TERRE HAUTE —
At first, Steve Weatherford kept his Vince Lombardi Trophy replica at his home.
The trophy, made by Tiffany and Co., is just like the real Super Bowl trophy, only a little smaller. It’s made of sterling silver and comes with white gloves so those who hold it don’t scratch it.
It’s shiny, impressive — and not inexpensive.
“I thought, this is really cool,” said Weatherford, a Terre Haute native and New York Giants punter who was part of the team that won the Super Bowl in 2012, when they defeated the New England Patriots.
The team that wins the Super Bowl receives the Lombardi Trophy, and each player is allowed to have one replica made.
The replica was a great conversation piece, and people liked to have their picture taken with it, Weatherford said.
But then, “I was thinking to myself, this is kind of selfish,” he said during a conference call in the office of Superintendent Dan Tanoos.
Now, Weatherford is loaning it to the Vigo County School Corp., in care of Tanoos, to help motivate and inspire students to reach for their dreams. He wants children to realize that “there are no goals that are too lofty.”
“I owe so much to Terre Haute and the Vigo County School Corp.” and to mentors including Tanoos and the late Julie McLaughlin, who had been an assistant principal at Terre Haute North Vigo High School, he said. Weatherford graduated from North Vigo.
“I’m living the dream,” Weatherford said. And now, he wants to share part of it with the rest of the community.
When Weatherford comes to town in May for his Rush the Punter fundraising event, he’ll take the trophy to some schools and other locations.
The May 18 Rush the Punter event benefits the United Way early childhood education initiative called “Success by Six.”
Weatherford’s dad brought the trophy by airplane and then presented it to Tanoos. The trophy came in its own trunk.
“It’s been such a neat experience to watch Steve’s tremendous growth from a young student in the Vigo County schools to the man he is today,” Tanoos said. Having the Lombardi Trophy replica on loan to show and inspire students “is really amazing.”
Weatherford said he anticipates loaning it to Vigo County schools for a long time. It’s something tangible that students can see up close. He hopes it will help them realize that their goals and aspirations aren’t so far away.
“It’s right here. The Super Bowl trophy (replica) is right here and your dreams are not as far away from where you’re at right now. They are things that are attainable,” Weatherford said.
The trophy replica was made last year and Weatherford received it in January. “It’s pretty prestigious,” he said. Coaches aren’t allowed to buy the replicas, only players are, he said.
“There’s not a lot of them out there. So I think it’s pretty special for Terre Haute to be able to have it,” Weatherford said.
The actual Vince Lombardi Trophy stands 22 inches high and weighs 7 pounds. It depicts a football in a kicking position on a three concave sided stand.
Weatherford also recently learned he will receive the Giants Wellington Mara award; the award is named after the former co-owner of the Giants. “He was a very philanthropic guy, and it was important for him to give back and take care of his community,” Weatherford said.
Receiving the award is “very humbling” and “kind of surreal,” he said.
Weatherford organized an effort to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy, Tanoos said.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@