Hel­mets scu≠ed, rep­u­ta­tions stained in New York Giants mem­o­ra­bilia scan­dal

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY WILL HOB­SON

The hel­met is the trade­mark me­tal­lic blue of the New York Giants, and Eli Man­ning’s autograph stretches across the top in sil­ver. Next to the “ny” logo are two words, also in sil­ver, that in­crease the hel­met’s value ex­po­nen­tially: “Game Used.”

The hel­met dates from 2004 — Man­ning’s rookie sea­son — ac­cord­ing to the auc­tion house that listed it for sale years later with a de­scrip­tion that dan­gled the pos­si­bil­ity this could be the first hel­met Man­ning wore dur­ing an NFL game.

The hel­met bore the scars of game ac­tion — nicks on the dome, scuff­ing on the pads — and came with a let­ter of au­then­tic­ity from the re­spected mem­o­ra­bilia com­pany that has a con­tract to sell Man­ning’s game-worn items. A col­lec­tor says he bought it in 2015 for $5,000 cash and two Michael Jordan rookie cards.

There’s just one prob­lem: the hel­met, as billed, is a fake, ac­cord­ing to a pro­lific col­lec­tor the Giants once called the team’s “mem­o­ra­bilia cu­ra­tor.” While the autograph might be real, Man­ning couldn’t have worn the hel­met in 2004, ac­cord­ing to the col­lec­tor, who points to a tell­tale sign: It’s miss­ing a black “RB” sticker that all Giants hel­mets had that sea­son in memory of Roo­sevelt Brown, a 1950s-era of­fen­sive line­man who died that year.

The hel­met is a piece of ev­i­dence in an ac­ri­mo­nious le­gal bat­tle be­tween Eric Insel­berg, a 46year-old sports mem­o­ra­bilia dealer from New Jersey, and the foot­ball team he once loved. The case has cre­ated three years of headaches and tabloid head­lines for Man­ning and the Giants while draw­ing at­ten­tion to the un­reg­u­lated, bil­lion-dol­lar in­dus­try of game-worn col­lectibles, a mar­ket­place rife with fraud in which as­pects buy­ers gen­er­ally don’t look for in ex­pen­sive cloth­ing pur­chases — mud smears, blood­stains, the stench of sweat — can drive prices into the tens of thou­sands.

“Some peo­ple can look at a Rem­brandt and say, ‘Eh,’ and walk on by,” said FBI spe­cial agent Brian Bru­sokas, who spe­cial­izes in sports mem­o­ra­bilia crime. “And some peo­ple look at a jersey, and it brings them back to a time in their life, cer­tain emo­tions and feel­ings. . . . It comes down to what brings peo­ple joy.”

Be­fore 2011, Insel­berg was a fix­ture around the Giants, an ob­ses­sive col­lec­tor who be­friended equip­ment man­agers and do­nated more than $1 mil­lion in items from his ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion to the team mu­seum.

Then U.S. at­tor­neys in­dicted In-

sel­berg on charges of fraud, ac­cus­ing him of traf­fick­ing in fake game-worn jer­seys. A year and a half later — af­ter Insel­berg pro­duced ev­i­dence sug­gest­ing Giants equip­ment man­agers lied about him — pros­e­cu­tors dropped the charges.

In 2014, Insel­berg sued the Giants, the equip­ment staff and Man­ning, al­leg­ing a wide-rang­ing con­spir­acy that de­frauded fans, the Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame and star play­ers such as Michael Stra­han. In his com­plaint, Insel­berg al­leged that Giants staff — on oc­ca­sions at the be­hest of Man­ning and a club ex­ec­u­tive — scuffed hel­mets and stained jer­seys to make them ap­pear game-used.

The Giants have dis­missed the law­suit as fic­tion, and the club’s law firm has called Insel­berg “an un­scrupu­lous mem­o­ra­bilia dealer.” The case is snarled in pre­trial pro­ceed­ings, with no end in sight. While Insel­berg has not pro­duced ev­i­dence in public court fil­ings sup­port­ing all of his al­le­ga­tions, there are items, emails and doc­u­ments amid the thou­sands of pages that the Giants and Man­ning have had dif­fi­culty ex­plain­ing away.

This story is based on a re­view of the ex­ten­sive court file of Eric Insel­berg et al. v. New York Foot­ball Giants et al. and in­ter­views with eight peo­ple with di­rect knowl­edge of the case, all of whom spoke on the con­di­tion that their names not be re­vealed be­cause the judge — a Giants sea­son-ticket holder who has re­jected a re­quest to re­cuse him­self — has is­sued stern ad­mo­ni­tions against speak­ing to the me­dia.

Insel­berg and his lawyers de­clined to com­ment. Man­ning, the Giants and club em­ploy­ees named in the case, through their lawyers, de­ferred com­ment to Karen Kessler, a spokes­woman for the Giants’ law firm. “We dis­pute all the ac­cu­sa­tions re­lated to the team and its em­ploy­ees,” Kessler said.

‘The dirt­ier it is . . .’

Insel­berg’s love for the stuff worn by star ath­letes dates from the early 1980s, when he was a ball­boy for a char­ity basketball game fea­tur­ing re­tired NBA leg­ends. Af­ter the game, Wilt Cham­ber­lain gave Insel­berg the sneak­ers he wore that day.

As a teenager, Insel­berg, an avid Giants fan, at­tended train­ing camp and of­ten stayed af­ter prac­tice, wash­ing play­ers’ cars in ex­change for jer­seys. In the 1990s, as he worked for his fa­ther’s car leas­ing busi­ness, Insel­berg started try­ing to make ex­tra money sell­ing game-worn mem­o­ra­bilia.

The game-worn in­dus­try erupted in the 1990s, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try ex­perts, who at­tribute the phe­nom­e­non to ag­ing baby boomers and a grow­ing econ­omy. Fans ea­gerly started fork­ing over thou­sands of dol­lars — some­times tens of thou­sands — for game-used hel­mets, baseball bats and jer­seys, with the most dis­cern­ing buy­ers look­ing for signs of wear.

“The dirt­ier it is and the smellier it is, the bet­ter it is. The in­dus­try of­ten uses the term, ‘The jersey still pos­sesses the scent of the game,’ ” said Chris Cava­lier, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Game Used Uni­verse, a web­site de­voted to the mar­ket. When he bro­kers deals, Cava­lier said, he makes sure equip­ment staff know the proper way to bag jer­seys: in­di­vid­u­ally, with the bag sapped of air to pre­serve the odor.

With game-worn items rel­a­tively easy to coun­ter­feit, the in­dus­try has been plagued by fraud. The two pro leagues that pro­duce the items col­lec­tors most covet — Ma­jor League Baseball and the NFL — have taken markedly dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to fraud preven­tion.

Since 2001, Ma­jor League Baseball has op­er­ated a rig­or­ous au­then­ti­ca­tion pro­gram. Ev­ery year, each of the more than 2,430 reg­u­lar sea­son and post­sea­son games is staffed with an of­fi­cial MLB “au­then­ti­ca­tor,” an off-duty or re­tired law en­force­ment of­fi­cer who tags all items that could be sold with holo­graphic stick­ers. A cen­tral on­line data­base tracks all au­then­tic game-used MLB items and al­lows for easy on­line ver­i­fi­ca­tion.

The NFL has no au­then­ti­ca­tion pro­gram. Amer­ica’s most pop­u­lar sports league leaves au­then­ti­cat­ing game-used items up to its teams.

As Insel­berg sought to turn his hobby into a busi­ness in the early 1990s, he grav­i­tated to peo­ple the Giants en­trusted with man­ag­ing their game-worn items: equip­ment man­agers.

With salaries that hover be­tween $50,000 and $80,000, ac­cord­ing to two for­mer NFL equip- staffers, an equip­ment man­ager eas­ily could dou­ble his salary by sell­ing a few game-worn items. Mike Roys­ter, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Ath­letic Equip­ment Man­agers As­so­ci­a­tion, said he had never heard of one suc­cumb­ing to the temp­ta­tion, how­ever.

“I’m not stupid enough to sit here and tell you that kind of stuff doesn’t go on, but it’s con­sid­ered un­eth­i­cal,” Roys­ter said. “If that’s go­ing on, it’s not go­ing on openly.”

‘Do­ing mas­sive vol­ume’

Sports mem­o­ra­bilia cover the crowded walls in Park Clean­ers, a laun­dro­mat in down­town Ruther­ford, N.J. A signed photo of for­mer Giants coach Jim Fas­sel hangs near Philadel­phia Ea­gles and New York Jets hel­mets and a New Jersey Devils hockey stick. Near the en­trance there is a blown-up front page of a lo­cal news­pa­per, with an ar­ti­cle fea­tur­ing owner Barry Barone ti­tled: “De­signer to the Grid­iron Stars.”

Barone, who de­clined to com­ment for this story, is New Jersey’s pre­em­i­nent laun­derer of pro­fes­sional sports team uni­forms. Since the 1980s, his ros­ter of clients has in­cluded the Giants, the Jets, the Ea­gles, the Devils and the New Jersey Nets. “He can get out stains you wouldn’t be­lieve would ever come out,” one Giants equip­ment man­ager told the New York Times in 1992.

In the back­room of this oth­er­wise non­de­script laun­dro­mat, Insel­berg has said, he struck the hand­shake deals that launched his ca­reer as a sports mem­o­ra­bilia dealer.

Insel­berg first met Barone in the early 1990s, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, and the laun­dro­mat owner con­nected him with two Giants equip­ment staffers, brothers Joe and Ed Sk­iba. The men agreed on an ar­range­ment, ac­cord­ing to Insel­berg: When the Sk­ibas de­liv­ered Giants laun­dry, Insel­berg could root through and take what he wanted. Insel­berg paid the Sk­ibas, and Barone earned a com­mis­sion.

(In court fil­ings, Ed Sk­iba has claimed Insel­berg paid him $2,000 per month. Two peo­ple close to Insel­berg said it was sig­nif­i­cantly higher. “They were do­ing mas­sive vol­ume,” one friend said.)

Barone some­times sold items from other teams to Insel­berg, the com­plaint al­leged, and the Sk­ibas con­nected him with equip­ment man­agers from other teams, help­ing ex­pand the sup­ply of items Insel­berg could re­sell to col­lec­tors for a profit.

As Insel­berg grew close to the Sk­ibas, he al­leges in his com­plaint, they let him in on a secret: They oc­ca­sion­ally doc­tored hel­mets and jer­seys to ap­pear game-worn. Man­ning, like some star ath­letes, had a con­tract to pro­vide game­worn items to New York mem­o­ra­bilia com­pany Steiner Sports, fa­mous for the motto: “The Steiner Seal Means It’s Real.” Man­ning some­times for­got to save items dur­ing the sea­son, the Sk­ibas told Insel­berg, or sim­ply didn’t want to part with them, the com­plaint al­leges, so the star quar­ter­back asked the Sk­ibas to “make up” some game-worn hel­mets or jer­seys for him.

Other times, Insel­berg said, the Sk­ibas made up items un­der or­ders from Giants vice pres­i­dent of com­mu­ni­ca­tions Pat Han­lon.

Af­ter the 2008 Su­per Bowl — famed for the “Hel­met Catch” toss from Man­ning to wide re­ceiver David Tyree — Insel­berg bought Man­ning’s hel­met from the Sk­ibas, ac­cord­ing to Insel­berg.

Later that year, a new mu­seum in New York — the Sports Mu­seum of Amer­ica — proudly an­nounced it would dis­play both Man­ning’s and Tyree’s hel­mets from the game for a few months, be­fore the hel­mets moved on to the Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame in Can­ton, Ohio.

“David Tyree’s catch and the Cin­derella story of the New York Giants have al­ready be­come the stuff of Su­per Bowl leg­end,” Giants co-owner Jonathan Tisch said in a news re­lease. “We are thrilled to be able to share with our fans an in­ti­mate look at the fa­bled hel­mets right here in New York City.”

Insel­berg an­grily called Joe Sk­iba, ask­ing how that could be pos­si­ble, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint. Sk­iba told him that Han­lon had promised the hel­met to the mu­seum be­fore check­ing to see whether the Giants still had it. When told Man­ning’s hel­met was un­avail­able, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit, Han­lon or­dered Sk­iba to cre­ment ate a “show hel­met.”

In the late 2000s, as the Giants pre­pared to move into a new sta­dium, club ex­ec­u­tives de­cided to cre­ate a team mu­seum. When the New York Giants Legacy Club opened in 2010, Giants man­age­ment cred­ited an anony­mous fan with sup­ply­ing more than 90 per­cent of the items on dis­play. One ex­ec­u­tive mar­veled to a re­porter that all the items in the mu­seum con­sti­tuted only about a third of this anony­mous fan’s col­lec­tion.

The fan was Insel­berg. Giants ex­ec­u­tives gave him an all-ac­cess pass to the sta­dium on game days. One ex­ec­u­tive told him he was “a mem­ber of the Giants fam­ily.” A life­time of ob­sess­ing over the dis­carded laun­dry of his beloved team had paid off in ways Insel­berg had never imag­ined pos­si­ble.

A few months af­ter the mu­seum opened, Giants equip­ment staffers started get­ting phone calls from an FBI agent. He had some ques­tions about their friend.

Lawyers, jer­seys and money

In Fe­bru­ary 2011, an FBI agent in Chicago called Joe Sk­iba on his cell­phone, FBI records show. The agent was in­ves­ti­gat­ing mem­o­ra­bilia deal­ers sus­pected of sell­ing coun­ter­feit game-worn items, he ex­plained, and Insel­berg’s name had come up.

Insel­berg said he was able to get au­then­tic game-worn Giants items straight from the equip­ment staff, the agent told Sk­iba. Was this true?

“Sk­iba has never pro­vided a piece of game used equip­ment to Insel­berg,” the FBI agent wrote in his sum­mary of the in­ter­view, made public as ev­i­dence in this case. “Sk­iba does not know why Insel­berg would say such a thing be­cause it is not true.”

A few days later — in a phone in­ter­view from the Giants’ sta­dium — Ed Sk­iba also de­nied sell­ing items to Insel­berg, FBI records show. For his FBI in­ter­view, Ed Sk­iba was joined by Giants gen­eral coun­sel Bill Heller.

The FBI agent then asked Ed Sk­iba about some ev­i­dence he had come across: signed checks — from Insel­berg, cashed by Sk­iba — with the words “Foot­balls, Giants jer­seys and Tiki” in the memo line.

At that point, Heller in­ter­rupted and asked Sk­iba to leave the room, ac­cord­ing to the FBI agent’s notes. Heller was sud­denly in an eth­i­cal dilemma, he said, be­cause he rep­re­sented the team, not Sk­iba, who might need his own lawyer. They would need to resched­ule.

A few months later, ac­cord­ing to re­cent court fil­ings by the Giants, club owner John K. Mara learned for the first time how his team’s “mem­o­ra­bilia cu­ra­tor” had amassed his col­lec­tion.

In the sum­mer of 2011, Mara told the Sk­ibas “any dis­tri­bu­tion of game worn items to third par­ties in which they had been in­volved was un­ac­cept­able, should cease im­me­di­ately and would not be tol­er­ated go­ing for­ward,” ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments filed by the Giants in Fe­bru­ary.

Af­ter learn­ing his equip­ment staff had been sell­ing team prop­erty for side in­come for years and then lied to an FBI agent about it, Mara didn’t fire the men. In­stead, the Giants put Joe and Ed Sk­iba on pro­ba­tion and froze their pay for three years.

“The Giants or­ga­ni­za­tion chose to in­ter­nally han­dle this per­son­nel mat­ter,” said Kessler, the team law firm spokes­woman.

In Oc­to­ber 2011, the Sk­ibas tes­ti­fied be­fore a grand jury in Illi­nois, ac­com­pa­nied by Heller. This time, ac­cord­ing to tes­ti­mony ex­cerpts pub­lished in the law­suit, the Sk­ibas ad­mit­ted hav­ing sold jer­seys and hel­mets to Insel­berg for years. They said they sold 50 to 75 jer­seys per sea­son but de­nied con­nect­ing Insel­berg with equip­ment man­agers from other NFL teams.

Hours af­ter the Sk­ibas tes­ti­fied, U.S. at­tor­neys in­dicted Insel­berg on two counts of mail fraud, along with five other mem­o­ra­bilia deal­ers. The other five pleaded guilty and re­ceived sen­tences rang­ing from pro­ba­tion to a few months in prison. Insel­berg re­fused a plea deal.

Over the next year and a half, Insel­berg spent more than $700,000 in le­gal fees. His rep­u­ta­tion was ru­ined, and his busi­nesses closed. He de­vel­oped de­pres­sion, started hav­ing panic at­tacks and con­sid­ered sui­cide. Then, in May 2013, Insel­berg won an ex­tremely rare re­sult in fed­eral crim­i­nal courts: U.S. at­tor­neys dropped the charges.

Insel­berg’s lawyers had high­lighted in­con­sis­ten­cies in the tes­ti­mony against him. Barone, the laun­dro­mat owner, told the FBI he had never given Insel­berg gameused jer­seys, records show. For­mer Giants cen­ter Bart Oates, in a signed af­fi­davit, said he ac­com­pa­nied his friend Insel­berg to Park Clean­ers once and wit­nessed Barone hand six game-used Jets jer­seys to Insel­berg. Oates then helped Insel­berg haul a few 45gal­lon garbage bags full of Giants train­ing cloth­ing out of the laun­dro­mat, he said.

To re­but the Sk­ibas’ tes­ti­mony, Insel­berg’s lawyers pro­vided pho­to­graphs of thou­sands of jer­seys Insel­berg bought from the Sk­ibas, in­clud­ing more than 150 dur­ing the 2007 sea­son alone. They also pro­vided a text mes­sage ex­change in which Joe Sk­iba men­tioned in­tro­duc­ing Insel­berg to “guys from other teams.”

In Jan­uary 2014 — less than a year af­ter pros­e­cu­tors dropped the charges — Insel­berg sued the Giants, the Sk­ibas and Man­ning for fraud and con­spir­acy. The law­suit ac­cused the Giants and Man­ning of de­fraud­ing fans by sell­ing fake game-worn items and ac­cused Heller of or­ches­trat­ing a con­spir­acy to keep the FBI fo­cused on Insel­berg and not in­ves­ti­gat­ing any po­ten­tial fraud com­mit­ted by Giants em­ploy­ees.

Heller co­erced the Sk­ibas to low­ball the amount of jer­seys they sold to Insel­berg, the law­suit al­leged, which made it ap­pear to the FBI that Insel­berg must have been sell­ing some coun­ter­feit items. (In Septem­ber, the judge dis­missed this part of the case, with a rul­ing that even if the Sk­ibas lied to a grand jury at Heller’s be­hest, grand jury wit­nesses can’t be held civilly li­able for false tes­ti­mony.)

Insel­berg was later joined in the case by two co-plain­tiffs — a con­struc­tion worker with a Giants tat­too on his arm and a Navy of­fi­cer — who al­lege they each bought a pur­port­edly game-used Man­ning hel­met they now be­lieve is fake.

Man­ning an­grily de­nied the claims. His fa­ther, Archie, was asked about the case on a lo­cal television show.

“Mem­o­ra­bilia has al­ways been a lit­tle bit out of con­trol, a lot of fraud there,” Man­ning said. “We’ll see what this is about, but I don’t think Eli or any of the Giants . . . pur­posely did any­thing wrong.”

‘BS ones, you are cor­rect’

Insel­berg is seek­ing mon­e­tary dam­ages, as well as a Su­per Bowl ring from the 2007 sea­son, which he al­leges a Giants ex­ec­u­tive promised him.

If the case goes to trial, jurors likely will get a crash course in photo-match­ing, the prac­tice in mem­o­ra­bilia cir­cles of au­then­ti­cat­ing game-worn items through anal­y­sis of mag­ni­fied high-def­i­ni­tion pho­tos taken dur­ing games.

Insel­berg says photo-match­ing proves that he has the hel­met Man­ning wore dur­ing the “Hel­met Catch” Su­per Bowl and that the hel­met the Giants sent the Hall of Fame is a fake. While the Giants have de­nied this, Hall of Fame of­fi­cials have not acted cer­tain that they have the real hel­met.

Af­ter Insel­berg’s law­suit was filed in 2014, the Hall changed the on­line de­scrip­tion of the hel­met — which orig­i­nally ad­ver­tised it as Man­ning’s from the game — to say it is merely a hel­met from Man­ning.

“So it doesn’t call into ques­tion any­thing that’s un­der de­bate,” Hall of Fame ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Joe Hor­ri­gan ex­plained in a phone in­ter­view.

Insel­berg also says he has Michael Stra­han’s jersey from that same Su­per Bowl. He sub­mit­ted the jersey to the MeiGray Group, a mem­o­ra­bilia com­pany that spe­cial­izes in photo-match­ing.

MeiGray ex­perts cer­ti­fied Insel­berg’s jersey matches pho­tos taken of Stra­han through­out that Su­per Bowl: in pregame warmups, dur­ing the game and in the postgame cel­e­bra­tion. The jersey Stra­han has had hang­ing in his home for years is a fake, Insel­berg al­leges.

In 2012, Stra­han showed off his jersey while giv­ing a tour of his home to “Show­biz Tonight.” Dirt stains were vis­i­ble on one shoul­der, and there was a red stain on the front that Stra­han said was Ga­torade he spilled on him­self.

“That was straight off the field, no clean­ing . . . . If you busted the glass, this would prob­a­bly smell like a, you know what,” Stra­han told a host.

Stra­han’s pub­li­cist did not re­ply to re­quests to com­ment.

Insel­berg’s lawyers have said they know of other Giants play­ers who have dis­cov­ered they were the vic­tims of fraud. They don’t iden­tify them, but re­tired run­ning back Bran­don Ja­cobs went public this year al­leg­ing his Su­per Bowl XLII jersey also was stolen.

In April, Ja­cobs, who did not re­ply to re­quests for com­ment, wrote a post on Instagram that seemed to point a fin­ger at Giants equip­ment staff.

“All th­ese mem­o­ries wiped away when that a**hole de­cided to sell my su­per bowl stuff and give me a fake one . . . This has changed a lot for me and for the higher ups to de­fend this sh** is even more ab­surd,” Ja­cobs wrote.

A trial also likely would hinge on how the Giants and Man­ning ex­plain a few emails and text mes­sages.

In Au­gust 2008, Insel­berg asked Joe Sk­iba about the au­then­tic­ity of some Man­ning items on the mar­ket.

“Hey Joe, my buddy was of­fered an eli game used hel­met and jersey. Are th­ese the bs ones eli asked you to make up be­cause he didnt want to give up the real stuff?” Insel­berg wrote. A day later, Sk­iba replied. “BS ones, you are cor­rect” There’s also a 2010 email ex­change, which gen­er­ated head­lines when made public in April, in which Man­ning asked Joe Sk­iba for “2 hel­mets that can pass as game used.”

Man­ning’s lawyers have ar­gued th­ese emails were taken out of con­text. In re­sponse, they have re­leased other emails that show Man­ning try­ing to track down game-worn items in 2011, 2012 and 2013. None are from 2010, though, or of­fer any ex­pla­na­tion why Man­ning would ask for hel­mets that could “pass as game used.”

One of the most re­cent court fil­ings dis­closes an in­ter­est­ing ex­change of texts be­tween the Sk­iba brothers in May 2016, af­ter they learned of ap­par­ently stingy raises.

“I hate it here,” Joe texted. “Guys who mow the lawn make more.”

“Are (sic) raises are be­cause they are pay­ing our le­gal fees,” Ed texted. “Funny 3 years pro­ba­tion and now it’s more.”

Joe Sk­iba replied that he was con­sid­er­ing ap­proach­ing Giants man­age­ment to de­mand over­time, “Cause my in­sights on the case cost money now.”

Later in the ex­change, Ed Sk­iba told his brother, “Not even worth it.”

“For me it is,” Joe Sk­iba replied. “I’ll tell the whole f------ world the truth.”

“Are th­ese the bs ones eli asked you to make up be­cause he didn’t want you to give up the real stuff?” Mem­o­ra­bilia dealer Eric Insel­berg in an Au­gust 2008 mes­sage to Giants equip­ment staffer Joe Sk­iba ask­ing about the au­then­tic­ity of some Eli Man­ning items on the mar­ket

COUR­TESY OF CLIN­TON BROOK & PEED LAW FIRM

LEFT: An Eli Man­ning hel­met from the 2004 sea­son owned by Eric Insel­berg. RIGHT: A Man­ning hel­met that Insel­berg al­leges isn’t from the 2004 sea­son, as has been ad­ver­tised.

COUR­TESY OF ERIC INSEL­BERG

COUR­TESY OF CLIN­TON BROOK & PEED LAW FIRM

TOP: Joe Sk­iba, left, and Eric Insel­berg pose at a Su­per Bowl XLII vic­tory party. ABOVE LEFT: Eli Man­ning’s hel­met dur­ing that game. ABOVE RIGHT: A hel­met owned by Insel­berg, who says it is the one Man­ning wore in the game.

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