With the Super Bowl scheduled to be played in New Jersey for the first time ever this weekend, the superintendent of the Middletown cemetery where Vince Lombardi is buried wants the game trophy that’s named for the legendary football coach to pay a graveside visit.
“Bring the trophy here” to Mount Olivet Cemetery, Ed Cardoza told the New York Daily News. “It’s so close now. As far as I know, it’s never been here to his grave. On the hundredth anniversary of his birth last June, there was supposed to be a big memorial that sort of fizzled out. This would be perfect.”
Cardoza plans to be in Manhattan to plead his case Wednesday when the Vince Lombardi Trophy arrives at NFL headquarters by FedEx, the News reports.
Lombardi, who lived in Fair Haven, his wife’s hometown, in the mid-1950s,when he was an assistant coach with the New York Giants. He died in 1970 after winning two Super Bowls at the helm of the Green Bay Packers.
From the News story:
“We’re expecting some fans down here anyway,” Cardoza said. “I mean, what are they going to do all week?”
The cemetery is braced for an invasion, in any case, while Cardoza debates whether to seek some extra security from a local cop on Super Bowl Sunday. He can’t be sure yet about the power of Lombardi’s allure, or the number of people who will arrive. When these fans come, they can be wild.
“I’ve heard of them doing shots, cooking food on a grill over the grave,” Cardoza said. “You just never know.”
Cardoza wants NFL Films to shoot a moving tribute, with a trophy ceremony as the showcase. It makes sense. An official league visit to the gravesite would seem a wonderful symbolic gesture, the least the NFL can do after banking Lombardi’s image all these decades.
By the way, the original trophy, made for the 1967 championship game won by Lombardi’s Packers, is on loan to the Newark Museum through March.
Here’s a fun listing of stuff named for Lombardi.