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’s “Mornings with Maria.” “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 offense, a top-ranked defense, 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.