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The Super Bowl ring is an award in the National Football League given to the winners of the league's annual championship game, the Super Bowl. Since only one Vince Lombardi Trophy is awarded to the team (ownership) itself, the Super Bowl ring offers a collectable memento for the actual players and team members to keep for themselves to symbolize their victory.
In recent years rings are also awarded to members of the team who wins the AFC or NFC championship since they are the winners of the conference, even though they may not necessarily follow it up with a win in the Super Bowl. The NFL also provides postseason pay to all players as long as they've spent at least three games on their team's active or inactive list; the playoff bonus money is egalitarian within a team among starters, backups, and injured players.
These rings are typically made of yellow or rose gold with diamonds. They usually include the team name, team logo, the phrase "World Champions", and the Super Bowl number (usually indicated in Roman numerals). Many rings feature diamonds in the shape of the Vince Lombardi Trophy or a football, to illustrate the number of Super Bowls that the franchise has won. Also, the rings are customized with the player's name and uniform number. The NFL contributes up to $5,000 per ring for up to 150 rings for the winning team; any additional costs are borne by the team. Most rings are manufactured by memorabilia company Jostens.
The winning team can typically present rings to whomever they choose, including usually, but not limited to: players (active roster or injured), coaches, trainers, executives, personnel, and general staff. Some teams have given rings to former players and coaches that were on the team at some point during the season, despite not having been on the winning roster for the Super Bowl itself. Sometimes a team will give rings to fans as part of a charity raffle. Teams can distribute any number of rings. A recent trend over the last 15-20 years has been lesser rings awarded to front office staff. These are commonly called "B" and "C" level rings and are smaller and contain fewer diamonds or contain faux diamonds. The first instance of this was the RedskinsSuper Bowl XVII ring when many in the front office received rings that were not solid gold and contained cubic zirconia stones (which resemble diamonds). When Tampa Bay won Super Bowl XXXVII, the players and coaches received rings with a diamond-centered Lombardi trophy. Some staff received rings with a metal Lombardi trophy and real diamonds surrounding the trophy and the "C" level ring did not contain any diamonds.
Replicas of the rings for various years are popular collectibles, along with genuine rings.Dave Meggett is known to have placed his ring for sale on eBay. Two Super Bowl rings from the 1970 Steelers sold on eBay for over $69,000 apiece in mid-2008.Patriots safety Je'Rod Cherry raffled his ring from Super Bowl XXXVI in November 2008 to benefit several charities working to help children in Africa and Asia. Tight end Shannon Sharpe, meanwhile, gave his first Super Bowl ring to his brother Sterling, who had his career cut short by injury.
In 2011, a Super Bowl ring belonging to Steve Wright, a lineman for the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s, sold for over $73,000 at auction. Three Super Bowl rings belonging to former Raiders' punterRay Guy brought over $96,000 at auction. In 2012, Lawrence Taylor's son sold his father's Super Bowl ring from 1990 for more than $250,000.
In 2005, a minor international incident was caused when it was reported that Russian PresidentVladimir Putin had taken a Super Bowl ring from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Kraft quickly issued a statement saying that he had given Putin the ring out of "respect and admiration" he had for the Russian people and Putin's leadership. Kraft later said his earlier statement was not true, and had been issued under pressure from the White House. The ring is on display at the Kremlin, along with other "gifts".
Josh McDaniels has won six with the New England Patriots his first as personnel assistant, second as defensive coaching assistant, third as quarterbacks coach and his fourth, fifth, and sixth as offensive coordinator.
Willie Davis Won all four rings with Green Bay Packers: two as a player, one as a member of the team's board of directors, and one as an emeritus director. He is the only person to possess all four of Green Bay's Super Bowl rings. Davis also won rings as a member of the 1961, 1962 and 1965 NFL Championship Green Bay Packer teams, bringing his total championship ring count to seven, with the first three having been awarded prior to the creation of the Super Bowl.