Last week Patriots owner Robert Kraft said that during a 2005 meeting Russian president Vladimir Putin (right) stole his Super Bowl XXXIX ring. "He put it in his pocket ... and walked out," Kraft told a charity gala in New York City. A Kremlin spokesman called the story "weird" and insisted that the ring was a gift.
So did Putin pull a Gollum? Or was it just a misunderstanding? Turns out Super Bowl rings have a rich history of going missing—though rarely so spectacularly. Here are two of the more bizarre tales:
Speaking about trust to a high school hoops team, Walter Payton hands his Super Bowl XX ring to a player. It vanishes until 2001, when a Purdue student finds it in his couch.
Thieves cut a hole in the roof at an Attleboro, Mass., jeweler and steal a safe holding more than two dozen of the Giants' Super Bowl XLII rings. Cops later bust the robbers and recover the rings.
NEW LINE CINEMA/THE KOBAL COLLECTION (GOLLUM)
ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AP (PUTIN)
JOHN BIEVER FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PAYTON)