“The most electrifying man in sports entertainment” was dazzling NFL fans with what was behind him rather than with what he was doing or saying during the broadcast. Fans were perplexed to see a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull sitting over his left shoulder.
Eli Manning asked Johnson about the skull.
“I got a T-Rex skull. That’s Stan. As a matter of fact, so Stan was the most complete T. Rex skull ever found by a paleontologist, a young paleontologist and his name was Stan. So, this T. Rex head was named after him,” Johnson said.
“Pretty cool and bad a** isn’t it?”
The dinosaur in question was discovered over 30 years ago in South Dakota by a paleontologist named Stan Sacrison. It was fully excavated in 1992 and was housed at the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, according to National Geographic.
That was until Oct. 6, 2020, in which the Christie’s auction house sold the T-Rex for $ 31.8 million, the highest price ever paid for a fossil. The bidder was never named.
“That’s an astronomical price that borders on absurdity, based on my knowledge of the market,” paleontologist David Evans told the magazine at the time. “If this kind of money [were] invested properly, it could easily fund 15 permanent dinosaur research positions, or about 80 full field expeditions per year, in perpetuity.”
The appearance of the skull set off a firestorm on social media.
The object in question appeared to only be the skull and not the rest of the fossil, which could indicate it was just a replica sitting behind the pro wrestling legend.