Stafford's unusual jersey
On Tuesday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame received the jersey Matthew Stafford wore on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns when he set the NFL rookie record for most passing yards in a single game. The jersey is the first one to come to the Pro Football Hall of Fame completely cut in half. If you recall the highlights from the game, Stafford injured his shoulder late in the contest. In order to remove the jersey without hurting Stafford further, trainers cut the jersey off him after the game.
This unique jersey in our collection made me think of other unusual jerseys we have. One such one that immediately comes to mind is Norm Van Brocklin’s 1960 Philadelphia Eagles jersey. Van Brocklin was known for leading the Eagles to the 1960 NFL Championship and winning the NFL MVP that year. His jersey features his blood stains from an injury he must have sustained in the championship game against the Packers. I often joke with people if cloning humans ever became a reality, the Pro Football Hall of Fame could clone Norm Van Brocklin with our DNA sample. I’m sure someone would want to draft the Van Brocklin clone.
Our largest jersey in our collection is Jim “Jumbo” Elliott’s New York Giants jersey. You may remember “Jumbo” Elliott from his days as a tackle for the New York Giants and New York Jets in the 1980s and ‘90s. Jumbo played at 6’-7” and over 300 pounds. His jersey does not fit our regular storage boxes which are 36” long. The dirtiest jersey in our collection would be Brandon Jacobs New York Giants jersey from 2007 NFL London Game. That game was played in a muddy Wembley Stadium. It came to us unwashed which makes it authenticity quite apparent!
In my opinion the coolest jerseys in our collection are Tiki Barber’s jersey (I swear I’m not a Giants fan) and an Ironton Tanks jersey from the 1920s. The Barber wore the jersey in our collection in the final game of his career in on Dec. 30, 2006. In that game Tiki set an NFL record for the most yards rushing when he gained 234 yards, the most by a player in the in the final regular season game of their career. The old record was held by Cliff Battles who never returned to the Redskins after 1937 because of a contract dispute. The team refused to bump his salary past $3000!
The Ironton (Ohio) Tanks were a semi-pro team from the 1920s and 1930s but they were no ordinary semi-pro team. They competed and often defeated NFL teams (including the Chicago Bears) in exhibition games. The Tanks jersey in our collection is unique in that it features canvas strips on the front chest and sleeves. These strips were designed to help ball carriers hold on to the football and not fumble. The first photos of the Chicago Bears one of the oldest teams in professional football feature players wearing these strips on the jerseys. However no Bears jerseys from the 1920s exist. The closest example we have is this Ironton Tanks jersey.
Probably the ugliest jerseys in our collection are from the World Football League of the 1974 and 1975. We have jerseys from such teams as the San Antonio Wings, Charlotte Hornets and Shreveport Steamers of the WFL. They all feature odd combinations of colors that could only come from the 1970s. Looking at these jerseys no wonder the WFL folded in two years despite signing talented players such Danny White, Paul Warfield and Larry Csonka.
Now because of his heroic performance Matthew Stafford’s jersey is among the pantheon of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s most unique and unusual jerseys.
Go back to all blog listings