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Monday, January 30, 2017

Tiffany’s ‘Priceless’ Super Bowl Trophy

Since the first Super Bowl in 1967, even before it was known as the Super Bowl, Tiffany & Co. has designed and created the trophy that represents American professional football’s highest honor.

The design is simple, sleek and timeless. A regulation-size football sits angled on a stylized elongated and concaved three-sided kicking tee. The trophy stands 22 inches high and is made entirely of seven pounds of silver. This design has remained consistent during that the 51-year history of the game.

The trophy’s intrinsic value based on the spot price of sterling silver is approximately $1,617. However, Tiffany values the trophy as “priceless.” When you consider that the Super Bowl is the number one sporting event in the U.S. and the NFL is the number one sports league in the U.S., it would seem that Tiffany’s valuation is highly accurate.

As the legend goes Oscar Riedener, former Tiffany & Co. VP and head of design, sketched the trophy’s basic design on a napkin during a 1966 meeting with then NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle. The trophy was first presented January 15, 1967, to the Green Bay Packers in what was then referred as the “AFL-NFL World Championship Game,” retroactively named Super Bowl I. It was inscribed with the words, “World Professional Football Championship.”

The Super Bowl name wasn’t officially used until Super Bowl III in 1969. The game, played on January 12 marked the first time the championship team from the American Football League (an upstart league that competed with the NFL) defeated the champion from the NFL in what is regarded as one of the greatest upsets in American sports history. The New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts 16–7. A year later the two leagues finalized their merger first announced in 1966 and launched the NFL into the modern era.

In 1970 the trophy was renamed the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the death of legendary Green Bay Packers coach, the winner of the first two Super Bowls.

While the design is the same, unlike many sports trophies it is created each year, currently at Tiffany’s workshop in Cumberland, R.I., according to the luxury jeweler. Master artisans employ age-old silversmithing techniques—which include spinning, chasing, hand engraving and polishing—requiring 72 man hours to complete.

After the field ceremony, the trophy will be returned to Tiffany’s workshop where the name of the winning team will be hand engraved.

Tiffany & Co. also creates the Pete Rozelle Trophy, which is presented annually to the Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl by the National Football League; The Lamar Hunt Trophy, presented to the champion of the American Football Conference; and The George S. Halas Trophy, presented to the champion of the National Football Conference.  

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