Since I walked away with two championship rings in college, I have a soft spot in my heart for big, gaudy, diamond-encrusted, knuckle behemoths that no person in their right mind would wear in public.
Sports athletes deservedly don’t have the best reputation in our culture right now. There’s no way I could write that an oversize ring has significant meaning to a bunch of multimillionaires who just happened to beat some other multimillionaires at a game that can be played by children across the globe and retain any kind of credibility.
However, the players aren’t the only ones who get cool rings. On professional and amateur teams, there’s a support staff that gets rewarded for doing laundry, tending to injuries real and imagined, producing practice and game film, dealing with the media—even making peanut and butter and jelly sandwiches. (I defy anyone to make one faster or tastier than me.)
So in the spirit of praising those who wash hundreds of jockstraps a year—as well as the companies that design and manufacture the jewelry that ends up on the well-worn finger of a crotchety equipment manager or the eBay page of a broke player—here are some fun facts about Super Bowl rings from the last 46 years. I decided to let editorial assistant Stephanie Schaefer join in the fun despite the fact that she’s a New England Patriots fan.
6 Super Facts About Super Bowl Rings
- Jostens (a company that likely made your high school class ring) created the first Super Bowl championship ring with Vince Lombardi in 1967.
- At size 25, William “The Refrigerator” Perry—who received a ring in Super Bowl XX playing for the Chicago Bears—has the largest size ever for a Super Bowl ring.
The ring company is not allowed to make any replicas under any circumstances unless requested by the team itself. Even then, the design cannot be the exact same.
- The NFL will cover up to $5,000 of each of the rings value up to 150 rings for each team. Either the team or manufacturer covers the remaining amount.
- Neal Dahlen has the most Super Bowl rings with seven: five with the San Francisco 49ers (staff and player personnel) and two with the Denver Broncos (general manager). With five rings, Charles Haley is the most decorated player; he has three rings with the 49ers and two with the Dallas Cowboys.
- A Super Bowl ring that was lost for 40 years was returned to New York Jets center John Schmitt in 2011.
Dan & Steph’s Favorite Super Bowl Rings
The legacy of Bill Belichick & Co. is as lasting and timeless as a diamond. Actually, 124 diamonds. This ring from 2005 has the most diamonds out of all 46 rings, which is only fitting for a sparkling team like the Pats. —Stephanie Schaefer
18–1! 18–1! Sorry, Steph, I know it’s a sore subject that the New York Giants ruined the New England Patriots’ perfect season in 2007. But even you can appreciate Tiffany & Co. making a Super Bowl ring for its hometown team. One great blue to another. —Daniel Ford
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For more fun facts on Super Bowl rings, check out: sports.espn.go.com/nfl/rings.
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