The smoke has finally cleared on one of the most bizarre cases in NFL history. First, Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey went missing. There was tons of speculation of where the uni could be. No one wanted to say it was stolen. But that was in fact the case. After weeks of drama pulled straight out of some forgotten Hollywood screenplay, the missing jersey was suddenly found. But that’s where this story gets really interesting.
The jersey was lost. Zero chance of recovery. You would need divine help to find it. Well, ask for a miracle, I give you the F-B-I. The Bureau tracked the missing memorabilia down to Mexico. That’s right, this caper has just gone international. But the real twist is that the stolen jersey was discovered along with his “missing” jersey from Super Bowl 49 and Von Miller’s helmet from Super Bowl 50. What a stash of insane football gear. That’s legit super villain status.
How did that happen? To explain, first let’s back up right to the end of Super Bowl 51. The Pats win, Tom takes off the jersey and it gets put it in his bag in his locker. Team celebrates on the field. Later, the locker room is opened to the media. And as mentioned before, no security cameras in that area. Tom comes back to his locker and checks his bag to find nothing.
So, who done it? The man in question is Mauricio Ortega. An editor for a Mexican newspaper. This wasn’t some fresh face either. This was a vet journalist from a big publication who had years of experience. Ortega had press credentials so he was allowed access to the player areas. Footage of the hallway outside the locker room shows him entering then exiting with something new tucked under his arm. Nice detective work whoever figured that out.
Speaking of figuring it out, it seems like Jay Glazer and the FOX team covering the big game had a critical role in cracking the case. They worked with the FBI and used their footage to help identify Ortega. Finally, all those annoying reporters and cameras do something useful. In all seriousness, Glazer broke many keys facts about this story and we would know much less without his team’s efforts. Here is the breakdown plus the camera footage showing Ortega going in and out of the locker room.
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 22, 2017
To make things even more juicy, Ortega quit his job just weeks before the jersey was found. All the recovered merch is being authenticated before any legal action is taken. The stolen goods have tremendous value but only to a buyer who wishes to keep them secret. That makes me think Ortega was not the collector, but the thief working for the collector.
In the Glazer video, he mentions that Von Miller had his helmet and cleats go missing after SB 50. Only the helmet was recovered. So maybe the cleats made their way to the collector? Or they are still hidden, waiting for Ortega or an associate. Either way, this whole tale is wild. I hope more wrinkles keep appearing and we uncover some evil sports merchandise syndicate. At some point, Ortega may be put on trial and then we may learn the truth of his motivations. Until then, you only have my terrible movie-inspired speculations.