 1989 for both the San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals.[4] McConkey finished his six NFL seasons with a Super Bowl ring, 67 receptions for 1,113 yards and two touchdowns, 228 punt returns for 1,832 yards, and 69 kickoff returns for 1,324 yards in 84 games.

Political life

In 1990, McConkey ran for the United States House of Representatives for the 12th Congressional District of New Jersey, encompassing parts of Hunterdon, Mercer, Somerset, Morris and Warren counties.[6]

The seat was a heavily Republican district and was being vacated by incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Courter. In the Republican primary, McConkey was defeated by Dick Zimmer, who won the recently vacated seat in the November General Election. Zimmer received 37.7% of the vote to McConkey's 30.8%. Future congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, the scion of a powerful political family, would finish third. There are no run-off elections in New Jersey.[citation needed]

Electoral history

1990 New Jersey Congressional District 12 Republican Primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dick Zimmer 15,834 37.7
Republican Phil McConkey 12,925 30.8
Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen 12,257 29.2
Republican Joseph Shanahan 989 2.4

Personal life

McConkey is president of Academy Securities, a San Diego-based financial services firm, and he owns several other San Diego businesses. He also still participates in athletics, including Masters Track events.[7][8]

He is married to Erin McConkey and has a daughter, May.[9][10] In 2013, he was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Hall of Fame inductee McConkey works hard, achieves dream". The Buffalo News. 2013-09-07. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  2. ^ "Navy Midshipmen School History". Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  3. ^ Swift, E.M. (February 2, 1987). "McConkey:An Unlikely Hero". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Phil McConkey". Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  5. ^ "SUPER BOWL XXI; McConkey Returns Gun". The New York Times. 1987-01-26. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  6. ^ Sullivan, Joseph (May 20, 1990). "11 Vie for Florio and Courter House Seats". The New York Times. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
  7. ^ "Academy Securities Hires Military Vets". Business Insider. 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  8. ^ Gola, Hank (2012-02-04). "Four Giants remember their big Sunday". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  9. ^ "Jean McConkey Obituary - Hamburg, New York". Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Super Bowl hero McConkey sells 3BD | la Jolla Light". Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2022.