The story behind the 56 Super Bowl rings

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Stories behind every Super Bowl ring

In American sports, there is no more sought-after symbol of success than a Super Bowl ring. One piece of glittering bling represents victory, overcoming obstacles, perseverance and teamwork and countless other things, depending on whose finger it encircles. The rings are as gaudy and ostentatious and overdone as the game they represent. All of which is amplified by the size they must be to fit the fingers of the men who wear them. And if the on-the-field stories behind rings are incredible, the off-the-field stories behind them often add to the legends. Each ring has unique stories, some told, some untold, depending on the franchise’s desire. We're going to take you inside the unique stories of every single super bowl ring.

1. Super Bowl I: 1966 Green Bay Packers Super Bowl Ring

Bart Starr, QB Designed by Packers coach Vince Lombardi and teammates Willie Davis and Bob Skoronski, Starr was beyond proud of his Super Bowl I ring. "I think Bart just brought it home one day when they gave it to him at the Packers' office," said Starr's wife Cherry. It was pretty enough, with a one-carat diamond set in a globe of white gold. But Starr preferred wearing his Super Bowl II ring with three diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires. One day Cherry got a call claiming that Bart's original Super Bowl II ring was being sold on eBay for $100,000. "I panicked," she said, "and went running back to our safe and opened it up and thankfully it was still there. It scared me. It was a duplicate, but it looked like the real thing." To ensure nobody ever sold Starr's rings, Cherry donated them to the team's Hall of Fame during Bart's final trip to Lambeau Field in 2017.

1966 Green Bay Packers Super Bowl Ring

2. Super Bowl II: 1967 Green Bay Packers Super Bowl Ring

Bob Long, WR It's a good thing Long has three rings — one for each of his children. The receiver has one for the 1965 NFL Championship, one for Super Bowl I and one for Super Bowl II. "I have three kids, so I'm glad I have three rings," Long said. "When my first son, Andrew, was born, I gave him my ring and put it in a safety deposit box. I haven't seen it in 40 years. My daughter, Jordan, gets one and my adopted son, Christian gets one." Long showed up to the first day of Packers training camp this past summer wearing his ring from Super Bowl II, and he was proud to explain why it contained by three diamonds. "(Vince) Lombardi designed the rings himself and my Super Bowl I ring has one diamond," Long said. "Super Bowl II, Lombardi wanted something to recognize the event of three-straight championships.

1968 New York Jets Super Bowl Ring

3. Super Bowl III: 1968 New York Jets Super Bowl Ring

John Schmitt, C "A miracle," that's how Schmitt described getting his ring back after four decades. Through an implausible series of events, he was reunited with his ring after he lost it while surfing in Hawaii 40 years ago. A lifeguard found it while snorkeling, then stashed it in his closet. When he died in 2011, his great-niece discovered the hidden treasure while rummaging through his belongings. Once they identified it as a Super Bowl ring, they contacted the NFL, which directed them to the Jets. Schmitt would befriend the family that found his ring and their bond remains strong. "We've become a big family," says Schmitt, who has vacationed with the family in Hawaii.

1968 New York Jets Super Bowl Ring

4. Super Bowl IV: 1969 Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl Ring

Jan Stenerud, K The 1969 Chiefs didn't have a public event to distribute the rings to honor their Super Bowl IV victory. "We got our rings in the mail in June, I think it was," kicker Jan Stenerud said. "It was very quiet." The rings came with a small wooden plaque that read, "Remember that you are World Champions. Handle yourself with class and style, grace and dignity." It was signed "Hank Stram, head coach."

5. Super Bowl V: 1970 Baltimore Colts Super Bowl Ring

Bill Curry, C Arthritis has kept Colts center Curry from wearing his Super Bowl V ring. "It's been years and years since I've put it on," Curry said. "And when I have put it on, I've had to force on my finger pretty good. Things start to change on your body once you hit mid-70s. There was definitely a special time I wore it." Curry said the last time he wore the rings was at the funeral of Johnny Unitas, the starting quarterback on the Colts' Super Bowl team. "That was just one of many ways to pay respect to Johnny," Curry said. "People are always intrigued that I snapped the ball to [Green Bay quarterback] Bart Starr and Johnny Unitas. Super Bowl V was the last ring I won after playing in Super Bowls I, III and V."

1970 Baltimore Colts Super Bowl Ring

6. Super Bowl VI: 1971 Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl Ring

Lee Roy Jordan, LB "My wife OK'd it for me to wear that on my left hand instead of wearing my wedding band," Jordan said of the ring he earned after the 1971 season. "I dislocated my right ring finger so many times I couldn't get it on that finger. I convinced her that I needed to be wearing it. She must've felt like the marriage was going to work and she said OK." Jordan and his wife, Mary, have been married for 55 years.

1971 Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl Ring

7. Super Bowl VII: 1972 Miami Dolphins Super Bowl Ring

Dick Anderson, S A member of the Dolphins' No-Name Defense, Anderson said the 1971 team actually got Super Bowl rings after losing. But they were silver, not gold. Then, at the beginning of the 1972 season, coach Don Shula tried to inspire his players by telling them no one remembers who lost the Super Bowl and "our goal is to be remembered." Anderson said: "I look down at those 16 diamonds and the one in the middle and smile. I wear it proudly. It represents 17-0. It was the only perfect season. It's a reminder that we did something that no one else has done. It was a special team." The Dolphins' organization brings back members of the 1972 team every five years to celebrate that milestone season, they sign memorabilia as a group and share memories of the perfect season.

1972 Miami Dolphins Super Bowl Ring

8. Super Bowl VIII: 1973 Miami Dolphins Super Bowl Ring

Larry Little, G The Super Bowl ring from 1973 has less significance than the one from the year prior, Little said, because that Dolphins team went 17-0. "I don't even know where it is," Little said of the second ring. "It's somewhere in the house. My wife put it up." Most of the Dolphins from the 1972 team played on the '73 team as well. Little did say the Dolphins "were a better team in 1973 than 1972, even though we lost two games that year. We walked through the playoffs. It was easier for us to win the Super Bowl in 1973."

1973 Miami Dolphins Super Bowl Ring

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