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Stafford's “damaged” jersey and football arrive in Canton

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11/24/2009

Matthew Stafford, the NFL’s first overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, had a record-setting and gutsy effort in the Detroit Lions’ thrilling 38-37 victory over the Cleveland Browns in Week 11. The torn jersey he wore on Sunday and a football he threw for one of his five touchdowns in the win were delivered to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Tuesday.

The mementos were promptly placed on exhibit in the Hall of Fame’s Pro Football Today Gallery next to a number of other recent acquisitions from moments that made history this season.

Stafford set the rookie single-game passing record when he threw for 422 yards in the Lions win. He also became the second rookie quarterback to throw five TDs in the same game. The first time that occurred was in 1937 when Chicago Bears QB Ray Buivid accomplished the feat.

Normally, the Pro Football Hall of Fame takes pristine care of mementos in its collection and often times will make minor repairs to damaged artifacts. That is, unless the damage is part of the story which was the case with Stafford’s jersey.

The Lions quarterback attempted a last-second desperation pass to the end zone when he was driven hard to the turf and injured his left non-throwing shoulder. Stafford made his way toward the sideline where he was greeted by the Lions medical staff. Within seconds the rookie from Georgia realized that the Browns were flagged for pass interference in the end zone which gave the Lions one last chance. Stafford made his way back on to the field and threw the game-winning touchdown despite the anguishing pain. After the game the jersey was ripped during an examination in the training room. 

The football donated to the Hall of Fame by the Lions was from Stafford’s longest TD throw of the day. He hooked up with wide receiver Calvin Johnson on a 75-yard TD strike in the second quarter.

Stafford passes way into record book>>>

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