by Kasey Caminiti | February 3, 2017 11:00 am
Maybe you’re a diehard Seahawks or Patriots fan, or maybe you’re mainly there for the buffalo wings. Regardless of the reasoning behind your attendance at a Super Bowl party this Sunday, you should be ready with some game-related information to contribute to the conversation. #Deflategate is both a contentious subject and so five minutes ago—why not drop some knowledge on football’s most celebratory moment? Here’s everything you need to know about Tiffany & Co.’s Super Bowl trophy.
Like any great design moment, it started with a sketch: Not long after the merger of the National Football League and American Football League in 1966 (think of them as the precursors to the NFC and AFC), Tiffany & Co. Vice President Oscar Riedener got together for lunch with Pete Rozelle, the first commissioner of the newly created NFL, to discuss the design of a trophy to be awarded for the “world-championship” game created as a result of the merger. Riedener sketched the original trophy, which has not changed in size or design, on a cocktail napkin.
Just the stats: Crafted entirely of sterling silver by Tiffany & Co. silversmiths in a Rhode Island workshop, the trophy stands 22 inches high and weighs 7 lbs.
One super debut: The first trophy was awarded to the world-champion Green Bay Packers on January 15, 1967; the Packers captured the trophy again the following year.
No Deflategate here: The trophy’s design features a three-sided concave pedestal topped by a regulation-size football (we’re assuming at the properly inflated PSI). The football is also fixed in a kicking position.
Name game: Between 1967 and 1970 the trophy was engraved with “World Professional Football Championship.” In 1971 it was rechristened the Vince Lombardi Trophy to honor the legendary Green Bay Packers coach, who had passed away the previous September. Fittingly, among Lombardi’s most famous quotes is, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”
Playing for keeps: Unlike hockey’s Stanley Cup, which is passed to the winning team each season, each winning Super Bowl team gets to keep its own Vince Lombardi trophy.
An AWOL trophy: This Sunday marks the 49th Super Bowl, but Tiffany & Co. has actually crafted 50 trophies. The Baltimore Colts captured the Vince Lombardi Trophy for Super Bowl V in 1971; owner Carroll Rosenbloom traded the Colts for the Rams in 1972, but in what’s now considered a rather sneaky move, he finagled to get the trophy back into his hands a few years later for a Super Bowl party, and he never returned it. Rather than get in the middle of an argument, Rozelle decreed that a replica of the trophy should be made and given to Baltimore. When the Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984—known as the infamous “Midnight Move”—the city of Baltimore was allowed to keep the replica trophy as part of its legal settlement with the team. That trophy now resides in the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
Finishing touch: During the victory ceremony, you’ll notice that the statue is engraved only with “Vince Lombardi Trophy” and the NFL shield (other than the name, this is the only element that’s changed as the NFL has evolved its logo). Upon completion of the ceremony, the trophy is returned to the Tiffany & Co. workshop where it’s engraved with the winning team’s name and “Super Bowl [Roman numeral] Champions.”
Winning tradition: Tiffany & Co. boasts a long history of crafting championship trophies. The first created by the house’s silversmiths dates back to 1860, a trophy for a Kentucky horse-racing association that ultimately transitioned into the award for the Preakness Stakes; today it remains the oldest continuously contested trophy in the U.S. Tiffany & Co. also crafts the trophies for the Super Bowl MVP (known as the Pete Rozelle trophy), as well as baseball’s World Series trophy, basketball’s NBA and WNBA trophies, the silver trays awarded to the winners of the New York City Marathon and the pair of silver cups won by the male and female champions of the U.S. Open.
Who owns the most trophies? If the New England Patriots win Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIX, they still won’t rank at the top of the winners’ list. That honor goes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have captured six Super Bowl championships, followed by the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys with five each. The Patriots have thus far won the Vince Lombardi Trophy three times, while the Seattle Seahawks’ win last year is the franchise’s only championship. However, if they win this Sunday, the Seahawks will join the elite group of seven Super Bowl champions with two consecutive wins each: the Packers, the Miami Dolphins, the Steelers, the 49ers, the Cowboys, the Denver Broncos and, yes, the Patriots.
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