Super Bowl LI’s biggest mystery was solved this week when the FBI and NFL security uncovered the truth behind Tom Brady’s stolen jersey. It was traced back to a reporter from the international media who also had Brady’s Super Bowl XLIX jersey and Von Miller’s helmet from last year.
Having Brady’s jersey from the Patriots’ historic comeback would certainly be nice, but we’d be more interested in these 20 pieces of memorabilia – like Jim McMahon’s headband and Adam Vinatieri’s cleat.
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Jerry Kramer’s Super Bowl II shoulder pads
It was Lombardi’s last game as head coach of the Packers, and, boy, was it a good one. Kramer and the legendary coach shared an iconic moment after the game as Lombardi was carried off the field on the shoulders of the offensive lineman. Who wouldn’t love to hang those pads on the wall of their man cave? We know the entire state of Wisconsin would.
Joe Namath’s helmet from Super Bowl III
Guarantees have become almost second nature in sports, from Rex Ryan guaranteeing his Bills would make the playoffs to Alshon Jeffery saying he’ll win a Super Bowl next season. Before they were almost expected in the NFL, there was Namath, who made the boldest guarantee in history.
He assured everyone his Jets would win Super Bowl III, and then he backed it up. If that game ended differently, he probably would have needed to wear his helmet for a little while longer. You know, to keep all the infuriated Jets fans out of his head.
The Super Bowl XLIX football Russell Wilson should have handed to Marshawn Lynch
“Just give the ball to Marshawn and I’m a two-time Super Bowl champion.” That’s something that never crossed Wilson’s mind as he threw the most pivotal interception in Super Bowl history.
Rather than simply riding Beast Mode to a second title, Wilson threw a crushing pick to no-name rookie corner Malcolm Butler. That ball is on display at The Hall at Patriot Place, but if we could have lifted it and given it back to Marshawn, we would have.
Super Bowl V trophy
The first championship game after the AFL-NFL merger was a historic one, and not just because the Baltimore Colts stormed back in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points in the final frame to beat the Cowboys.
It was the first trophy to have just the NFL logo on it, which is pretty neat. That’d be a nice centerpiece in a living room, and something to brag to all your friends about – even if you’re a Cowboys fan.
Terrible Towel from Super Bowl X
The Terrible Towel is a staple of Steelers fandom – a must-have for every Steel City supporter. It originated in 1975 during the Steelers’ Super Bowl run – their second in a row.
The yellow towel made its Super Bowl debut in the 10th iteration of the game, sparking Pittsburgh’s 21-17 win over the Cowboys. Sure, you might have a Terrible Towel, but do you have one from its origin? Doubtful.
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Mean Joe Greene's jersey from Super Bowl XIV
You’ve seen the commercial, and so has your mother, brother and kids. It’s arguably the most famous sports ad of all time, and we want Greene’s jersey from the Super Bowl that carried the ad. The kid who caught it is no longer a kid, obviously, so it’s not like we’d be stealing from a child. That makes it OK, right?!
David Tyree's Super Bowl XLII helmet
The greatest catch in Super Bowl history? Many argue that it is, despite there being a great deal of luck involved. Nonetheless, getting to see the gum stuck on Tyree’s helmet up close would be awesome. That is how he caught it, right?
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Adam Vinatieri's cleat from Super Bowl XXXVI
It was on Feb. 3, 2002 that the Patriots’ dynasty was born, and it was largely thanks to Adam Vinatieri’s right foot. He booted a 48-yard game-winning field goal to beat the Rams, 20-17, beginning what’s arguably the greatest dynasty in NFL history.
We would never wear Vinatieri’s Size 8.5 soccer shoe – mainly because, well, we probably couldn’t fit into it – but it would look sweet on the shelf above the TV. Or hanging by the laces above the bed.
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Aaron Rodgers' championship belt from Super Bowl XLV
Drew Brees brought his kid up to the platform after winning Super Bowl XLIV. One year later, Rodgers brought his "Discount Double Check" belt. That famous belt is a staple of every iconic photo from Super Bowl XLV, and the pictures wouldn’t be the same without it. He doesn’t need it anymore now that he has a Lombardi Trophy, so let’s assume he’d be fine handing it over.
The headset from John Madden's last game call at Super Bowl XLIII
Madden not only went down as one of the best coaches in NFL history but one of the best broadcasters. He called a Super Bowl for each of the four major networks with his last coming in 2009 – the Steelers’ dramatic win over the Cardinals.
We don’t know where his headset from that game is – maybe he’s still wears it while reading the newspaper each morning – but we’d like to try it on for size.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsKirby Lee
The suit of the guy who stole Tom Brady's jerseys
If he can steal Brady’s jersey, we want his suit – the exact one he wore during the theft of Tom’s No. 12. Maybe his credential, too, which wasn’t supposed to grant him access to the locker room.
Joe Theismann helmet from Super Bowl XVII
Single-bar facemasks are essentially relics in the NFL now, seeing as no one wears them anymore. Heck, no one other than kickers wore them back then, either. Theismann made his facemask famous in the 1970s and 80s, looking like he should be a kicker and not a quarterback. Wearing it out in public wouldn’t protect us from much of anything, which is why we’d put it in a glass case somewhere.
Jim McMahon's and Walter Payton's headbands from Super Bowl XX
McMahon was a character during his playing days, often tiptoeing on the line of controversial. In Super Bowl XX, he and Payton wore headbands for charity after McMahon was fined in 1985 for violating the dress code by wearing an Adidas one.
He followed that up by sporting one that had commissioner Pete Rozelle’s name on it, before opting to make good of the situation by raising money for charity.
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A piece of the right upright from Super Bowl XXV
Scott Norwood had a chance to cement his place in NFL history when he lined up for a 47-yard field goal against the Giants in Super Bowl XXV. He missed it “wide right,” which is one of the iconic calls in football.
The miss started a string of four straight Super Bowl losses for the Bills, which won’t soon be forgotten. History would be very different had Norwood made that pivotal kick, not only for the Bills but for broadcast calls everywhere.
Getting Norwood to write “wide right” on that upright would be amazing, even if it caused his temperature to rise.
Steve Young's Super Bowl XXIX jersey
When Young took over for Montana in San Francisco – after Montana had just won three Super Bowls in six years – there was a certain chip on his shoulder. A monkey on his back, as he famously called it. He finally shed that monkey in 1994 when he won Super Bowl XXIX, cementing his place in Niners history, stepping out of Montana’s shadow and into the light.
As much as we’d love to have that non-existent monkey, we’ll settle for the No. 8 jersey it clung to for years.
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Jon Gruden's visor from Super Bowl XXXVII
Doug Pederson wears a visor. So does Sean Payton. Yet no matter how many NFL coaches wear that half-hat, none will don it better than Gruden did. He wore it during the Buccaneers’ resounding win over Gruden’s former team, the Raiders, beating them 48-21, a year after he left Oakland.
We’re not saying we’d mail it to the Raiders’ headquarters to rub it in a bit, but we’re not saying we wouldn’t, either.
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A flask of water from the rain-soaked Super Bowl XLI
Super Bowl XLI was the one that turned Peyton Manning from a statistically great quarterback to one who could win when it mattered most. It wasn’t pretty, but Manning fought through the elements to win his first championship.
It was the only Super Bowl to be played in a torrential downpour, which made for an amazing spectacle in Miami. If only we could have a few drops of that rain and store it in a Bobby Boucher-like flask.
The sledgehammer from Apple's 1984 ad in Super Bowl XVIII
Apple has become one of the most valuable companies in the world, and much of its success started in 1984 when the appropriately named ad, “1984” aired during Super Bowl XVIII.
It was played on American television only twice, with one of those coming during the big game. Playing off of George Orwell’s book, the ad gave way to the first Macintosh computer, which was priced at $2,495. Ignoring inflation, that’s about the price of a high-end MacBook nowadays.
We promise not to smash anything if we were to get our hands on that iconic sledgehammer.
Whatever Justin Timberlake ripped off Janet Jackson at Super Bowl XXXVIII
Need we explain more? It’s the most infamous halftime “blunder” of all time.
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The Superdome light switch at Super Bowl XLVII
There are blackouts, and then there’s the Blackout Bowl. Someone turned off the lights on the Ravens and 49ers four years ago in New Orleans, bringing about a 34-minute delay that spurred a brief comeback attempt by the 49ers. The score went from 28-6 to 28-23 in the blink of an eye, but the Ravens ultimately held on to win 34-31.
The blackout was evidently the result of a partial power outage, but it’s fun to think Jed York was in a back room somewhere flipping a switch to spark a comeback by his team.