02-01-2004, 11:06 PM
The Florida Times-Union reports The NFL doesn't advertise the fact that even though the 38th Super Bowl will be played today, there are 39 Vince Lombardi Trophies. It's one of those little known facts of Super Bowl lore. It happened because the late Carroll Rosenbloom, who originally owned the Colts and then swapped them for the Rams in 1972, used a clever maneuver to get his hands on the trophy the Colts won when they beat the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V after the 1970 season. Two years later, the Rams were up for sale and Rosenbloom wanted to own a team in Los Angeles, but didn't want to pay the capital gains tax that would have been due if he'd sold the Colts and bought the Rams. So he arranged a deal in which the late Bob Irsay bought the Rams and then traded them to Rosenbloom for the Colts. Since the trophy belongs to the franchise, not the owner, it remained in Baltimore. Rosenbloom, one of the shrewdest movers and shakers in the history of the league, figured out a way to get possession of it. When Super Bowl VII was played in Los Angeles after the 1972 season, he told the Colts he was going to have all the trophies in an exhibit at the commissioner's annual Friday night party. So a Colts employee took it to Los Angeles. It not only wasn't displayed at the party, Rosenbloom never returned it. When the Colts complained to former commissioner Pete Rozelle, he didn't want to hassle with Rosenbloom, who had a stormy relationship with the commissioner. So Rozelle authorized a replica to be made for the Colts. That trophy was hauled off to Indianapolis on March 28, 1984, when the Colts made their move in the middle of the night. Although the Indianapolis team kept the Colts' name, logo and all the records, they returned the trophy to the city of Baltimore as part of a settlement of a lawsuit over the move. The original trophy is believed to be in the possession of Georgia Frontiere, Rosenbloom's widow, who now owns the Rams and has since moved them to St. Louis. Frontiere has never acknowledged she has the trophy at her home and the NFL has let the matter drop. It's the NFL's version of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.