It’s football season. And as each year progresses from the move of the NY Giants to MetLife Stadium in 2010, it becomes less important to focus on the yearly report from the Meadowlands… not the ubiquitous “this is our year” that nearly every franchise enjoys, not the rehashing of glory days with Lawrence Taylor and Phil Simms, not the inevitable grousing about the Miracle in the Meadowlands, but the constant, nagging question of “Where’s Hoffa?”
Jimmy Hoffa, prominent union boss, disappeared in 1975, and even before Giants Stadium opened in 1976, people were wondering what had happened to him. As he’d disappeared in Michigan, that state had the majority of suspicious and investigated sites.
Then came 1989, and Playboy magazine. In an interview with Donald “Tony the Greek” Frankos, the mobster admitted to having been part of a hit squad that assassinated Hoffa, dismembered him, put the parts in an oil drum and dropped the oil drum into the foundation of Giants Stadium, under what would become section 107.
That began the “Giants Stadium” myth, which was expanded to include that Hoffa was buried on the 50 yard line (because football fans are focused on that point which divides the field for teams), the end zones (because football fans also love the end zones, where scoring happens) and one of the 10 yard lines (because there was an unusual bump in the field there, where the stadium – which had been built on a swamp – had the foundation settle).
This urban legend has been debunked multiple times, using media funding like Mythbusters and eventually by the tearing down of the stadium. Hoffa was not buried under the original Giants stadium in the Meadowlands. Period.
That’s where most of these things stop, though, and it’s only part of the puzzle. Many conspiracy theorists, never content with simply embracing an urban legend, are driven by the need to be seen as knowing the “explanation” of the story.
And in this case, it’s why Hoffa – assumed dead – was killed in the first place.
Now to get the facts out of the way first… the most likely culprit in the assassination of Hoffa was a friend of his, Frank Sheeran, a hitman. Sheeran had become a right-hand man of Hoffa during the 1950s and continued to be one until Hoffa went to prison for racketeering in 1967. Upon Hoffa’s release from prison, he attempted to resume his control over union operations. His mob connections had spent time building new associations during his incarceration, however, and attempted to dissuade him. Hoffa would not be denied. Sheeran admitted to being instructed to kill Hoffa, and he admitted to having done so. When an investigation was made of the house where he claimed to have committed the act, human blood remnants were found but could no longer be positively identified to a person.
This was all dramatized in the movie The Irishman, which was filmed last year but has not yet been released.
That’s fact, though. Now to conspiracy, where the primary reason for Hoffa’s presumed murder is that he was a weak link in the conspiracy to cover up the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
It was an established fact that Kennedy and Hoffa disliked each other. The mob ties of the Kennedys went back to Prohibition era, and Bobby Kennedy’s efforts to investigate and prosecute organized crime was a point of significant contention.
According to some reports, the Mafia had Kennedy killed either as a favor to Hoffa, or because Kennedy had shared a mistress with mob boss Sam Giancana. In either case, conspiracy doctrine often states that Hoffa knew all about it, and having been stymied in his efforts to get back on top of the unions, he was threatening to reveal the truth about Kennedy’s assassination if the path wasn’t cleared for him to resume power.
This is a case where there was uncertainty about a famous event, and conspiracy was created to fill the void. Now that evidence has been produced to undermine and negate the conspiracy, some are holding on to it.
Many will now reluctantly admit that Hoffa wasn’t given a few decades with a prime location for “the NFL experience”, but such admissions are given grudgingly, because they don’t want to have to abandon a large skein of belief they’ve spent years constructing.