The Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy has been the highest accolade in American football since the inception of the National Football League's championship game, the Super Bowl, in 1967. Each year, 32 teams strive to achieve one goal as they are heading into the NFL season.
That goal is winning the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Named in honor of the legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi, who led the Green Bay Packers to two consecutive wins in the first two Super Bowl games in history, the sterling silver trophy originally designed and produced to this day by Tiffany & Co. is awarded annually to the Super Bowl champion. In this article we provide more information about the most sought-after trophy in American Football.
The Super Bowl is one of the most watched annual sporting events in the world, second only to the final of the UEFA Champions League. The Super Bowl game was created as part of an agreement between the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL) in 1966 to have their best performing teams compete in a championship.
The first trophy was awarded to the Green Bay Packers after they won the first Super Bowl on January 15, 1967, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10. Since its first game in 1967, the Super Bowl has been the final playoff game to determine the football champion, and the Vince Lombardi Trophy has been the highest accolade in football.
The story of the sought-after Super Bowl trophy begins in 1966, though, when Pete Rozelle, the Commissioner of the NFL, took charge of commissioning a trophy for the first Super Bowl game. Rozelle only contacted one company, Tiffany & Co., which brought in vice president Oscar Riedner. Riedner, a native of Switzerland, did not know much about American football.
As the story goes, Riedner bought a football that he placed on his kitchen table. While having breakfast the next day, he took a pair of scissors and started cutting the cereal box in the shape of a trophy base on top of which we placed the football. A few days later, over lunch with Rozelle, Riedner sketched his design on a cocktail napkin, and the sketch, which pleased Rozelle, would become the trophy that has been awarded since 1967.
The Origin of the Name
While the first trophy was awarded at the 1967 Super Bowl, it has not always been called the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Initially, the Super Bowl trophy was named the World Professional Football Championship Trophy and it remained that way until 1970, when it was renamed to honor Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, who led the team to win the first ever two Super Bowl games.
Following Lombardi's death in 1970, the trophy was renamed in his memory. The trophy was awarded for the first time as the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the Baltimore Colts following their victory in Super Bowl V.
The Vince Lombardi Trophy, 22 inches in height and 7 pounds in weight, is entirely made out of sterling silver. The trophy depicts a regulation-sized football in a kicking position mounted on top of a three sided stand.
From the first Super Bowl, the Vince Lombardi Trophy has been designed and produced by Tiffany & Co. silversmiths. The trophy is made by hand, using sterling silver sheets imported from Italy, using four different silversmithing techniques. The football's laces are cut by hand and soldered onto the trophy. To keep the realistic appearance, the football has dimples, just like a real game ball, and each dimple is hand-punched.
The engraving is also done by hand. Engraved on the trophy are its name, "Vince Lombardi Trophy", along with the Roman numerals of that edition's Super Bowl. The NFL logo is added onto the base. After the trophy is awarded to the Super Bowl winner, it is sent back to Tiffany's to be engraved with the names of two teams that played in that year's Super Bowl, the date and location of the game, as well as the final score.
After the engraving, the trophy is sent back to the winning team. Unlike other sports competitions, whose trophies have to be returned, the Super Bowl champion team gets to keep the trophy. Each player on the winning team receives a smaller replica.