by Doc's Sports - 01/09/2006
The Super Bowl Trophy represents the highest achievement in professional football. Right after a Super Bowl victory, the National Football League's (NFL) Commissioner presents the winner with the Super Bowl Trophy. For football players, coaches, and fans, it is the high point of the NFL season.
Hockey's Stanley Cup is awarded season-to-season, because there is only one trophy. Not so with the Super Bowl Trophy. Tiffany & Co. crafts a new trophy every year, which the winners get to keep permanently. The trophy is designed as a regulation-sized football, mounted in a kicking position. The sterling silver football sits on a three-sided stand. Standing just over 20 inches tall and weighing about 7 pounds, it's valued at $12,500 dollars. Oscar Riedener designed the Super Bowl Trophy in 1966. He was Tiffany's Vice President of design and remembers sketching it on a napkin while in a meeting with Commissioner Pete Rozelle. It continues to be crafted at Tiffany & Co.'s silversmith shop in New Jersey, taking about 72 hours to complete. In case a trophy gets damaged during celebrations, they have a backup trophy. Since the death of Vince Lombardi in 1970, the trophy has been named the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy.
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"But I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, his greatest fulfillment of all he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious."
You might say Vincent Thomas Lombardi was born to coach. He certainly was one of the most successful coaches in the history of American football. His combined record as a coach was 105 - 35 - 6. Vince Lombardi never had a losing season as a head coach. Looking back over all his successes, it's easy to see why the Super Bowl Trophy has his name engraved on it.
In the years before the Packers won the very first Super Bowl Trophy, Coach Lombardi was a teacher. From 1939 to 1947 he taught Latin, algebra, chemistry and physics. He also coached the football, basketball and baseball teams during those eight years at Cecilia High School in Englewood, New Jersey. Becoming the head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers must have seemed easy by comparison. Later, he was coach of the Washington Redskins and added to his coaching success. Coach Lombardi's teams were known by certain offensive plays, like the Packer power sweep. Many would argue that Lombardi's coaching skills would not have brought him so much success if it wasn't for his brilliant talents as a motivator. You won't find many who would oppose having his name on the Super Bowl Trophy.
The very first Super Bowl was called the AFL - NFL Championship. Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers played the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs for the Super Bowl Trophy. This was the first televised Super Bowl game. As the story goes, both NBC and CBS were broadcasting the game. NBC missed the second-half kick-off because of an interview. The referee ordered a re-kick. Someone asked a CBS reporter to go tell Vince Lombardi (his team was leading 14-10) about the necessary second kick-off. That CBS reporter was Pat Summerall, who had apparently played for Coach Lombardi in New York. He wouldn't go near the coach to tell him! The Green Bay Packers went on to make history and win the first Super Bowl Trophy that day.
The Super Bowl Trophy can be credited with cooling off a famous heated feud. Albeit, only for a few moments and for the sake of the camera, Al Davis was the commissioner of the AFL while Pete Rozelle headed the NFL. Rozelle managed to get the two leagues to merge. The merger left Al Davis out in the cold. That was in the late 1960's - the start of the bad feelings between the two men. The Feud really got heated when Al Davis sued for the right to move his team, the Raiders, from Oakland to Los Angeles. The sports world was very aware of the men's dislike for one another.
In 1981, the Raiders won the Super Bowl. The commissioner, Pete Rozelle handed the Super Bowl Trophy over to Al Davis. People say he used both hands to give Davis the trophy so he wouldn't have to shake his enemy's hand. Davis apparently just mumbled, "Thanks very much, uh, thanks very much, Commissioner."
Imagine the stories a talking Super Bowl Trophy could tell! It would tell funny stories and sad stories. There would be tales of victory and memories of defeat. If it started to talk about losing, we'd remember the words of Coach Vince Lombardi: "We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time."