George Mira – Always A Native Conch

George Mira - Always A Native Conch

Food wagons and trucks are very big in Florida, but I was really shocked a few months ago when I saw one marked “George Mira Native Conch.”

As fast as I could say “The Matador” I discovered the conch fritters were really made by the former UM star quarterback George Mira and one of his sons. I was sports editor of the UM newspaper The Hurricane and had a good front row look at the star from Key West during his glory years.

The recent Super Bowl in NYC reminded me of watching Mira throw for 320 yards vs. Nebraska in the first Gotham Bowl, a stupid idea in Yankee Stadium before 900 freezing fans in a blizzard. I wonder how many yards Peyton would have had in a real snow blizzard.

George was the Johnny Manziel of his at era at barely 6 feet and 180 pounds. Yet he was the third QB in the 1964 NFL Draft and played for the 49ers, Eagles, Colts, and Dolphins; then he played for Montreal and Toronto in the CFL; then he played for Birmingham and Jacksonville of the World League.

The only thing George loved maybe more than football was his home town Key West. All those offensive linemen from Pennsylvania used to joke that they had Desi Arnez as their QB, but they would do anything to protect their leader.

So if you are visiting an event in South Florida and see the “Native Conch” food wagon and you love football or the U, drop by.

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About floridatraveler

Historian and travel writer M. C. Bob Leonard makes the Sunshine State his home base. Besides serving as content editor for several textbook publishers and as college professor, he moderates the FHIC at www.floridahistory.org
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