By Ryan Bologna
Super Bowl rings are much different than they were decades ago — they are much bigger and more expensive than ever before. Let’s look at how and why the rings have changed over the years.
Super Bowl I
When looking at the evolution of the Super Bowl ring, you have to start with the first one. The Green Bay Packers had 0.5 carat rings made for Super Bowl I where as rings from recent teams range from 10 to 15 carats. The modern Super Bowl rings are made to be displayed, not worn. Nothing shows that more than comparing to the Packers Super Bowl I ring.
Super Bowl II
The Packers took a bit of a different approach when designing their ring for Super Bowl II. Vince Lombardi wanted to recognize the fact that the team had won three championships in a row and that is why this ring contains three diamonds.
Super Bowl V
The rings the Colts designed for Super Bowl V are notable because they are the first ring to incorporate the team logo on the face. The gemstone design with a center diamond was one of the first major changes seen in the design of a Super Bowl ring. The size is still relatively small compared to the modern ring.
Super Bowl X
The Pittsburgh Steelers rings commemorating Super Bowl X is not much different from earlier years at first glance, but there is a key development. There are two center diamonds instead of a gem logo. The proceeding rings had a similar design.
Super Bowl XV
The Raiders Super Bowl XV rings were one of the first that included a more elaborate design. Like the Steelers Super Bowl X ring, it had two center diamonds, but there are many smaller diamonds surrounding them. This ring is much more flashy than its predecessors.
Super Bowl XX
Chicago Bears legend Walter Payton’s Super Bowl XX ring went AWOL in 1996 and wasn’t recovered for several years. In 2001, a student at Purdue University found it wedged under one of his sofa cushions. #SuperBowl pic.twitter.com/QLovN7uIx2
— Mental Floss (@mental_floss) February 3, 2020
We see a return of the team logo with the Bears Super Bowl XX rings. The entire front of the ring is encrusted in diamonds, unlike the Colts Super Bowl V rings that have gemstones. The ring also has yellow gold, which draws attention to the diamond center.
Super Bowl XXX
Unsurprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys designed a bigger ring than usual after winning Super Bowl XXX. When looking at the modern Super Bowl rings, you can look back at this one when wondering when Super Bowl rings started to be more for show than being worn.
Super Bowl XXXVIII
The Patriots created one of the most flashy rings after winning Super Bowl XXXVIII. It weighed 97.8 grams in 14K white gold and included 106 diamonds, which equals 5.05 carats. It is easy to see that this ring is meant to be shown off in a display case, not worn.
Super Bowl XLII
The New York Giants Super Bowl XLII rings are notable because of the story behind the design. Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning, Amani Toomer, and Shaun O’Hara were initially set on a more classic look. That changed when Michael Strahan said he wanted a “10 table ring” which meant that when he went into a restaurant, the ring would be noticed from 10 tables away. Because of that, the Giants scrapped the original design and created a bigger, more flashy ring.
Super Bowl XLV
Coming full circle, the Packers XLV rings are radically different from the team’s original Super Bowl rings. The Super Bowl XLV rings weigh 116 grams and are made of 18K yellow gold, diamonds that total 3.35 carats. That is a stark difference from the early Super Bowl rings.
Super Bowl 50
Like many other recent Super Bowl rings, the Broncos Super Bowl 50 ring is big and flashy. It is a 10K white and yellow gold ring with 5.05 carats worth of diamonds. The only notable difference with this one is that the number 50 is on the ring. This was the only Super Bowl where the NFL opted to go with the number 50 instead of roman numerals.
Super Bowl LV
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) July 23, 2021
The Buccaneers Super Bowl LV rings are made of 15 carats of diamond and 14K white and yellow gold. What sets this ring apart from other modern designs is that it opens up and features Raymond James Stadium, the home of the Buccaneers and the place where the Super Bowl was won. As we look towards the future, we could see more designs that incorporate something like this. It allows for something to be included inside that relates to the team.
Featured Photo: DVIDS
Super Bowl Ring Photos: Wikimedia Commons User Cards84664