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Tracking the Lombardi Trophy

Sure, we all know that the Lombardi Trophy was last won by the Seahawks and currently resides in Seattle, Washington. (Yes, we also know that the Lombardi is not a traveling trophy, but bear with us.) We know that it has been in Pittsburgh six times, the most of any city. And, in just two short weeks, we’ll know whether the Super Bowl XLIX trophy will remain in Seattle or make its way to back to Foxboro.

With 48 games and 19 different winning teams, the Lombardi sure is a restless soul, isn’t it? It has wandered all across the country, from Seattle to Tampa, New York to L.A., not staying in one spot for a second consecutive year in a decade. But where, exactly, does its spirit lie?

Last year, the wonderfully obsessed nerds over at FiveThirtyEight put an article together calculating (essentially) the average location of the Stanley Cup. Naturally, this got us to thinking about where the central spot, the anchor point, the geographic center that the spirit of our beloved Lombardi Trophy would be.

The concept is simple enough. Step 1) Take the latitude/longitude coordinates of every Super Bowl winner’s stadium. Step 2) Find the average of all the coordinates. Step 3) Determine the final location of the trophy, taking into account every winner.

For instance, as you can follow on the interactive map below, Green Bay won Super Bowl I and II, so the average remained in Lambeau Field. The New York Jets took Super Bowl III so our average trophy location becomes Lambeau Lambeau Shea Stadium, divided by three, putting the Lombardi in Rich, Michigan, a third of the way between Green Bay and New York.

Fast forward to last year’s XLVIII and we find the trophy taking on water in the middle of the Meramec River outside Robertsville, Missouri.

Below, we have put together a map of the geographic average location of the Lombardi Trophy, tracking it from Super Bowl to Super Bowl. It’s interactive so you can find the spot in your birth year, see if it has passed through your town, or check out how you favorite team’s championships affected its current position.

Scroll a little further to take a look at some of the most interesting facts and figures we found while tracking our trophy. Enjoy.

Where in the World is the Lombardi Trophy Fun Facts

1) Chalk Up Another Win for Parity. At Least Geographically
It’s not too strange that we’ve found ourselves in this portion of the country for the majority of our experiment. Plotting the geographic center of all 32 team’s playing fields, we find ourselves in Chester, Illinois, on the west side of the Mississippi River (kinda), just 1.8 miles from the Illinois-Missouri border. The midpoint of all the stadiums is just 61.88 miles from the Trophy’s current mark.2) What’s to Come
Last season, Lombardi made a jump northwest with the Seahawks win. Should they take it home again, the trophy’s spirit will shift 37 miles, winding up in Roark, MO. The Patriots have another chance to bump it toward the northeast as they have more than their fair share of times in the last decade and a half, putting it in Fenton, MO, right outside St. Louis.

3) Missouri Loves Company
The Trophy has spent most of its time taking scenic tours back and forth across the state of Missouri. 31 of the 48 trophy’s average centers have landed in the Show Me State. Kentucky comes in second with seven stops, most recently after Super Bowl XIV. In total, the trophy’s spirit has lied in nine different states.4) Crossing the Border
Lombardi has been in Illinois twice… 32 years apart.5) Go East, Young Man
After shifting all over the place in the 90’s, the line of travel got a lot cleaner with the St. Louis Rams’ victory at the turn of the millennium. After their win, for 14 straight years, the trophy’s central point traveled east getting all the way out of Missouri before Seattle’s win last year finally shifted the trophy back west.6) Hot New Bucs Fan Tourist Destination
The Buccaneers’ win in 2002 brought the trophy to North Benton Township, Missouri, nearly a decade after the trophy called South Benton Township, Missouri, home. So all you diehard Bucs fans out there, be sure to plan your next vacation to North Benton Township, Missouri – “Home of the Geographical Center Point of the Lombardi Trophy after the Buccaneers Super Bowl XXXVII Victory!”7) Could it be Destiny?
Finally, here’s what is hands down our favorite finding of this exercise. The Denver Broncos won Super Bowl XXXIII, ending the reign of Missouri by moving the central point into Kansas for the first and only time. Zooming into the exact location we see that we’re sitting in Fort Scott, Kansas. Zoom in a little more and we find ourselves here:

Directly in the center of a building on the campus of Fort Scott Community College. Why is this so special and, frankly, a pretty incredible little finding?

Well, our very own Lavonte David spent two years playing linebacker for Fort Scott Community College before transferring to Nebraska. He led the Greyhounds to the Junior College National Championship game and was named the game’s defensive MVP.

Now, we’re just a few weeks away from learning where Lombardi’s spirit will spend its time for the next year. After that, who knows where this wondering soul will go? Perhaps our David fact is a good omen that it will shift a few dozen miles southeast a time or two in the next few years.

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