I love watching the new Joe Montana TV commercial. This is the one with the three big men — Bo, Doug and Herschel — on the couch lifting their legs like showgirls and putting their arms out front in a Heisman Trophy pose. Their happy smiles show their glistening white teeth. They are so proud of themselves. Joe Montana watches them and then casually lifts his hand to his chin, spreading his fingers out to show his four Super Bowl Rings. Even his thumb is sporting his 1977 national title ring.
Words are not needed at a time like this. However I think he mutters something like, “What an accomplishment,” with a bland look on his face but a twinkle in his eyes. No matter what I am doing, I always stop to watch it. Look for it, girls; it is so darn cute.
Many men and women love glitzy rings. Sports figures, Hollywood stars, the plain rich and those who visit Las Vegas. Heck, even those who can afford the real thing often buy trashy imitation jewelry today and wear it with panache.
The question on Sunday is who is going to win and get to wear the new Super Bowl ring for future commercials? I couldn’t care less about the game since the Bay Area does not have a horse in the race. So I suppose I am more interested in the glitz result than the game result.
Super Bowl rings have been made and passed out since 1967, so that means 48 Super Bowl Championship rings have been designed and made. When a team wins, the owner and management pick the company to design their special pattern and make it. They also can make the same ring, at a lower cost, for employees, family and friends. I think that means a smaller ring, fewer diamonds or even fake stones.
The NFL does have serious rules about making Super Bowl rings. The cost per ring is set, and if the team has won additional Super Bowls, they can spend more on the diamonds. Some rings have now become so large that many players find them uncomfortable and prefer to wear a smaller version.
Something I was surprised to learn was that the losing team gets a ring, too. It has a different name, is about half the size, and has less glitz. Well, after all, they did lose the game. So it is only fair to have fewer stones on a smaller ring.
The NFL has recently moved into a new Park Avenue location and copies of all the rings can be viewed by the public. This would be like going to the Tower of London to see the British jewels for the sports-minded person. You might want to find the address for your next visit to New York.
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The first time I came close to a Super Bowl ring was when we stayed at the El Presidente Hotel in Loreto, Baja California. We had been camping on the beaches and decided it was hotel time. My husband and son wanted to go fishing in the Sea of Cortez. Our daughter and I thought pool time sounded heavenly.
I cannot remember the reason, but I needed to call home. There was a payphone near the lobby, and I was trying to figure it out. I could not read the directions on the phone, which were in Spanish. Nearby was a group of men standing around and talking. One noticed that I was having trouble and came over to help. They must have been going fishing and waiting for their guide. As he put the correct change into the phone, I noticed a huge shining ring on his finger. It was the largest ring I had ever seen. I thanked him for helping me and he left with his friends.
Later in the day, a young man came up to me in the hotel dining room and introduced himself. He asked if I knew who the man was who had helped me with the payphone. I said no but that I appreciated his help. He told me the man’s name and that he was his nephew.
Of course, I did not recognize the name and cannot remember it. He said that is uncle was a well-known football player on a team that had just won the Super Bowl that year. I mentioned noticing the huge ring on his finger. His nephew just smiled and told me he was so proud of his uncle.
The next time I saw a Super Bowl ring was here in St. Helena. We were at a party at Meadowood. A friend asked if “Lamar” could sit with us at our table. He had recently had hip surgery and we said sure. He sat down next to me and my husband and we started to become better acquainted. We only knew each other by our first names. We were enjoying the party in the cool summer evening surrounded by fabulous food and good Napa wines.
After a while, Philip noticed a large ring on Lamar’s hand. Suddenly, Philip connected the name Lamar with the big ring and football. Philip realized that this was Lamar Hunt, the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs. Philip asked if that was a Super Bowl ring. Lamar said “yes” and took off the ring and passed it around the table. I think he had done this before. As the ring was passed around we each got to hold it. I am sure that most at our table tried it on. It was very massive and studded with diamonds and other precious stones.
My only other Super Bowl ring connection is with my husband’s cousin, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young, who has a few of them. Years ago, Steve Young and his friend, golfer Johnny Miller, were invited by George Altamura to an early Hands Across the Valley fundraising event. Philip and Steve share a common grandfather, Brigham Young. We posed for pictures with Steve and Johnny Miller. To be honest I don’t remember if Steve Young was wearing one of his Super Bowl rings at the time. I guess I was becoming jaded.
After all, If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all.