Super Bowl Ring: History and Value
Diamonds are not simply just a girl's best friend.
In the sporting world, they are a sign of universal success. No matter the sport or the championship won, the end result is always the same -- that massive and sparkly ring.
In my honest opinion, the NHL has the best championship trophy (the Stanley Cup). However, as is hockey culture, the rings aren't flashy enough to warrant serious fandom. The NFL, on the other hand, now this is a league where the Super Bowl rings are worth talking about. This is a league where players are (somewhat) fashion conscious and where the more bling you are rocking the "higher profile" you pose. So, it should come as no surprise to you that when an NFL team ends their grueling journey by hoisting the Lombardi Trophy on Super Bowl Sunday, the reward - asides from the Super Bowl cash bonus - will be flashy and bigger than those who claimed them the year before.
From the Beginning
The legend of the Super Bowl ring dates all the way back to legendary coach, Vince Lombardi. While the NFL was not the first professional league to award championship rings to the winning franchise, Lombardi took it upon himself to ensure that his team would receive the inaugural set of Super Bowl rings after successfully winning Super Bowl I against the Kansas City Chiefs. Lombardi was beyond thrilled about the thought of customizing his own personal Super Ring, so much so, that in addition to the NFL logo on the left side of the ring, he had Jostens - the custom Jewelers company - put a crown from his family's coat of arms on the right side along with the phrase Harmony, Courage, Valor, and a full-cut, 1.0-point diamond in the center.
Just like with every profession in the world, there is competition amongst jewelers for the right to be the company to design the ring for that year's Super Bowl Champion.
Jostens is by far the most popular jeweler selection as they have helped the last three Super Bowl winners create the ring that best portrays their success. Two seasons ago, when New England managed the largest Super Bowl comeback in Super Bowl history, they trusted Jostens to deliver them a piece that would best replicate their journey. Jostens used 283 diamonds throughout the entire ring, which is significant because if you remember correctly, the Patriots were down 28-3 to the Falcons midway through the third quarter.
So, who pays for these rings? Great question. The NFL dishes out $5,000 per ring up to 150 rings. Any additional costs or rings are then incurred by the team itself, which still leads to a pretty hefty price tag. It's been reported that when the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2015, the cost per ring rang upwards of $36,500 each, which makes them the most expensive rings Jostens has ever produced.
Super Bowl Ring Hijinx
When a franchise wins a title in any sport, it's not all that uncommon for the fan base to legitimately believe they had a helping hand in achieving the ultimate goal. Because of that, replica Super Bowl rings are available throughout team shops and online at places such as eBay or Amazon.
However, once in a while you may stumble upon the real deal. It's been said that a former player by the name of Dave Meggett is thought to have placed his ring for sale on eBay. Conversely, two Super Bowl rings from the 1970 Pittsburgh Steelers sold on eBay for $69,000 a piece in 2008. Aside from needing the cold hard cash that these rings would fetch on the market, Je'Rod Cherry raffled his Super Bowl XXXVI ring off in November 2008 with the proceeds going to help children in Africa and Asia.
From what I understand, the most expensive and most valuable Super Bowl ring to date is that of Lawrence Taylor. in 2012, LT's son sold his father's Super Bowl ring from 1990 for more than $250,000. This brings up numerous questions, like how much would Brady's fifth ring or possibly even sixth ring fetch on the open market?
There was even an incident involving Patriots owner Robert Kraft and the Russian president Vladimir Putin. It is reported that Putin had mistakenly taken the Super Bowl ring as Kraft was showing it to him. Putin thought Kraft's gesture was that of gifting it to him, which if you see the pictures and the look on Kraft's face was not the case. That Super Bowl ring can now be found amongst other rings on display at the Kremlin.
Super Bowl Ring Tidbits
Did you know that only two people in NFL history can stake claim to seven Super Bowl rings? The first should come as no real surprise. Bill Belichick has five Super Bowl rings as head coach of the Patriots and an additional two as defensive coordinator of the New York Giants. The other person is Neal Dahlen, who earned five with the San Francisco 49ers (staff and player personnel) and two as the General Manager of the Denver Broncos.
Tom Brady and Charles Haley are the only two players in NFL history to have won five Super Bowls as players. Brady is obviously vying for his sixth this season, which would leave him in a class of his own. Haley won two of his five rings as a linebacker for the 49ers and then the remaining three as a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys.
And lastly, if you consistently sit at home and marvel at these athletic freaks of nature, you've probably wondered obscure things such as how much they eat or what size shoe they wear or as related to this topic, their ring size, we've got that answer for you. The average Super Bowl ring size is around 13 or 14. The largest ring on file to date belongs to none other than William "Refrigerator" Perry with a size 23.
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