NFL investigators arrived in Phoenix ahead of the Patriots and Giants, sweeping area memorabilia shops for fake jerseys and counterfeit products.
It’s possible to find cheap authentic NFL jerseys if shop trusted sources. Amazon.com is about as good a place as any to find the real deal, but iIf it’s too cheap, doesn’t carry the right tags and was sold out of the back of a van, it’s probably a counterfeit jersey and the NFL doesn’t want you to have it.
League investigators began combing Arizona over the weekend. Federal agents then entered at least one sports card and memorabilia shop and confiscated $6,000 worth of autographed but unlicensed jerseys, photos and other items just days before Super Bowl XLII.
As Sports Collectors Daily reported last summer, pro sports leagues have been sending their own undercover agents into shops suspected of selling goods that aren’t made by companies which have paid to license official products. Often times, those items are legitimately autographed afer a bulk purchase and stores attempt to sell them.
In June of last year, agents visited at least one Baltimore area shop and carted out $20,000 worth of products, including a large number of autographed jerseys. While the autographs were legitimate, the jerseys were unlicensed. Typically, the items are destroyed.
The leagues are attempting to protect their agreements with companies like Reebok, which owns the NFL jersey license.
It’s not illegal to stock a jersey that might be made of colors similar to what the Washington Redskins wear. Placing trademarks and emblems belonging to the league and its teams on those jerseys is a different story.
"When you start to put a name, a logo or a mascot patch on a jersey, you have a counterfeit," said Richard Logue of Blazer Investigations, a company that works with the NFL to protect the league’s investment and its licensees.
Much of the material, especially during Super Bowl week, originates in Mexico.
Shop by team for official NFL jerseys via Amazon.com