Tom Brady made history on Sunday, rallying the New England Patriots past a 25-point deficit over the Atlanta Falcons to win his fifth Super Bowl but one piece from his historic performance is missing.
According to USA Today, Brady returned to the locker room after the Patriots’ 34-28 win and noticed that his jersey wasn’t there.
“It was right here, I know exactly where I put it,” Brady reportedly told security staff and equipment team managers. The 39-year-old Brady, who was named Super Bowl MVP for a record-setting fourth time, reportedly asked teammates — including backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo — to search for his legendary No.12 jersey.
The report adds that Brady seemed “flustered” as he searched New England’s locker room at NRG Stadium.
“This is not good,” people overheard Brady say.
“It was right here and now I don’t have it. Not good.”
However, Brady did not seem distraught when Patriots owner Robert Kraft approached him in the locker room. Brady informed Kraft that somebody stole his game jersey with a smile and few laughs mixed in.
— NFL (@NFL) February 6, 2017
Kraft joked to Brady that if he wants to see his jersey, “You better look online.”
Leaving the stadium, USA Today asked Brady if he found the jersey and his response echoed Kraft’s sentiments.
“No,” he said. “It is going to be on eBay soon, I guess.”
ESPN notes that a similar incident happened to Brady’s jersey after the Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to win Super Bowl 49 on February 1, 2015. However, the incident is being described as “not a major concern” to the team.
HISTORY OF STOLEN JERSEYS
Stolen equipment from professional sports locker rooms isn’t an unusual occurrence, but it rarely involves a high-profile athlete. Basketball Hall of Famer and legendary Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan famously had his iconic No. 23 jersey stolen from his locker room at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida, before Valentine’s Day contest against the Orlando Magic in 1990.
Per Sports Illustrated, the Bulls did not bring a spare No. 23 jersey for the road trip and a search through the crowd to find a jersey to fit Jordan’s 6-foot-6 frame failed. Therefore, Jordan was forced to wear a No. 12 jersey with no name on the back. While Jordan’s performance was not impacted, scoring 49 points and grabbing seven rebounds, the Bulls lost to the Magic 135-129 in overtime.
Michael Jordan wore No. 23.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 18, 2015
“That has never happened to me before,” Jordan said about playing with a different number, according to the Sentinel.
“It’s pretty irritating because you’re accustomed to certain things and you don’t like to have things misplaced.”
Just last April, three men were arrested for stealing jerseys from the Florida Gators’ locker room before a game, according to Yahoo Sports.
Considering the magnitude of Sunday’s contest, the alleged thief has set a precedent for stolen sports memorabilia.
Brady’s jersey is a part of history and would net major money for the alleged thief if he/she sells it. Until then, the jersey is considered stolen property and the Patriots — along with the National Football League — will possibly look into getting the jersey back.
While Brady’s jersey was taken, nobody can take away the magnitude of his historic performance.
Continuing his bid for the title of greatest QB ever, Brady threw for 466 yards and two touchdowns to complete the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
“He was the same as he always is – cool, calm and collected,” Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola said, according to Yahoo Sports. “He’s the leader, the general, the best ever and that is the end of the story.”
The story will, however, have one lingering plot until the jersey is retrieved and likely shipped off to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
[Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]