Mayock vs. Mayock
Aug 31, 2013
By Reid Oslin
This week's Boston College and Villanova game is more than a football rivalry in the Mayock household just outside of Philadelphia. For this group of former Eagle and Wildcat captains and players, it more closely resembles "Family Feud."
Mike Mayock Sr. was captain of the Villanova team as a tight end in 1954; safety Mike Jr. held the same title for BC's Eagles in 1980. Brother Mark Mayock was a scholarship quarterback at BC in the early 1980's before a serious knee injury ended his career; and Mike III was named recipient of Villanova's "12th Man Award" last fall for making major contributions to Wildcat football even after a series of major knee operations curtailed his playing time.
So that leaves a 2-2 Mayock family vote as to who will win Saturday's game - the first meeting between these two Eastern Catholic schools since 1980.
"I think there will be some bets made within the family on this one," laughs Mike, Jr., who will be analyzing the Notre Dame-Temple game for NBC-TV on the 31st, but says that he will be closely watching the scoreboard for reports from Chestnut Hill.
Mike Sr. recalls the heyday of the BC-Villanova series, when his own nationally-ranked Wildcat team would take the train up to Boston to play the Eagles in Fenway Park in the early 1950's. "It was quite a rivalry back then," he says from his hometown, where he was a teacher and head football coach for 18 seasons at The Haverford School not far from the Villanova campus. "We always had a lot of players from Massachusetts - guys from Everett and Needham and places like that."
In spite of his Villanova loyalties, Mike Sr., a big (6-4, 230-lb.) tight end who was eventually drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, is delighted that two of his football-playing sons decided to pursue their academic and athletic careers at Boston College. "BC was a great place for our boys," he says. "They loved it there."
"I am pretty lucky," adds Mike Jr. "As the son of a coach, and the oldest of four football-playing brothers, I followed my Dad everywhere - from field to field to field. I scouted with him; I watched game film with him; I think I developed my love and passion for the game of football from my Dad."
When it came down to making a college choice, Mike wanted a change. "I didn't want to play right in my own backyard," he says. "My decision came down to Boston College and Wake Forest. Villanova recruited me and I respected that, but I didn't want to play at a school 10 minutes from where I went to high school."
Mike, Jr. enjoyed a top-notch career at the Heights, serving as co-captain of the football team along with tight end Tim Sherwin in 1980, and starring for the baseball Eagles as well. After graduation, he followed in his Dad's footsteps and was also drafted by the Steelers, and wound up playing several NFL seasons as a defensive back with the New York Giants. Mike is a member of the Boston College Varsity Club Hall of Fame.
The former BC captain has some mixed memories about his own on-field experiences against the football Wildcats: "We whacked Villanova pretty good in the two home games we played against them, including breaking the 13-game losing streak [the game, a 34-7 BC win on September 22, 1979, ended a winless string that had lasted from the tail end of the 1977 season until the second game of the 1979 campaign.] I was a defensive back, but I actually scored a touchdown against Villanova as a running back. I played both ways for a couple of seasons at BC.
"But, the negative side was that every time we played at Villanova, we got beat by them," Mayock continues, "and twice we were ranked in the Top 20 when it happened. In my true freshman year, I was starting at free safety and we came into my `backyard' in Philadelphia after we had already beaten Texas and West Virginia and gotten a couple of other pretty good wins. Villanova was awful that year, but they wound up beating us 22-3. We came in there riding pretty high and they beat us pretty good," he says. "All of my high school friends had come to the game to see me play. It was awful.
"In my senior year, we had beaten Stanford and played pretty well against Pitt," Mayock recalls "I think our defensive backs had nine interceptions against Dan Marino and John Elway in those games. Then we got surprised at Villanova.
"What was really ironic is that the best football player on the field that day was Howie Long of Villanova, who was from Boston," Mayock says. "I had hosted Howie when he had visited BC as a high school senior. We became pretty good friends and he originally committed to BC, but obviously wound up going to Villanova. Later, we were roommates at the Blue-Gray All-Star Game and ended up in the same profession. We have been friends for the past 35 years."
Mayock, who originally went into commercial real estate after his playing days were over, joined the new NFL Network 10 years ago and also provides commentary for Notre Dame broadcasts on NBC. He is widely regarded as one of the most well-informed and astute TV analysts of both the NFL and college games.
"To be honest with you, as a BC football alumnus, I am a little nervous about the upcoming game," Mayock admits. "I always felt that BC-Villanova was a `trap game' for us when I played, and I see a very similar situation this year. Just four years ago, Villanova won a [FCS] national championship. Last year they had a really good season. They can't wait to get to Chestnut Hill and get the opportunity to beat a Division I-A team. This is not going to be an easy football team for BC."