The New England Patriots received their cheater ringsSuper Bowl rings on Saturday in a swanky ceremony at the estate of billionaire team owner Robert Kraft. And according to the team’s official press release, they’re the biggest Super Bowl rings ever.
The Patriots and they didn’t back that claim up with an exact weight, mind you, and we all know the team has a history of playing fast and loose with the truth. But judging by the pictures, I’d say for once the Patriots might actually be telling the truth. Their new rings are absolutely ginormous.
In any case, while trying to find actual specifications about the size of Super Bowl rings over the years so as to verify the Pats’ assertion, I came across all sorts of trivia I did not know about Super Bowl rings, from who gets them to who actually foots the bill. So today I’m going to share some of that trivia with you.
Relatively speaking, the Super Bowl isn't that old. The very first one was in 1967. The World Series goes back to 1903, the NHL has been playing for the Stanley Cup since 1926, and even the NBA Finals date to 1946.
However, one of the cool things about being a relatively young championship game is that the tradition of professional athletes receiving championship rings was already firmly established. And that means there is a Super Bowl ring for every game, starting with Super Bowl I in 1967.
Of course, the rings today are not what they used to be. The Packers' first championship ring in 1967 features one diamond set in 10k gold, and the thing was not the size of a toddler's fist. It was the size of...well, a ring.
9. Super Bowl Rings Are as Old as the Super Bowl
They NFL licenses everything. They have an official uniform provider, official beer, and official car. Hell, they even have an official official makeup. (Not kidding. It's CoverGirl.) So it might surprise you to learn that the NFL does not have an official championship ring maker.
When a team wins, the owner gets to choose whoever they want to make the rings. Then they work with whoever they choose to come up with a design.
Of course, they almost all choose Jostens, who have made 31 of the 49 Super Bowl rings. However, recently a few teams (like the Seahawks and Giants) have gone with Tiffany, maker of the Vince Lombardi trophy.
8. The Teams Get to Choose Who Makes the Rings
Who pays for Super Bowl rings? The NFL!
No, just kidding. The NFL does not "pay for Super Bowl rings" per se. However, they do pay for a portion of each ring. Or rather, an increasingly small portion of up to 150 rings.
The league contributes $5,000-$7,000 for each ring, depending on the ever-fluctuating price of gold and diamonds, with a limit of 150 rings per team. That works out to a total contribution somewhere between $750,000-$1.05 million...plus another $375,000 or so for the losing team so they can get conference championship rings.
Of course, as you probably could guess, Super Bowl today cost a lot more than $5,000-$7,000. Teams rarely say how much their rings actually cost, but give the size and price of gold, most are in the $40,000-$60,000 rang. And it's the owners who pay the difference.
6. The NFL Pays for a Portion of the Rings
When it comes to Super Bowl rings (and championship rings in general, regardless of the sport) team owners are like Oprah. YOU get a ring! And YOU get a ring. And YOU get a ring!
Seriously, almost everybody who works for the team gets a ring. That generally includes players on the 53-man roster, coaches, players on the practice some (sometimes), front-office staffers, public relations executives, executive assistants. Some teams even give rings to family members.
That being said, the rings they give to office staffers and the like are usually much smaller and less blingy than the rings the players and coaches get. But hey, beggers can't be choosers, right?
5. Everybody Gets a Ring!
As I mentioned at the outset, the Patriots say their Super Bowl 49 ring is biggest ever. And unfortunately, there is no database of Super Bowl championship ring stats. We just don't have specs for every ring ever.
We do have some specs, though, because there's always some guy on every Super Bowl team who goes broke and sells his ring to a memorabilia dealer. By the early 2000s, rings were generally coming in at about 60-70 grams. The Pats then raised the ante with their rings for Super Bowl 38, which came in at a hefty 100 grams. Then they raised the ante again with their Super Bowl 39 rings, which were 110 grams.
We also know some Steelers were then upset with their Super Bowl 40 rings, which were "only" 53 grams and apparently made Steelers players the butt of jokes around the league. Thus, when Steelers won Super Bowl 43, the owners made up for it rings that weight in at 100 grams.
As for the Pats' Super Bowl 49 rings, while we don't know the actual weight just yet, we do have photos like the one you see here, which shows Jonathan Casillias wearing his Super Bowl 49 ring right next to his Super Bowl 44. So I'm going to say the Pats weren't lying. Their new rings almost certainly are the biggest Super Bowl rings of all time.
4. The Biggest Ever
Again, we don't have a Super Bowl ring database with stats on every ring. But here's what we do know about ring bling.
The Patriots new ring features 205 diamonds, which makes their 2003 ring (103 diamonds) and 2004 ring (124) look like cheap dollar-store jewelry.
However, the Pats aren't alone in the 200-club. The Seahawks ring has 200 gemstones and 183 diamonds, while the Ravens ring from Super Bowl 37 has what is surely the most total gems all-time. It features a whopping 243 round cut diamonds, plus and amethyst and two fat marquise diamonds.
Eat it Robert Kraft.
3. The Blingiest Ever
Now seems like a good time to talk about the first ring again. As already mentioned, if featured just one diamond set in 10k gold.
The cost in 1967? A mere $750. Even adjusted for inflation, that's just $5,312.85 in 2015 dollars. So basically, it was a ring for poor people.
2. The First Ever
The Packers' first ever Super Bowl ring was pretty plain. Their most recent one? Not plain.
After the Packers won Super Bowl 45 in 2011, they became the first ever team to go with platinum instead of gold.
Now, it just so happens that, right now, the price of gold is actually higher than the price of platinum. But this is extremely rare. Most of the time, platinum is more expensive than gold. So when the Packers went platinum, it was pretty extravagant. And chances are their Super Bowl 45 rings were the most expensive of all-time when adjusted for inflation.