The Lombardi Trophy: History of the NFL’s Super Bowl trophy

While every sport has its significant trophy and accomplishments, few trophies in sports are as iconic or recognizable as the NFL‘s Vince Lombardi Trophy presented to the Super Bowl winner. With a history nearly as old as the game, the story of the Lombardi Trophy is intertwined with the game history going back to the 60s.

Where did the Super Bowl trophy find its origin?

The history of the trophy can trace its roots back to a lunch in 1966. NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle wanted a trophy to present for the inaugural AFL-NFL Championship Game. The only company that contacted the NFL for this task was Tiffany & Co. vice president Oscar Riedener. He went on to meet with Rozelle for lunch but spent some time beforehand wanting to think of a concept.

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Riedener, a native of Switzerland, knew nothing about football. Riedener went to FAO Schwartz and bought a football that he put on his kitchen table. The next morning he grabbed a box of Cornflakes, poured them into a bowl, and stared at the football while eating. After he finished his bowl, he began to cut up the box into the base which the football resides on top of today. 

When he met with Rozelle, he sketched out the design on a cocktail napkin. Rozell liked the idea, and the design has not changed to this day.

The “World Championship Game Trophy” was presented for the first time in 1967 to Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers, who beat the Kansas City Chiefs in what was later called Super Bowl I.

What is the Lombardi Trophy made out of?

It’s no surprise with how prestigious the Super Bowl Trophy is that no expense is cut in the process.

Crafted entirely of sterling silver by Tiffany & Co. silversmiths in a Rhode Island workshop, the trophy stands 22 inches high and weighs 7 pounds. The original trophy was produced by Tiffany & Co. in New Jersey, but as of 2017, it has been made in Cumberland, Rhode Island.

They say that winning the Super Bowl Trophy is priceless. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. 

The trophy costs $50,000 to produce and takes four months and 72 hours of labor to complete.

Do players get their own Super Bowl Lombardi Trophy?

Due to the labor-intensive project to create the Lombardi Trophy, players don’t get to take one home that is an exact match.

Instead, each player on the winning team gets to take home a small replica trophy. However, those are still worth around $1,500 apiece. For the players on the winning team, they get to look forward to their Super Bowl rings. These are typically crafted by Jostens for 36 of the last 54 Super Bowls. Other designers have included Balfour and Tiffany & Co. 

The Chiefs’ rings from last year showed how extreme these could be. Their ring boasted a total of 10 and a half carats of gemstones, including 255 diamonds and 36 genuine rubies. The teams’ rings came out to around a $5 million price tag for the set, though no official price was released.

When did the Super Bowl Trophy get renamed to the Vince Lombardi Trophy?

Before the game was even called the Super Bowl, it was known as the AFL-NFL Championship. It was only four years later the NFL changed the name of the trophy.

In 1970, the league decided to change the name of the award from “World Championship Game Trophy” to the “Vince Lombardi Trophy” after his passing.

Vince Lombardi was a legendary head coach for the Green Bay Packers. He managed to capture five championship titles within nine years. In the preseason, Lombardi had a .840 winning percentage by winning 42 of his 50 games. Yet, it was the postseason where he became known as a legend. Lombardi had a winning percentage of .900 with a record of 9-1. The one loss being to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1960.

The NFL chose to honor the former coach by renaming its most prestigious award after his death.

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Tommy Garrett is a writer for Pro Football Network covering the NFL and fantasy football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

Tommy Garrett is a Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read all of Tommy’s work here, listen to him on PFN’s Fantasy Football podcast, and check out his contributions in PFN’s free fantasy newsletter. Give him a follow on Twitter: @TommyGarrettPFN.

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