‘It’s like tak­ing a great Cha­gall or Pi­casso’

Tom Brady’s miss­ing jer­sey saga continues

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - CINDY BOREN The Wash­ing­ton Post

The con­fetti has been swept up and Su­per Bowl LI is only a mem­ory, but the game’s big­gest mys­tery is no closer to be­ing solved. What on earth hap­pened to the jer­sey worn by New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots quar­ter­back Tom Brady? Although its value has not been set, the team’s owner ranks it up there with some of the great works of art, which would make this Bos­ton’s sec­ond-big­gest art heist.

“It’s very sad to me that some­one would do some­thing like this, and it’s like tak­ing a great Cha­gall or Pi­casso or some­thing,” Robert Kraft told Fox Busi­ness Net­work. “You can never dis­play it [if you took it]. And some­how, I feel there’ll be some news that’ll clear this up in the not-too-dis­tant fu­ture. … I hope it’ll be cleared up soon. I think that a lot of peo­ple spent a lot of time look­ing into the mat­ter and what hap­pened, and I’d rather not say any­thing that would cause any prob­lems in the work that’s been done. One way or an­other, that jer­sey will be back.”

Never mind that Kraft’s own quar­ter­back re­fuses to claim his per­for­mance as a mas­ter­piece.

“I think it was one of the great­est games I have ever played in, but when I think of an in­ter­cep­tion re­turn for a touch­down, some other missed op­por­tu­ni­ties in the first 37, 38 min­utes of the game, I don’t re­ally con­sider play­ing a good quar­ter-and-a-half, plus over­time as one of the ‘best games ever,’ but it was cer­tainly one of the most thrilling for me, just be­cause so much was on the line and it ended up be­ing an in­cred­i­ble game,” Brady told MMQB’s Peter King as he re­laxed in Mon­tana. “There are so many things that played into that game — a high-scor­ing of­fence, a topranked de­fence, the long Su­per Bowl, four-and-a-half-hour game, the way that the game un­folded in the first half ver­sus what hap­pened in the sec­ond half … so it was just a great game.”

So, maybe more Jack­son Pol­lock than Cha­gall or Pi­casso. It’s still invaluable and it has been miss­ing since shortly af­ter the game de­spite the ef­forts of the Texas Rangers — the po­lice squad, not the base­ball team — and oth­ers. There had been a fleet­ing hope last week that it might have been packed along with the team’s other gear and loaded onto a truck bound for New Eng­land, but it re­mains the big­gest Bos­ton mys­tery since the Is­abella Stewart Gard­ner Mu­seum heist, the largest in art his­tory, in 1990.

All Brady knows is that he put the jer­sey into his bag at his locker. “I went in to take my eye black off and they had opened up [the locker room] to, I don’t know, the me­dia,” he said Feb. 6. “And I walked back to my bag and it was gone. Same thing hap­pened two years ago [in the Su­per Bowl against Seat­tle]. That sucks, but, oh well.”

There were no video cam­eras in the locker rooms, so there’s no way to trace the jer­sey that way. Since the game, a num­ber of re­sources have been de­voted to find the shirt, which has drawn ridicu­lous val­u­a­tions rang­ing up to $500,000. No auc­tion house would sell some­thing stolen, so maybe this is destined never to turn up, leav­ing us with only the­o­ries.

Be­cause this is Brady and the Pa­tri­ots, one con­spir­acy the­ory has it that this is a ruse be­cause Brady wants this jer­sey for him­self rather than see it go­ing to the Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame. Maybe Roger Good­ell took it. He did make a fast get­away from the podium af­ter the tro­phy pre­sen­ta­tion.

SAM MANCHESTER, NYT

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