Super Bowl Rings: Breaking Down Championship Rings over 20 Years

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2013

Super Bowl Rings: Breaking Down Championship Rings over 20 Years

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    Super Bowl XLVII is upon us as the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers compete for the biggest prize in professional sports—the Lombardi Trophy and a customized Super Bowl ring. 

    Over the years, Super Bowl rings have changed in design drastically. Each year the winning teams receive customized rings that are given out to each member of the team and staff. 

    As the NFL has evolved into America's No. 1 sport, the personalized rings have continued to become flashier and more expensive. 

    In the following slideshow we will chronicle the evolution of the Super Bowl ring over the past 20 years,and briefly breakdown how each was won. 

    Let's take a look. 

Super Bowl XXVII: Dallas Cowboys (1993)

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    Super Bowl XXVII featured Jim Kelly's Buffalo Bills and Troy Aikman's Dallas Cowboys in front of over 98,000 attendees in Pasadena. 

    The fans were treated to an ugly game. 

    Aikman, the MVP, and his team were in control the entire game, winning by a wide margin, 52-17. Aikman threw four touchdowns in the contest, two to receiver Michael Irvin. 

    The ring itself was overly loaded with diamonds, but one of the more modern designs. It also would not be the last time the Cowboys would receive a dazzling ring in the decade. 

Super Bowl XXVIII: Dallas Cowboys (1994)

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    The next year featured two similar opponents, and one familiar outcome to boot. 

    The Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys would face each other once again, this time the result was a much more competitive contest. 

    This time it was the running game that carried the Cowboys to victory, as Super Bowl MVP Emmitt Smith rushed for two touchdowns in the team's 30-13 victory. 

    Despite having what most considered to be an overly-diamond studded ring the year before, Dallas managed to out-do itself this time with even more precious jewels. 

Super Bowl XXIX: San Francisco 49ers (1995)

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    In 1995 the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers squared-off in what would be a game most knew the result of coming into the contest. 

    Going into the game the 49ers were favored by 18.5 points. San Francisco would make good on that claim, winning by 23 points, 49-26. 

    Steve Young won Super Bowl MVP that year, as he threw five touchdowns, three to one of the all time greats in receiver Jerry Rice. 

    The ring marked a special occasion for the franchise, as it was the fifth Super Bowl victory in its history. The flashy ring made sure everyone knew. 

Super Bowl XXX: Dallas Cowboys (1996)

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    For the third time in four years the Dallas Cowboys were featured on the NFL's biggest stage, and unsurprisingly, Dallas would walk away the victors once more. 

    This time the opponent was another historic franchise in the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dallas would win behind a solid defensive effort, 27-17. 

    Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith took a backseat to the defense, as cornerback Larry Brown took home the MVP award. 

    Dallas once again showed off its creativity and affinity for diamonds with another unique design that helped shape how rings would be crafted for years to come. 

Super Bowl XXXI: Green Bay Packers (1997)

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    In Super Bowl XXXI, Brett Favre and Drew Bledsoe ran the show for the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots respectively. Both were great quarterbacks, but a special teams player stole the show. 

    Desmond Howard took home the MVP award after the game for setting records while returning kicks and punts. He racked up 244 all-purpose yards and set a Super Bowl record when he returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. 

    The Packers would go on to win, 35-21. Green Bay chose to keep it simple with its ring, or as simple as a diamond-studded logo can be. 

Super Bowl XXXII: Denver Broncos (1998)

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    The Green Bay Packers made it to the big game for a second year in a row behind the arm of quarterback Brett Favre, but were denied a repeat tour by the Denver Broncos. 

    Broncos running back Terrell Davis rumbled his way for three touchdowns on 157 yards despite missing most of the second quarter with migraines. He scored the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth and was awarded the Super Bowl MVP trophy for his amazing effort. 

    The last-second score gave the Broncos a 31-24 victory over the Packers. 

    Denver followed a similar pattern to the Packers from the year before with the ring design. Keeping it simple was the name of the game, with the Broncos' logo covered in diamonds. 

Super Bowl XXXIII: Denver Broncos (1999)

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    The Denver Broncos also managed to make it to the Super Bowl twice in a row, but unlike the Green Bay Packers, Denver would win both contests. 

    This time Denver was carried by quarterback John Elway, who would go on to win the Super Bowl MVP award. He put together a terrific game, throwing for 336 yards and one touchdown, also adding a rushing touchdown to his stat line. 

    Denver would end up blowing out the Atlanta Falcons, 34-19. The franchise kept it simple with the ring, using the exact logo and idea from the year before. The only difference this time was the logo appeared twice, signifying the back-to-back championships. 

Super Bowl XXXIV: St. Louis Rams (2000)

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    St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner led "the greatest show on turf" to Super Bowl XXXIV, and would end up leading his team to victory in an exhilarating finish. 

    Warner was named MVP for tossing two touchdowns while directing the team to defense, but it was the final play that will be remembered forever. "The Tackle" made by Mike Jones prevented the Tennessee Titan's Kevin Dyson from extending and scoring a touchdown that would have sent the game to overtime. 

    Instead, the Rams escaped with a 23-16 victory and the Titans went home wondering what could have been. 

    St. Louis chose to break the mold and not place its logo on the front of the ring, but upped the ante in the diamond category. 

Super Bowl XXXV: Baltimore Ravens (2001)

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    The Baltimore Ravens were only favored by three points heading into Super Bowl XXXV against the New York Giants. 

    Ray Lewis and the Ravens left with a 34-7 victory. 

    Lewis, the Super Bowl MVP, led the Ravens defense to a shutout, which made the team only the second in history to do so on the NFL's biggest stage. 

    Baltimore broke the trend of diamonds only on Super Bowl rings, and was creative with the logo. Its influence would be felt on rings for the next decade. 

Super Bowl XXXVI: New England Patriots (2002)

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    The New England Patriots dynasty began in 2002 when Tom Brady and Co. entered New Orleans as 14-point underdogs to the explosive St. Louis Rams. 

    Brady was embarrassed when compared to Rams' quarterback Kurt Warner, who threw for 365 yards and a score. Brady only threw for just 145 and one score, but was still named Super Bowl MVP with fan voting implemented. 

    New England would escape with a 20-17 victory thanks to its defense, led by cornerback Ty Law. Its ring was sleek with the team's colors added in for good measure around the plethora of diamonds. 

Super Bowl XXXVII: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2003)

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    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders met in San Diego for Super Bowl XXXVII in what was an ugly offensive game for both sides. 

    Buccaneers safety Dexter Jackson was named MVP of the game after a solid effort. None of the offensive players, who typically win the award, were that outstanding. The best was running back Michael Pittman, who rushed for 124 yards. 

    Raiders receiver Jerry Rice had 77 yards and a score, but his team would fall, 48-21. 

    Tampa Bay kept it straightforward with the ring design, placing a Lombardi Trophy in the middle of an all-gold ring. 

Super Bowl XXXVIII: New England Patriots (2004)

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    Tom Brady would lead the New England Patriots back to the Super Bowl for the second time in three years to clash with the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII. 

    Brady won his second Super Bowl MVP award after the victory—and this time he actually deserved it as he threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns. 

    The Panthers were no slouch either, as both teams exploded for a combined 868 yards of total offense. New England would hold on late to win, 32-29. 

    This time around, the Patriots would keep the logo but place two Lombardi Trophy's behind it. 

Super Bowl XXXIX: New England Patriots (2005)

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    In news that shocked no one, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots landed in the Super Bowl yet again. This time the opponent was the Philadelphia Eagles led by quarterback Donovan McNabb

    Brady would not win MVP this time, that honor would go to receiver Deion Branch, who caught 10 passes for 143 yards and one touchdown. 

    New England would hold on once more late in the game, as Rodney Harrison would intercept McNabb with just 10 seconds remaining to halt the Eagles' comeback bid. 

    The Patriots continued the trend of a logo in front and trophies in the back. This time there were three Lombardi trophies, signifying the dynasty Brady and Co. had created. 

Super Bowl XL: Pittsburgh Steelers (2006)

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers made it to Super Bowl XL despite not playing in a home game during the playoffs. As a result, the team was tasked with playing the Seattle Seahawks for the Lombardi Trophy. 

    Pittsburgh would put together a 10-point victory thanks to a balanced offensive attack. Running backs Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker combined to set the physical tone of the game. 

    Receiver Hines Ward was the star of the show, catching five passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. He was named MVP for the output. 

    Pittsburgh chose to follow a similar pattern as to the one New England had started, except Pittsburgh had a few more Lombardi's to squeeze into the picture. 

Super Bowl XLI: Indianapolis Colts (2007)

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    Peyton Manning finally won his Super Bowl ring after he and the Indianapolis Colts took care of the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. 

    Manning was named MVP for throwing for 247 yards and one touchdown. He was boosted by a strong rushing attack from Dominic Rhodes, who added 113 yards and one touchdown of his own in the winning effort. 

    The Colts won 29-17 largely in thanks to a defense that limited Chicago to just 265 total yards by the end of the game. 

    Indianapolis chose to throw a Lombardi trophy behind its logo in an extravagant diamond affair as well. 

Super Bowl XLII: New York Giants (2008)

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    The next year, Peyton Manning's little brother would make a name for himself by winning a Super Bowl ring as well. 

    Eli Manning and Co. were 12-point underdogs to the explosive New England Patriots. New York defied all expectations and limited Tom Brady and the New England offense to just 14 points, giving the Giants a three-point victory. 

    Manning was named MVP as well. He threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns as he out-dueled Brady for the championship. 

    New York would forgo any color in its ring, but feature three trophies behind the logo for good measure. 

Super Bowl XLIII: Pittsburgh Steelers (2009)

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers returned to the Super Bowl after a three-year hiatus to face a rejuvenated Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals. 

    Warner would explode as many expected, throwing for 377 yards and three touchdowns, but it was not enough as the Steelers managed to win, 27-23. 

    Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes was the best at his position on the field that day, reeling in nine receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown. He caught the game-winning pass and was subsequently named MVP. 

    Pittsburgh broke the trend of featuring the Lombardi trophy on the rings, likely because the franchise had too many to fit. Instead, the six titles were represented by individual diamonds encircling the logo. 

Super Bowl XLIV: New Orleans Saints (2010)

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    Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts returned to the Super Bowl in 2010, only to be denied by Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. 

    Brees would get the better of Manning, as he only tallied seven incompletions of his 39 attempts. His 288 yards and two touchdown tosses would earn him the MVP honors. 

    The Saints exploded for 25 points in the second half, which propelled the team to a 31-17 victory. New Orleans took rings back the basics, displaying just the logo with countless diamonds mixed in for good measure. 

Super Bowl XLV: Green Bay Packers (2011)

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    In 2011 the Green Bay Packers made the Super Bowl for the first time since 1998 and squared-off against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

    Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers put up an outstanding effort to defeat the Steelers, 31-25. Rodgers threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns en route to being named the MVP. 

    Rodgers' favorite target was receiver Jordy Nelson, who caught nine passes for 140 yards and one touchdown. 

    Green Bay followed the formula the Saints had reverted back to the year before, sticking to a color-less design heavily peppered with diamonds. 

Super Bowl XLVI: New York Giants (2012)

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    Eli Manning and the New York Giants met Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI in what was a rematch from four years ago in Super Bowl XLII. 

    Both games shared a familiar tone and result. 

    Manning would once again out-play Brady on the biggest stage and win MVP honors thanks to his 296 yards and one touchdown. He had help from a well-rounded offense and an outstanding defense that once again flustered Brady, once so much so that he was flagged for a safety after throwing the ball away in the end zone. 

    New York would win by a final score of 21-17, once again denying the Patriots a fourth ring in the 2000's. The Giants would bring color back into the picture for rings in a stylish combination of its logo and trophies. 


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