The Texas Rangers, who’ve chased outlaws and scalawags by horse and car, are searching for the person who swiped New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s Super Bowl game jersey.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Monday that he has called in the storied Rangers to help Houston police track down Brady’s jersey, which vanished after Brady led his team to victory on Sunday in the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, CNN affiliate KTRK-TV reported.
In the locker room, Brady quickly noticed his No. 12 jersey was missing after the game at NRG stadium in Houston. Brady said he had put it in his bag.
“In Texas we place a very high value on hospitality and football. Tom Brady’s jersey has great historical value and is already being called ‘the most valuable NFL collectable ever.’ It will likely go into the Hall of Fame one day,” Patrick said in a press release. “It is important that history does not record that it was stolen in Texas.”
“I’m a Texans and Cowboys fan first, but the unquestionable success of the Super Bowl in Houston last night was a big win for our entire state and I don’t want anything to mar that victory. Whoever took this jersey should turn it in. The Texas Rangers are on the trail,” Patrick said.
Houston police told CNN they are in contact with NFL security, but don’t currently have a police report.
“We have been looking into this disappointing matter and will continue to assist law enforcement authorities,” an NFL spokesman said.
The Texas Rangers said they have offered assistance to Houston police. On Twitter, the Major League Baseball team with the same name quipped they, too, were on the case. They offered the services of star infielder Adrián Beltré as “lead detective.”
Brady put on a spectacular show on Sunday. He threw for a Super Bowl record 466 yards and two touchdowns as he rallied his Patriots from a 25-point deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in Super Bowl LI.
Brady, who described the match as a “hell of a football game,” was named Super Bowl MVP for the fourth time. It was his fifth Super Bowl title.
After the game, Brady stood in the locker room smiling as owner Robert Kraft weaved through the clusters of people to congratulate his star quarterback.
The two embraced.
“Someone stole my game jersey,” Brady said to Kraft, still smiling.
‘If it shows up on eBay’
“I put it in my bag, then I came out and it wasn’t there anymore,” Brady said Monday. “So, it’s unfortunate because that’s a nice piece of memorabilia. So if it shows up on eBay somewhere, someone let me know, try to track that down.”
So how much could the jersey be worth?
Time quotes Rich Mueller, editor of Sports Collectors Daily, who said he “wouldn’t be surprised to see such a jersey hit $400,000 or more.”
Time reported that a Brady jersey worn in a regular season game sold at an auction for $46,000 in 2012. And a dirty jersey that Brady wore during a 2014 regular season game was recently auctioned for $56,000, according to Time.
“This jersey — if authorized for sale by Tom Brady or his family — could go for at least $250,000,” Barry Meisel, president of the MeiGray Group, a sports memorabilia collector in Branchburg, New Jersey, told CNN.
But Meisel said no legitimate seller of game-worn jerseys would touch it or authenticate the memorabilia if it were stolen merchandise.
The stature of the person who wore the item and the significance of the moment help determine the memorabilia’s value. “An iconic player wore it during an iconic moment,” Meisel said.
There have been other famous swipes in sports history.
More than two decades ago, Michael Jordan’s trademark No. 23 jersey was believed to have been stolen at a Valentine’s Day game between the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic, according to an article in si.com. The Bulls didn’t have a backup jersey — but Jordan didn’t miss the game.
Jordan wore No. 12 instead; the jersey didn’t have his name on the back.
On Sunday, several pieces of retired NBA star Kobe Bryant’s memorabilia were stolen from his high school in Lower Merion, outside of Philadelphia, CNN affiliate KYW reported. The items included a framed high school replica jersey, the 1996 state championship trophy, as well as several pairs of signed Nike sneakers.
In a letter, the school’s principal, Sean Hughes, said the items were swiped from a display case outside the Bryant Gymnasium.
“While the items from the case are not of substantial monetary value, they do have a great deal of sentimental importance,” Hughes wrote, KYW reported.
Brady’s No. 12 jersey checks both boxes.