Tom Brady’s jersey, the one he wore during the New England Patriots historic comeback and overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, had been missing since shortly after the game ended. On Monday, the NFL announced the jersey had been found through the cooperation of the league’s security team and the FBI.
The jersey, valued at $500,000, would fetch a hefty price on the memorabilia market. The league said that the jersey had been found in the possession of someone who had posed as a member of the international media. That person is suspected to be C. Martin Mauricio Ortega, formerly of Mexican news organization La Prensa, though Ortega has not been charged with any crime at this point.
In an unexpected twist, the league also announced that this person also had Brady’s jersey from the Patriots Super Bowl XLIX win over the Seattle Seahawks. Until Monday, that missing jersey hadn’t made headlines. But the fact that it had also been stolen may be part of the reason that the jersey from Super Bowl LI became such a big story.
Here’s a complete timeline of the theft and recovery of Tom Brady’s missing jerseys:
Feb. 6, 2005 - Ortega poses with Tom Brady for a photo at Super Bowl XXXIX
Ortega has been attending Super Bowls for over a decade, and met Brady in Jacksonville when the Patriots beat the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX, according to Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports. Ortega took a photo with Brady, which is generally a frowned-upon practice for credentialed media members. For the record, so is stealing jerseys.
Feb. 1, 2015 - Patriots win Super Bowl XLIX; Brady’s jersey goes missing
While it wasn’t publicized, someone walked off with Brady’s game-worn jersey from New England’s 28-24 Super Bowl win over the Seahawks.
Feb. 5, 2017 - Patriots win Super Bowl LI; Brady’s jersey goes missing again
Brady and the Patriots executed a dramatic comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons, taking a Super Bowl to overtime for the first time in NFL history. After the game, Brady discovered that his jersey was missing. He appeared to be “flustered” and immediately enlisted help from team equipment managers and security personnel.