There Are Many Who Believe Georgia Is the Original Trophy Wife
Give it back, Georgia.
Return the first Vince Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl history to its rightful owner--the city of Baltimore.
The statute of limitations probably rules out a police raid, but by all accounts, Georgia Frontiere is in possession of 29-year-old stolen property. Witnesses have seen the trophy from Baltimore’s Super Bowl V victory in 1971 in her Bel-Air home. A duplicate had to be made and sent to Baltimore, where it’s displayed in a trophy case as if it’s the real thing.
“If I had it,” said Steve Rosenbloom, son of former Ram owner Carroll Rosenbloom, “I’d give it to the city of Baltimore.”
How’s this for Super Bowl trivia? When Commissioner Paul Tagliabue hands her the trophy for a Ram victory Sunday night in Super Bowl XXXIV, he will actually be giving her the 35th such trophy made by Tiffany & Co.
“The principals involved are no longer with us, so it’s a moot point,” a Ram spokesman said in response to a request to ask Frontiere about the hot property she has stashed in her home.
For a woman who likes to sing, she sure has clammed up.
But think about this: Of all the football people in this world, Georgia Frontiere is probably the only one who has a Lombardi Trophy in her sun room. Wonder what Vince would think about that.
Here’s the story:
Carroll Rosenbloom, while married to Georgia, owned the Baltimore Colts, who defeated Dallas in Super Bowl V.
A year later, Rosenbloom swapped franchises with Robert Irsay, moving to Los Angeles to take up ownership of the Rams.
In the days before Super Bowl VII, which was going to be played in Los Angeles, Rosenbloom suggested to Baltimore team officials that they bring the Super Bowl V trophy to display with the other Super Bowl trophies won by Green Bay, Kansas City and the New York Jets at a grand party on the Queen Mary.
“I said, ‘Don’t do it,’ ” said Ernie Accorsi, now general manager of the New York Giants, but publicity director for the Colts at that time. “I called Green Bay, New York and Kansas City and they didn’t know anything about it. But our general manager, Joe Thomas, couldn’t have cared less because he didn’t have anything to do with that trophy, and said to send it.
“I can still see Eddie Rosenbloom, who was Carroll’s nephew and our business manager, sitting there on the plane with the trophy next to him, like those commercials you see for the Stanley Cup.”
That’s the last time Baltimore saw its trophy.
“You’re talking about the Holy Grail,” Steve Rosenbloom said with a laugh. “My father had no idea what the folks in Baltimore were talking about when they asked for the trophy.”
The trophy never made an appearance on the Queen Mary, prompting Irsay to call Ram general manager Don Klosterman.
“He kept saying, ‘Where’s the Super Bowl trophy?’ ” Klosterman said. “I said, ‘The last time I saw it, one of our office workers was polishing it.’
“I knew where it was, of course. Carroll had it, because he said he deserved it, and it wasn’t Irsay’s.”
Irsay died a few years ago, but his son, Jim, who now owns the Indianapolis Colts, said, “I’ve never been to [Georgia’s] house, so I haven’t seen the trophy.”
The Baltimore Colts raised a ruckus after it initially came up missing, but NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle wasn’t about to tangle with Rosenbloom, one of the NFL’s premier power brokers.
“I saw it one more time after it left Baltimore,” Accorsi said. “I was with Steve and he had to stop at his father’s house for something, and invited me in.
“And there in the glistening morning sunlight I saw the Lombardi Trophy. C.R. came in the room, and I was always in awe of him, so I said, ‘Mr. Rosenbloom, obviously you got a duplicate made.’ And he said, ‘Kid, you always were a bright young man.’
“After that, we petitioned Commissioner Rozelle to get a duplicate made for the city of Baltimore. The funny thing is, that was the first-ever Lombardi Trophy. Vince had died a few months before the Colts’ win, and the trophy was named in his honor for that game. Vince’s wife presented the first trophy to Carroll and I remember her saying, ‘Vince would have been so happy for someone like you to have this.’ Apparently, he took it literally and kept it.”
Steve Rosenbloom said the trophy was significant to his father because the Colts had suffered an embarrassing loss to the Jets in Super Bowl III.
“It just mysteriously appeared at my father’s house,” said Rosenbloom, who didn’t ask for it after his father’s death in 1979. “I didn’t get any heirlooms. I didn’t get anything but lots of good memories.”
As a sidelight to the trophy caper, when the Colts had the phony made, Accorsi had the name of George Young, who had joined the team late as an offensive line coach, added to the trophy that’s on display in Baltimore. The original in Georgia’s house, which has the names of the owner, general manager, players and coaches, does not include Young.
“I told George if it hadn’t been stolen, his name would never be on it,” Accorsi said.
So while Young probably hopes Georgia melts it down for more jewelry, there are others who believe Baltimore should be given the original.
“I’ve talked to people who have seen it in her house--just sitting out in the open,” said sportswriter Vito Stellino of the Baltimore Sun. “A lot of people think it belongs in Baltimore. If she had a press conference here at the Super Bowl I was going to ask her about it. But she never did.”
There are indications now, however, that she might have a dramatic change of heart, come clean and repent. The rumors, the innuendoes, the speculation, they can wear a person down.
Face it, before this, everybody has had suspicions about a number of things, their own ideas of what really happened.
But Friday, Frontiere chose to confess on the front page of USA Today, her mug shot bigger than President Clinton’s, her revelation obviously just the tip of the iceberg.
“Some of the owners pushed me to marry Dominic [Frontiere],” she told the newspaper. “They wanted a man to run the team. . . . We were good friends, but we never consummated the marriage.”
(It’s not the practice here to offer editorial comment, but we will pause here for those so inclined.)
The thing is, this is the most encouraging thing to happen all week for the good people of Baltimore, who might have the same feeling as some people in L.A. if Georgia is handed the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night.
They lost their duplicate trophy when Irsay moved in the middle of the night to Indianapolis, then won it back in an eminent domain settlement four years ago. Reading Georgia’s remarks in the newspaper, it’s obvious now that she’s likely to do or say most anything. Maybe even redecorate her home, and replace the old with the new.
She has been known to do that before.