Courtesy of Tiffany & Co.
When the star-studded Los Angeles Rams host the upstart Cincinnati Bengals for Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, tens of millions will be watching to see the on-court action, while millions more will tune in just to see the halftime show or the smart new commercials. But for design aficionados, the excitement will really begin after the game, when the winner has been decided and it’s time to present the jewel in the crown of sporting trophies: the Vince Lombardi Trophy, custom-designed each year for the National Football League by Tiffany & Co.
Simply put, the Lombardi is a paragon of design that marries form and function; this is the sine qua non of trophies. Measuring 22 inches and weighing seven pounds – and crowned by a replica regulation-size football, complete with ‘laces’ – the sterling silver trophy is named for legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. to victory in the first two Super Bowls. It was first presented in 1967 to Lombardi himself, though of course not yet named after him – that honor followed after his death in 1970.
According to the (possibly apocryphal?) story, Tiffany vice president Oscar Riedener drew the unadorned silhouette of the trophy on a napkin during a meeting with then-NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle. A new trophy has been crafted every year since Super Bowl I, entirely in sparkling silver during a meticulous four-month process at Tiffany’s workshop in Cumberland, Rhode Island. It’s forged in fire that reaches temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, then hand-welded and polished for its unmistakable shine.
That silver sheen, however, is offset by its unceremoniously clean lines, resulting in a rare hardware that appeals to minimalism devotees and bling lovers alike. Yes, hockey fans, I know the Stanley Cup might be more impressive, but let’s face it, it’s kind of unwieldy. (Also: it’s technically not a trophy.) You don’t need two hands to lift the Lombardi above your head like you do for the Stanley Cup; the Lombardi is the perfect shape to soar high in the air when you scream you’re going to Disney World. And as we learned last year during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ water parade after their Super Bowl triumph, it’s also pretty aerodynamic and can survive a misguided toss between two boats without plunging into the Hillsborough River (we examine you, Tom Brady).
So this year, whether the trophy resides in Tinseltown or is sent back to Ohio, you can be sure that this Tiffany silver coin will be treated like the brand’s finest jewelry, that is, it will be treasured for decades to come.
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