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    Battle-scarred beauty photo matched to multiple years!

    1985 William "Refrigerator" Perry Super Bowl XX Game Worn & Signed Chicago Bears Rookie Jersey with Multiple Photo Matches.

    "Even when I was little, I was big."

    The youngster from Aiken, South Carolina would crest two hundred pounds at the age of eleven, swelling to the 318-pound figure listed on his rookie card just over a decade later, a massive number that most would agree was still nonetheless an understatement. Yet despite a physical enormity that inspired one of the great nicknames of NFL history, William Perry was an extraordinary athlete, able to cover one hundred meters in under twelve seconds and dunk a basketball on a standard rim.

    That virtually unprecedented pairing of size and athleticism earned Perry first-round honors in the 1985 NFL draft, claimed by a Chicago Bears team on the brink of glory. The Windy City powerhouse he'd join would improve from ten and six in 1984 to fifteen and one in 1985, the sole defeat coming in week thirteen against a Miami Dolphins franchise anxious to defend its status as the NFL's only team to run the table. Inclusive of victory in Super Bowl XX, the 1985 Chicago Bears would finish the season eighteen and one. It remains the sole Lombardi Trophy in franchise history to this day.

    Despite his gentle giant demeanor, Perry's presence would cause strife amongst the team's coaching staff, hand-picked by head coach Mike Ditka against the wishes of defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, who considered Perry a wasted selection. Ryan's opposition to Perry led Ditka to introduce the hulking defensive tackle as a blocker for Walter Payton in short yardage situations, setting the stage for one of the most memorable and controversial moments of Super Bowl XX.

    With less than twenty minutes in regulation, and leading by thirty-four points against a thoroughly overmatched New England Patriots team, Mike Ditka selected Perry to take the carry at the one-yard line, denying the team's greatest figure-Walter Payton-the opportunity to find Super Bowl paydirt for himself. Sweetness justifiably saw the call as a betrayal, and Ditka considers his failure to give Payton the honor he so richly deserved one of his greatest professional regrets.

    Nonetheless, the sight of Perry's mountain of flesh barreling across the goal line remains the most iconic moment of Super Bowl XX, and Heritage is thrilled to present his white mesh gamer from that game to our Platinum Night clientele. Remarkably, the jersey saw action over a four-year period, the experts at Resolution Photomatching finding visual documentation not just for Super Bowl XX, but also for a December 27, 1987 victory at the Los Angeles Raiders and a September 16, 1990 victory over the Packers at Lambeau. Surely this represents just a fraction of its full resume.

    It would also appear that the jersey was prepped, if not used, for the 1991 season as well, as the NFL logo patch appears at the front of the collar, a tradition that debuted that year. That patch, and the black sharpie signature at upper left chest, remain the only alterations from Perry's Super Bowl Stumble into the end zone, other than ever-increasing game wear documented by literally dozens of massive team repairs. We could count on one hand the number of jerseys we've encountered that bear a similar amount.

    It would appear that the reason for the jersey's long use and its plenitude of repairs are one and the same. "Wilson" simply didn't make jerseys this big back then and had to custom build this one for the Fridge's massive frame, with elasticized side panels to contain his girth. If there ever was a tag on this jersey, it's gone now, but the absence of any sign of any stitching path suggests there never was. The screened-on identifiers--number "72" on front, back and shoulders, and his surname across the rear nameplate--are slightly cracked from wear and age but the garment presents as the ultimate battle-scarred beauty. It's unquestionably the most significant Chicago Bears item that Heritage has had the privilege to present since Perry's enormous Super Bowl ring commanded over $200,000 in July 2015. LOA from Resolution Photomatching. LOA from Heritage Auctions. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2020
    29th-30th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,038

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