Since 1967, every NFL season has ended with a team receiving a trophy after winning the Super Bowl. The 2016 season ended with the Patriots being handed the trophy after an incredible comeback in Super Bowl LI. The Patriots won 34-28 after being down 28-3 in the third quarter.
Since 1970, the trophy has been named the Vince Lombardi Trophy, after the legendary head coach who led the Green Bay Packers to the first two Super Bowl victories.
At the end of Super Bowl LI, the new trophy will be handed to either the Atlanta Falcons or the New England Patriots. For the Patriots, it will be their fifth, putting them one behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, who own the most Lombardi trophies. This would be the first for the Falcons.
Here’s a look at the history of the trophy, which has become an integral part of the game.
1. Tiffany’s Has Been Making the Trophy Since 1967 & it Was Designed on a Napkin
The trophy was famously designed on a napkin. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tiffany’s vice president of design Oscar Riedner designed the trophy on a cocktail napkin in 1966.
Reidner had the help of NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle while designing it at lunch. The trophy, which features a full-sized football on a smooth trunk in kicking position, has remained the same ever since. The only change has been the NFL logo updates. The trophy also originally read “World Professional Football Championship” before Lombardi’s death in 1970.
2. It Takes Four Months to Make the Trophy & It Costs $50,000
Making the trophy is not easy, and since it’s not like the NHL’s Stanley Cup, a new one is made each year. ABC News reports that it takes Tiffany’s silversmiths four months to make the seven-pound trophy. It’s made by hand in Rhode Island and costs $50,000 to make.
Although it’s now made in Rhode Island, NJ.com notes that the first trophy was made in New Jersey. In 2014, it was put on display a the Newark Museum, on loan from the Packers.
“It’s the first trophy of its kind,” chief museum curator Ulysses Dietz told NJ.com.
3. After the Celebrations, the Trophy Goes Back to Tiffany’s for More Work
After the game and all the celebrations, the winners can’t take the trophy home just yet. As Victoria Reynolds of Tiffany’s told ABC News, the trophy goes back to Tiffany’s so it can be personalized and scrubbed clean.
Tiffany’s then engraves the winner, the date of the game and the final score. Teams can even request players’ names be engraved on the trophy.
“When we get back the trophy, it’s a cleaning feat extraordinaire,” Reynolds told ABC News. “We have never gotten a trophy back that does not have champagne on it.”
4. The Tradition of Presenting the Winning Owner With the Trophy Started at Super Bowl XXX
Before Super Bowl XXX in 1996, the trophy was wheeled into the winning team’s locker room for the presentation. However, that Super Bowl ended with the trophy being presented to the winning owner on the field after the game.
The New York Times notes that the trophy presentation has been awkward in the past, especially when Raiders owner Al Davis was receiving it from NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle.
The two had a long-running feud that dated back to before the formation of the NFL, when the Raiders were part of the AFL. Davis opposed the merger and Rozelle decided to negotiate around Davis, who was commissioner of the AFL at the time, and instead talk with Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt. Rozelle and Hunt made a deal without Davis, creating today’s NFL.
5. The Only Super Bowl Trophy Not Owned by the Franchise Winner is the Colts’ Super Bowl V Trophy
In 1984, the Baltimore Colts were infamously moved to Indianapolis without any public announcement. Baltimore didn’t get another NFL franchise until the original Cleveland Browns became the Ravens for the 1995 season.
While in Baltimore, the Colts won Super Bowl V, defeating the Cowboys 16-13. The city of Baltimore got to keep that trophy when the Colts moved to Indianapolis. It’s the only Super Bowl trophy not in the possession of the franchise that won it.
Since moving to Indianapolis, the Colts have only won one Super Bowl. The Ravens have won it twice.