An unequivocal specimen from the true story that broke a million gridiron hearts1966-68 Brian Piccolo Game Worn Chicago Bears Jersey, MEARS A10. Perhaps only Rudy Ruettiger, the diminutive dreamer of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, earned as many fans for his relatively limited talents in the sport as this hardworking but undersized fullback out of Wake Forest. Piccolo was born on Halloween of 1943, the costume of his dreams always the uniform of an NFL franchise. But despite leading the NCAA in rushing during his Senior season, the six-foot tall, 205 pound rusher went unselected in the 1965 draft, the scouts united in their belief that the young man was neither large enough nor fast enough for the sport's highest level.
Undeterred, Piccolo tried out as a free agent in 1965, but made it no further than the taxi squad. The following season, the first possible vintage of the presented jersey, Piccolo realized his aspiration of a roster spot, though his play was primarily restricted to special teams. In 1967 he finally made it into the Bears backfield as a back-up for Gale Sayers, carrying eighty-seven times for 317 yards. His first touchdowns, a pair of them, would come in 1968, the most productive season of his brief career, and the last possible year this jersey saw use. It was during the ninth game of the 1969 season that the Bears sideline was stunned to see its faithful warrior voluntarily bench himself. The fateful diagnosis of cancer was the result of his medical examination, and less than a year later, at age twenty-six, Piccolo succumbed to his illness.
Of course it was the 1971 made-for-TV movie "Brian's Song" that made Piccolo a household name, a bittersweet tale of his close friendship with Sayers who, despite divides in race and talent, formed an unbreakable bond as America struggled with its greatest unrest since the Civil War. If there was ever an article of football memorabilia that transcended the sport to become a part of the greater popular culture, it is the deep navy garment presented here.
The experts at MEARS assign the jersey its highest rating, characterizing the use as "Heavy," and confirming that not a single attribute of the shirt deviates from its status during Piccolo's ownership. Number "41" appears in white and orange tackle twill on chest and sleeves, the latter bearing the distinctive triple rings that has long been a Bears tradition. Interior tail holds the proper "King O'Shea [size] 44" label. LOA from MEARS, A10. LOA from Heritage Auctions.
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