The most coveted piece of jewelry this time of year does not come from Paris Hilton’s jewelry box or Tiffany’s display window. Nope, it’s the Super Bowl ring, symbolic of victory in the National Football League’s annual overhyped, usually anti-climactic championship game.
Some players wear them. Some store them. Some have even sold them. But for the most part, it’s the only piece of jewelry guys have ever really dreamed about. Welcome to our world.
Here is a snippet of a piece done in the New York Times a while back that gives interesting details about the coveted bauble. And while we’re at it – – Go Saints!
WHO GETS THEM?: Every winning player and coach. The N.F.L. pays for up to 90 rings, and then it’s left to the team to buy more than that, or to add extra diamonds and other modifications that surpass the league’s $4,000-a-ring outlay. “Jerry Jones said it cost the Cowboys $8,000 last year,” said Jim Steeg, the league’s director of special events, referring to the Cowboys’ owner.
SIZING IT UP:This is jewelry for big, beefy men! Men with thick, often gnarled fingers! Men who fling and maul other men every Sunday for a living! The average ring size is a 13, according to Jostens, a ring-making company; that is two sizes above the average man’s ring size. But there are men AND THERE ARE MEN. For his Super Bowl XX ring in 1986, William (The Refrigerator) Perry, the enormous former Chicago Bears defensive tackle, broke the mold at a 23, a ring so large that a half-dollar coin can pass through it.
WHO MAKES THEM?: Ring makers like Balfour and Jostens, which have made 19 of the first 27. There are general design guidelines, but teams add their own touches to personalize the ring, including bromides like “Harmony, Courage and Valor” (Green Bay Packers, Super Bowl I), “Winning Edge” (Miami Dolphins, Super Bowl VII) and “Team of the ’80’s,” (San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIV).
JUST THE BASICS: The N.F.L. approves of a ring with diamonds weighing 1.2 carats at a certain clarity, but each team can vary the points and clarity to its desire. Generally, the rings have the Super Bowl and N.F.L. logotypes; the words “World Champion”; a depiction of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which goes to the Super Bowl victor, and the player’s name and number and the team name.
LIZ TAYLOR MAY NOT HAVE ONE, BUT . . . Showy? Extravagant? Ostentatious? The Super Bowl ring is all these things. The San Francisco 49ers’ Super Bowl XXIV ring boasts three .35-carat marquis-cut diamonds and one three-quarters of a carat diamond set into a football-shaped white gold insert, surrounded by smaller diamonds. The ring celebrates the 49ers’ four Super Bowl victories, and features four tiny Lombardi trophies, a depiction of the Golden Gate Bridge, the player’s name and the team’s 17-2 record.
The Bears’ ring was quite a piece of work, featuring a half-carat diamond surrounded by 13 smaller diamonds in the shape of a “C,” bordered by 26 smaller diamonds. And lest we forget, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ ring for Super Bowl XIII showed a Lombardi Trophy rising out of the Orange Bowl, where the game was played, and the Miami skyline in the background.
LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT: Terry Bradshaw owns four of them from quarterbacking the Pittsburgh Steelers but never dons a single one. “I don’t wear it,” said Mr. Bradshaw, the irrepressible former CBS football studio show analyst who just signed on for the same role with the Fox Network. “Man, it’s made of diamonds!”