Just minutes after the New England Patriots won Super Bowl 51 in Houston, news broke that star quarterback Tom Brady had discovered that the jersey he wore to victory in the history-making game had been stolen. According to a Houston Police report, that jersey is officially worth $500,000.
In the police report TMZ Sports obtained from the Houston Police Department, the victim of the missing and presumed stolen property was listed as 39-year-old Tom Brady. The item stolen was listed as an “NFL New England Patriots Football Jersey.” In the box for “Value,” the number “$500000.00” appears.
The amount makes the crime a 1st Degree Felony. According to the Daily Mail, under Texas law, the perpetrator, if convicted, could face from five to 99 years in prison in addition to a $10,000 fine.
TMZ Sports, in a separate report, revealed that it had been told that Houston Police arrived at the half-million dollar figure because either Tom Brady or “one of his people” had suggested the amount as the football jersey’s worth. Their source told them that with such cases, the complainant was the assessor of the value of the missing or stolen item, not the police department itself. It was noted that if there was an arrest made in the future, the district attorney’s office would then set about determining the worth of the jersey.
In an interview with the TMZ Sports TV show that airs on Fox Sports 1, Rick Harrison of the History Channel show Pawn Stars said that the Tom Brady Super Bowl jersey was worth “at least” $200,000. However, he joked that at the moment it was “worthless to anybody, because if you’re caught with the thing, it’s worth five to ten,” alluding to the number of years said individual might be incarcerated for if caught and convicted of the theft.
Harrison added, “My best advice is: Throw it in a bag, mail it back to the team and maybe they’ll forget about it and you won’t go to prison for the rest of your life.”
The Daily Mail pointed out that the price of the football jersey could easily reach the $500,000 mark due to its uniqueness, given that it was worn by Super Bowl 51 winning quarterback Tom Brady, where Brady became the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls. He also led the New England Patriots to victory in the first-ever overtime game and came back from a 25-point deficit, the most in any Super Bowl, to do it.
And Time reported that Tom Brady jerseys worn in regular season games have gone for up to $56,000 at auction.
Regardless, it could well be the most valuable football jersey of all time. The most ever paid for a football jersey was $118,230 for a Johnny Unitas jersey, according to Time, which was sold at auction in 2015. (The most ever paid for a jersey in any sport was $4.4 million — on a Babe Ruth jersey.)
Houston Police say that there was a 50-minute window — from 9:25 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. — wherein the jersey was taken.
Tom Brady, talking with The Kirk and Callahan Show on WEEI-FM in Boston in early February, provided the details of the alleged theft. “Someone stole my jersey,” he said. “I put it in my bag and I went in [the locker room] to take my eye black off, and they had opened up to—I don’t know—the media. I walked back to my bag, and it was gone. Same thing happened two years ago. That sucks, but, oh well.”
Brady and the New England Patriots had just won Super Bowl 51, defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 at NRG Stadium in Houston, scoring 25 points to overcome a 28-3 deficit (19 in the 4th Quarter), and forcing the game into overtime. Momentum on its side, the Patriots marched down the field on first possession and scored the winning touchdown.
Until recovered, the Tom Brady Super Bowl football jersey will become part of a list of missing famous sports items. Sports Illustrated listed 25 of the most valuable “Lost Treasures” in sports in 2005, including Muhammed Ali’s 1960 Summer Olympics gold medal, footage from the first Super Bowl, and the rare T206 Honus Wagner baseball car (all estimated to be worth at least $1 million, except for the Wagner card, which is estimated at $1.5 million).
[Featured Image by Patrick Smith/Getty Images]