Beyond the eternal glory that comes with winning the Super Bowl – only 19 of the 32 franchises have ever hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy under the bright lights as the confetti falls – players, coaches, front office personnel, owners, and other selected staff from the winning side will end up walking away with some rather ornate, and pricey, jewelry. These rings serve as a reminder of the blood, sweat, and tears that are shed over an NFL regular season, and the added challenge of navigating a one-and-done postseason in pursuit of immortality in America’s most popular sport.
Which NFL teams and players have the most rings? What are some of the best and worst looking rings? Read on to learn more.
Bling & Things
Jostens – the company typically associated with high school class rings and yearbooks – crafted the first NFL championship ring to recognize the Green Bay Packers victory over the Kansas City Chiefs (35-10) in 1967. Since then, they’ve had the honor of producing 32 out of the 50 rings awarded to the winning franchises of football’s biggest game.
While 13 of the 32 franchises have never won the Big Game, several individuals have earned multiple rings – a few who even have enough for their second hand. Neal Dahlen collected the most rings during his time in the NFL, earning seven championships with two teams, the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos. His work in front office and administrative roles allowed Dahlen to earn an honor that no other player, coach, staff member, executive, or owner can claim.
There are a few people who are close behind Dahlen, however, and hope to share the spotlight with him in 2017. Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots, currently has six rings – two from his time as a defensive coordinator for Bill Parcells’ New York Giants and four from his time as head coach of the Patriots – and has No. 7 in sight. Belichick will even need to schedule a service for his boat if the Patriots win again. The coach renames his boat, currently called “Six Rings,” after each championship victory.
Several members of the Steelers organization have earned six rings, but no player has earned more than Charles Haley, who has five. Haley won his rings with the San Francisco 49ers in 1989, with a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, 1990, by besting the Denver Broncos, and with the Dallas Cowboys in 1993 and 1994, defeating the Buffalo Bills in back-to-back seasons, and in 1996 when America’s Team vanquished the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Diamonds and Championships Are Forever
You can see how the appearance of these NFL championship rings has changed over time. From the first ring awarded to the Green Bay Packers – made of yellow gold and a solitaire diamond over a globe to recognize them as world champions – to the most recent awarded to the Denver Broncos (using orange stones to enhance the team’s mascot and the image of three Lombardi Trophies in the background), each ring tells a story about the franchise receiving it.
The number of diamonds used, the colored stones picked for mascot replication, and the use of white gold or alternative metals have all taken hold in the more modern ring creation process, but every ring still serves as a beautiful reminder of the year that team reached the top of the mountain.
Take the ring awarded to the Pittsburgh Steelers after their victory over the Arizona Cardinals in the 2008-09 season. The organization’s sixth ring opted for setting six diamonds (instead of multiple Lombardi Trophies) around the team’s logo. Oh, the struggle of being a team with an institutional problem of winning champions!
Has your team won it all? If they have won multiple championships, how have their rings changed over time?
To the Victor Go the Stones
Is your team looking to earn its first Vince Lombardi Trophy and appointment with Jostens for a 53-man roster this year? Or are you looking to volunteer to help Coach Belichick repaint his boat? Whoever you’re rooting for, pick up the best officially licensed merchandise and apparel from Fanatics.com. Sorry, NFL championship rings are not sold to the public.