He died young...and to many that was no surprise. John Matuszak's life was too fast to last long. Now, the crowning achievement of his NFL career is on the auction block.
In 1977, the Oakland Raiders won Super Bowl XI and owner Al Davis started a new trend. Davis had replicas of the Vince Lombardi trophy created for each member of the team. It was the first time a replica had been given to individual team members. Now, nearly 22 years after his death at age 38, the trophy given to Raiders' star John Matuszak is up for bid at Nate D. Sanders Auctions.
The trophy was in the possession of Matuszak’s sister who provided a certificate of authenticity. It was made by R.S. Owens & Co. and is three quarters of the size of the original trophy that Tiffany & Co produced.
"The Tooz" was selected number one overall in the 1973 NFL draft by the Houston Oilers. However, he became renowned as a “bad boy” defensive lineman with theRaiders and helped them win Super Bowl XI and Super Bowl XV. After retiring from football, he became an actor starring in “Goonies” and playing roles in various TV shows including M*A*S*H.
The trophy measures 18" tall and is situated on a triangular base measuring about 9" on each side. Engraved upon the column are the words, "Vince Lombardi Trophy / [NFL logo] / Super Bowl XI / AFC vs NFC".
Upon the base is an engraved silver plate which reads, "The Oakland Raiders / World Champions / John Matuszak / Oakland 32 - Minnesota 14 / January 9, 1977".
Only a small number of Super Bowl winning teams have followed Davis' lead by issuing player trophies.