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History of the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy

The Super Bowl trophy has been around since the 1960s and was named in honor of Vince Lombardi.
Credit: AP
New England Patriots' Tom Brady holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

PHOENIX — It’s the ultimate symbol of gridiron glory, the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Each year the coveted trophy is awarded to the winning team of the Super Bowl.

The trophy has been around since the 1960s and has a surprising connection to a jewelry company. Tiffany & Co. created the trophy in 1967.

In 1966, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle approached the jewelry company to create a trophy for the inaugural Super Bowl.

“Oscar Riedener, a former Tiffany & Co. Vice President, sketched the basic design on a napkin during a 1966 meeting with the NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle,” according to the jewelry company

Rozelle was impressed, and so the trophy came to be.

The first team to receive the trophy was the Green Bay Packers on Jan. 15, 1967, when they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl I.

Each year a new trophy is created for the latest winner of the Super Bowl.

The trophy did not become known as the Vince Lombardi Trophy until 1970.

It was named in honor of the late Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi, who led his team to victory in the first two Super Bowls in 1967 and 1968.

Credit: AP
Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi speaks at a news conference in Green Bay, Wis., Sept. 26, 1966. Lombardi explains how the Packers defense held up against the Los Angeles Rams in spite of five fumbles by the Packers offense. The packers beat the Rams 24-13. (AP Photo/Paul Shane)

Lombardi passed away at the age of 57 on Sept. 3, 1970. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of colon cancer. Lombardi died just 71 days after his diagnosis.

Following Lombardi’s death, the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation was created in his honor. The organization aims to prevent cancer, provide the best care to those fighting it and find a cure.

The Vince Lombardi Trophy, made entirely of sterling silver, is 22 inches and weighs 8.75 pounds. It is valued at about $50,000 and takes about four months to make.

The Lombardi is not the only trophy Tiffany & Co. makes for the NFL. The jewelry company also makes the trophy presented to the Super Bowl’s MVP. That trophy is the Pete Rozelle Trophy. It was first created in 1991 and named after Pete Rozelle, who served as NFL Commissioner from 1960 until 1989.

The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers are tied for the most Super Bowl wins, with each team claiming six Vince Lombard Trophies.

Twelve teams have never taken home a Vince Lombardi Trophy:

  • Arizona Cardinals 
  • Buffalo Bills 
  • Minnesota Vikings 
  • Atlanta Falcons 
  • Carolina Panthers 
  • Cincinnati Bengals 
  • Los Angeles Chargers 
  • Tennessee Titans 
  • Cleveland Browns 
  • Detroit Lions 
  • Houston Texans 
  • Jacksonville Jaguars

Players from the winning team get their own mini replica of the trophy, valued at about $15,000.

Before the merger in the 1960s that created the NFL as it is today, the winner of the National Football League championship was awarded a different trophy. From 1934 until 1969, the Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy went to NFL champions. It was passed from winning team to winning team with each championship game, the newest victor’s name engraved on the trophy.

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