Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Lombardi Trophy, Before There Even Was A Lombardi Trophy

File this under "things I never really thought about, or even knew".

The E:60 piece about Dan Snyder's desire to engrave his dad's name on the Lombardi Trophy got me to wondering: "Do teams even do that?"

Answer: Yes, and No. The Redskins have done it, the Giants have apparently done it, the Steelers have done it.

But not the Packers. At least not the first two of them.

So I suppose the engraving is up to the team.

Which got me to Google-wondering: "What the hell was the NFL's championship trophy before the league's merged?"

Answer: THIS ol' warhorse of a tarnish silver chalice. The ol' "Ed Thorp" Trophy, named after - a REFEREE!

Redskins blogger Matt Terl picks it up from here:

In the early part of the 20th century, Ed Thorp was a referee and friend to prominent early NFL owners. After he died in 1934, the league created a trophy to honor him. Unlike the modern Lombardi trophies, this trophy did not become possession of the winning team, but instead spent a year with the winning team before being passed on to the next year’s champion, much like the NHL’s Stanley Cup.

The Redskins were the winners of this trophy in 1937 and 1942, but that trophy is NOT in Redskins Park.

(In fact, no one knows where that trophy is. The prevailing theory is that the Minnesota Vikings – who were the last to win the Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy, in 1969 – somehow lost it when the league switched over to the Lombardi Trophy the following year. Which is an impressive feat; if this were baseball, there would have been books and stories and TV specials about the Curse of Ed Thorp, especially when the Vikings lost three out of four Super Bowls in the mid-1970s. But it’s the NFL, so apparently everyone just sort of shrugs and looks embarrassed by the whole thing.)

LAST ADD: Terl has more on the Redskins Thorp replica trophy, which does sit in the trophy case collecting dust from the late 30's.


  1. C'mon, man. The Vikings have never won a Super Bowl. I can't believe you'd quote a guy that doesn't even know that.

  2. It's the NFL trophy, Badger.
    The Super Bowl pre-merger was just an exhibition game. (Sorry KC).

  3. The coolest trophey (that's in the Hall of Fame) is a football made out of coal, that is shined up REAL nice.

    I think it was from the 1920's but don't remember for sure.

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