DECYFR’D: Super Bowl Rings

DECYFR’D: Super Bowl Rings

Yesterday, the Kansas City Chiefs received their Super Bowl LVII rings, marking the team’s 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in February.

The Chiefs’ championship rings feature 609 diamonds, 35 genuine rubies, 16 baguette diamonds, and four marquise diamonds, in a design packed with references to Kansas City’s 2022 season and subsequent Super Bowl victory. The top of the ring transforms into a pendant when removed, and the inside contains a yellow gold replica of Arrowhead Stadium, complete with a quote from the team’s founder, Lamar Hunt, which reads: “Arrowhead Stadium is my favorite place on earth.”

The top of the ring displays three Lombardi Trophies filled with diamonds. The three marquise-cut diamonds at the top of the trophies represent each of the franchise’s Super Bowl victories, and the 16 baguette diamonds in the base mark the 16 different players who scored a touchdown in the regular season. The Chiefs’ logo on the ring’s face contains 50 diamonds, as the team has called Arrowhead Stadium its home for 50 years, and 16 rubies for the franchise’s 16 division titles. The ring’s top is surrounded by 38 diamonds, one for each point scored against the Eagles, and sits on a border of 54 diamonds – referencing the combined deficits the Chiefs overcame in their last two Super Bowl victories.

“It’s unique,” said the Chiefs’ superstar tight end, Travis Kelce.

“It’s one-of-one. There’s no championship ring like it.”

Before the start of every new NFL season, the reigning Super Bowl champions collect diamond-filled rings to commemorate their victory in American football’s showpiece game from earlier in the year. Since the organisations are presented with, and keep, the Lombardi Trophy each year, Super Bowl rings are handed out as the NFL’s version of a winner’s medal.

Additionally, these rings aren’t just awarded to the players that featured in the Super Bowl win – as every player on the 53-man roster collects a piece of jewellery custom-made with their jersey number and name.

Rings are also presented to practice squad players, coaches, executives and team personnel – essentially anyone the franchise felt contributed to the Super Bowl-winning season. The NFL provides 150 rings for each winning team, but teams can also elect to produce more if they choose to.

The NFL has awarded rings to the Super Bowl champions since the very first AFL-NFL World Championship Game in 1967 – won by the Green Bay Packers – and those rings were made by Jostens. However, Balfour, Tiffany & Co. and Herff Jones have also produced winners’ rings throughout the years.

The jewellery has evolved over time, as the Packers’ ring featured a solitary one-carat diamond placed on top of a globe to represent the fact the team were ‘World Champions’ – whereas the ring Kansas City had made after their victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV displays 10-and-a-half carats of gemstones (including 255 diamonds and 36 genuine rubies) and the Chiefs logo in the centre of the ring is filled with 60 diamonds, as 2019 was the franchise’s 60th season.

Franchises have always had an input in the ring’s design, meaning they include references to the team’s Super Bowl victory, and their performances in the regular season and playoffs. 

For example, the ring awarded to the Philadelphia Eagles after they defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII features 52 pavé set diamonds, in the shape of the Eagles’ team logo, as the franchise won the 52nd Super Bowl. The Lombardi Trophy on the ring, behind the Eagles logo, is filled with 16 diamonds, which is a nod to Philadelphia’s 16 wins during the 2017 regular season and playoffs. 13 diamonds feature at the base of the trophy as the team won 13 regular season games, and the three diamonds at the top of the trophy represent their three postseason victories. The larger, marquise-cut diamond at the very top of the trophy signifies Philadelphia won their first-ever Super Bowl. It also contains 127 diamonds on the bezel in a tribute to the famous ‘Philly Special’ – as the jersey numbers of the players involved in the iconic play used in the Super Bowl (Corey Clement, Trey Burton and Nick Foles) all add up to 127.

The most expensive Super Bowl ring ever sold belonged to a family member of former Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady. The ring, made to commemorate New England’s victory in Super Bowl LI and that features the word ‘Brady’ on one side, sold for $344,927 in 2018 – breaking the previous record set by former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who sold his Super Bowl XXV ring for $230,401 in 2012.

New England’s head coach, Bill Belichick, owns the most Super Bowl rings in NFL history, with eight in total. Belichick won six with the Patriots and two as the Giants’ defensive coordinator. 

The Chiefs have until September, when the 2023 NFL season kicks off, to admire their brand new pieces of jewellery before they begin their title defence – so this time next year, will there be a different team enjoying their ring ceremony, or will there be another held in Kansas City?

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