2006 Indianapolis Colts Championship Ring
Super Bowl rings combine simplicity, bling -- By Mike Chappell, IndyStar.com
Get past the 50 diamonds and synthetic blue sapphire horseshoe--if your eyes allow it--and the Indianapolis Colts' Super Bowl ring is much more about the simple words and symbols found in the subtleties of the design.
"It's more than a fine piece of jewelry," said team owner Jim Irsay, who issued about 275 of the rings to players, coaches, other members of his organization and a few close acquaintances at a private ceremony Wednesday evening at the posh Indiana Roof Downtown. "It represents so much more."
There's the word "Faith" on one shank, or side, of the ring. Faith "gives you the strength to have the perseverance to move forward even after many disappointments," Irsay explained. On the opposite shank is the phrase "Our time." That was the Colts' theme as they headed into the playoffs, which culminated Feb. 4 in Miami with a 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, the first championship in the Colts' Indianapolis era.
Much less conspicuous, but just as meaningful, is a dot of red enamel found on each of the players' rings, forming one rivet in a small horseshoe. The red symbolizes a drop of blood, emblematic of players "leaving it all on the field," according to Pete Ward, the team's senior executive vice president. "There's obviously some bling," Irsay said Tuesday at his house in Carmel, gazing at the 50 diamonds that adorn the face and edges of the ring. "But we wanted it to have some beautiful simplicity and we wanted to feature the horseshoe. The symbol of the horseshoe is so universal, so powerful." In discussing the ring at length, Irsay kept returning to that word: symbol. "That's the powerful thing about it," he said. "In life we use symbols...the art of symbols and reminders are part of our culture."
The design is the collaborative effort of Irsay, his wife, Meg, and Ward. They reviewed previous Super Bowl championship rings, including those earned by some Colts coaches while they were with other teams. The objective: "Keep it simple, but really classy," said Ward. The difficult part was determining who should get them, and which type.
The team did not release a list of ring recipients, but all 53 players who were on the active roster for the Super Bowl, along with the eight-man practice squad and players on the injured reserve list, received the deluxe, "first-tier" ring. It's priced at approximately $5,000, the maximum allowed by the NFL for Super Bowl rings. Top executives and other team officials also received that ring. Some employees were given a second-tier ring, a scaled-down version of the original priced between $1,500 and $2,000, while others received a third-tier ring that, according to Irsay, "is more like a class ring." All were made by Herff Jones, a local jeweler.
"To me," Irsay said, "it was trying to take into account everyone that I thought should be given consideration. You look at years of service, things like that." Irsay's mother, Harriett, was on hand Wednesday night. So were some people who contributed to the championship season but are no longer with the team, including wide receiver Brandon Stokley, linebacker Cato June and assistant coaches Leslie Frazier and Diron Reynolds. Irsay picked up the tab--flight and hotel costs--for everyone who came in from out of town.
Pro Bowl wide receiver Reggie Wayne exited the Indiana Roof and held up his diamond-studded ring. "It's great," he said. "I normally hear diamonds are a woman's best friend, but tonight it's a man's best friend. I feel like a new man. This has been a childhood dream, and I'm just enjoying it."
The festivities, which included the delivery of rings to players on a silver platter, coincided with Irsay's 48th birthday. "What a birthday," he said. "That was cosmic coincidence."
Source: The Indianapolis Star
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