Phil McConkey

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Canisius, Navy & NFL Football Great

Buffalo native Phillip McConkey attended Canisius High School, where he played wide receiver for the football team and graduated in the class of 1975.

He went on to study and play football at the United States Naval Academy, where he caught 56 passes for 1028 yards. He scored 13 touchdowns during his collegiate career – 10 receiving, two rushing and one on a punt return.

Upon Phil’s high school graduation, he accepted an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. While at Navy, he earned three varsity letters and was co-captain of the football team his senior year. Under Phil’s leadership, Navy was 9 – 3 his senior season, with a win over BYU in the inaugural Holiday Bowl. His outstanding performance garnered him MVP honors.

During his career at Navy, Phil made a huge impact on the record books. Included in the annals of Navy Football are 13 career touchdown receptions (tied for most in school history), a school record 80 punt returns for 736 yards (2nd in school history). He led the team in receiving in both 1977 and ’78.

After earning a management and technology degree, he was commissioned as an Ensign. Phil went on to seek his “Wings of Gold” as a Naval Aviator, and was certified as a Nuclear Weapons Transshipment Pilot. Upon completing his commitment to the Navy, Phil signed his first professional contract with the New York Giants in 1984. He was the first Navy Midshipman to join the NFL after years of service since Roger Staubach in 1969.

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

McConkey is best remembered for his performance in Super Bowl XXI, a 39-20 win over the Denver Broncos. A 25 yard punt return set up a New York Giants field goal. On the Giants next drive, his 44 yard reception on a flea flicker set up an ensuing touchdown. In the fourth quarter, McConkey caught a six yard touchdown reception of a ball that initially deflected off Mark Bavaro’s helmet.

Always a fan favorite, he would frequently run onto the field waving a towel inspiring the cheering crowd. McConkey finished his six NFL seasons playing with the New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, Phoenix Cardinals and the San Diego Chargers. His final career statistics are 67 receptions for 1,113 yards (16.6 avg), two touchdowns, 228 punt returns for 1,832 yards (8.0 avg) and 69 kickoff returns for 1,324 yards (19.2 avg) in 84 total games played.

Phil is currently the President at Academy Securities, Inc., a Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise, which provides financial solutions for institutional investors. He supports various charities that help veterans.