SUPER BOWL LVI
How much do the Super Bowl rings cost? What are they made of?
When it comes to the sports world’s silverware, there are few that are more desirable than the NFL’s supreme fashion statement: a Super Bowl ring
Trophies are big, bulky things: the Stanley Cup, the Vince Lombardi Trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy. Obviously costly objets d’art, in both the materials that they are made of as well as in the struggle to obtain one, all of these lusted-after prizes have one obvious drawback. They are singular, one-off trophies and the players will never possess them personally. No individual directly involved in procuring one will be able to display it in their home, invite friends to admire it, or even touch it after the initial euphoric moment on the field.
This is perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic that makes a Super Bowl ring so desirable. Unlike a trophy that will sit in the front office under lock and key, a Super Bowl ring is an individual memento of the event that the players can own personally, can wear out in town (if they are brave/crazy enough), and can keep in their own home. A mini-trophy for everyone who took part. Football is, after all, a team sport.
How valuable are they?
The blingiest of bling, Super Bowl rings are typically made of yellow or rose gold and encrusted with diamonds. They usually include the team name, team logo, the phrase "World Champions", and the Super Bowl number indicated in Roman numerals. Each ring can be customized with the player's name and uniform number.
More than two thirds of the Super Bowl rings have been manufactured by memorabilia giant Jostens, although Balfour and Tiffany’s & Co. have competed and won the contract in past years. Presented in an elegant display case, these are not simple pieces of metal. The ring awarded to the Kansas City Chiefs after Super Bowl LIV, for example, has 3.3 carats worth of diamonds and 5.95 carts of rubies for a total gem carat weight of 10.85!
The NFL contributes from $5,000 to $7,000 per ring for up to 150 rings per team, with any additional costs being borne by the team. The final cost usually comes in at between $30k and $50k per ring.
Several high-profile players have sold their rings, either through necessity or for charity. Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, sold his Super Bowl LI ring for just over a million dollars, with all the proceeds going to nonprofits that provide meals to the needy. A lot of the value depends on who the original owner was. Lawrence Taylor sold his Super Bowl XXV ring for a shade over $230k, and if Tom Brady decided to sell any of his, they would certainly be worth more than, say, Jimmy Garoppolo’s.
Yes, Jimmy Garoppolo has a Super Bowl ring. In fact, he has two. He was the backup quarterback in New England for Super Bowls XLIX and LI. Bringing up our next point: who gets a ring? Well, everybody. Or more accurately, whoever the owner wants to have a ring. There are up to 150 made for the players, coaches, etc. but teams will also make rings of a lower value, called “B” and “C” rings to go to office staff, personnel, sometimes even cheerleaders. It is entirely up to the owner’s discretion.
You expect the winning team to get a ring, but the fact is that both teams get rings. The Super Bowl champs will have one that says Super Bowl LVI, but the losing team will get one that says Conference Champions. The rings will be the same apart from the wording. And all of the previous applies to those rings as well: the owner can hand them out to anyone that they see fit.
People that you might not suspect have a Super Bowl ring
When the New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl XLIV in 2010, owner Tom Benson gave an official ring to former special teams player Steve Gleason who had already retired after being diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). The team then gave one of their rings to a raffle to raise money for those affected by the Gulf oil spill, raising $1.4 million for local charities.
When the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 (yes, it is the only Super Bowl not written in roman numerals) in 2016, the owners gave official Super Bowl rings to the cheerleaders, the trainers and the team's beat reporter.
Before she was Lois Lane, Teri Hatcher was a San Francisco 49ers cheerleader. Even though she had already moved into acting, her relationship with the team and the owners meant that when they won Super Bowl XXIX in 1995, she was awarded a Super Bowl ring.