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How Tiffany & Co. makes the Lombardi Trophy and other things you might not have known about the NFL's biggest prize

How Tiffany & Co. makes the Lombardi Trophy and other things you might not have known about the NFL's biggest prize
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The Vince Lombardi Trophy.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
  • Each year, the NFL's 32 teams kick off the season with an eye on the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

  • The shiny Tiffany & Co. creation is an iconic sterling-silver masterpiece.

  • It takes four months and countless master silversmiths, metal spinners, and engravers to craft.

Casual and die-hard football fans alike are familiar with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, the gleaming, football-shaped prize awarded annually to the Super Bowl champions.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes hoists the Lombardi Trophy
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes hoists the Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LVII.Tammy Ljungblad/The Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

It's been a focal point of every Super Bowl celebration since the early days of the big game.

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles holds up the Vince Lombardi trophy after his team won Super Bowl LII.Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The trophy has featured prominently in some legendary sports photos.

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Tom Brady and his daughter, Vivian Lake Brady, celebrate with the Vince Lombardi trophy after the New England Patriots' 13-3 win over Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

And is often kissed by the victors.

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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees kisses the Vince Lombardi trophy after defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL's Super Bowl XLIV.REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

But most people don't know much about where the iconic trophy comes from ...

FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2013 file photo, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game in New Orleans. Flacco was the Super Bowl MVP and the NFL's highest-paid quarterback just a few years ago. After injuries shortened his last two seasons, Flacco is now in New York with a new role: as a backup to Sam Darnold.  (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII.Associated Press

... or how it's made.

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The base of the Vince Lombardi Trophy is torched.Tiffany & Co.

The stunning piece is a creation of Tiffany & Co., the iconic luxury jewelry brand based in New York City.

The Tiffany and Co. flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York on Sunday, November 16, 2014
The Tiffany and Co. flagship store on Fifth Avenue.Richard Levine/Corbis/Getty Images

Though the company behind the iconic Blue Box may seem like an odd match for football, Tiffany is actually behind many of the most legendary trophies in sports.

Naomi Osaka the morning after winning the Women's Singles Final on Day Fourteen of the 2020 US on September 13, 2020 in New York City.
Naomi Osaka poses with the US Open trophy — made by Tiffany & Co. — after winning the 2020 Women's Singles Final.Getty Images / Matthew Stockman

The Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy of the NBA, Commissioner's Trophy of MLB, US Open singles trophies, WNBA championship trophy, PGA Tour FedExCup trophy, and dozens more all come from the brand.

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Michael Jordan hoists the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy after the Chicago Bulls won the NBA Finals.JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images

Tiffany took on responsibility for the Lombardi Trophy from the very first Super Bowl.

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Vince Lombardi (right) and Kansas City Chiefs head coach Hank Stram shake hands as they view the Super Bowl Trophy before Super Bowl I.Bettmann/Getty Images

Ahead of Super Bowl I in 1967, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle contacted Tiffany — and only Tiffany — to come up with a design for the trophy.

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NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle (left) presents the Vince Lombardi trophy to Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry.AP Photos

Source: Pro Football Hall of Fame

Tiffany & Co. design chief Oscar Riedener — a Swiss native who knew little about football — is said to have come up with the blueprint of a football atop a kicking tee while eating breakfast in his home.

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The Vince Lombardi Trophy at Tiffany & Co.AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Source: Pro Football Hall of Fame

A few days later, Riedener drew the design on a cocktail napkin while eating lunch with Rozelle. His vision continues to be the symbol of triumph in the NFL 57 years later.

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The Vince Lombardi Trophy on display.AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Source: Pro Football Hall of Fame

The first version of the iconic trophy was made in Newark, New Jersey. Subsequent iterations were crafted by the company just down the road in Parsippany, New Jersey.

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Newark, New Jersey.AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The trophy received its official name ahead of Super Bowl V in 1971. It was named for legendary coach Vince Lombardi, who led the Green Bay Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls. He died in September 1970.

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Vince Lombardi.AP Photo/Charles Knoblock

Source: NFL

The trophy is now handcrafted in Tiffany's Cumberland, Rhode Island, hollowware workshop.

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A Tiffany & Co. sign.Alexander/Getty Images

Source: WPRI

Silversmiths, metal spinners, and engravers spend roughly four months creating the masterpiece each year.

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A master engraver works in front of iconic sports trophies at Tiffany & Co.AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Source: NBC Philadelphia

The process starts in a furnace, where sterling silver is heated to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and melted in preparation for shaping.

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It takes temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit to melt sterling silver.Tiffany & Co.

Molding, shaping, and carving come next — with heat added to maintain pliability.

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A Tiffany silversmith uses a blowtorch to heat the base of the Vince Lombardi Trophy.Tiffany & Co.

Polishing is essential to generating the trophy's signature shine.

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A polished portion of the Lombardi trophy.Tiffany & Co.

Subtle details — like the football's laces — are then hammered into the precious metal.

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The top of the Vince Lombardi Trophy rests on a blue Tiffany & Co. bag.Tiffany & Co.

And others are etched into the silver.

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The NFL logo is etched into silver for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.Tiffany & Co.

Many long hours and four legacy silversmithing techniques later, the Vince Lombardi Trophy is ready for football's greatest stage.

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The Vince Lombardi Trophy.Tiffany & Co.

The only question now is whose hands it'll land in this year: the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes or the San Francisco 49ers' Brock Purdy?

Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers (L) and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs stand on stage during Super Bowl LVIII Opening Night at Allegiant Stadium on February 05, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers (L) and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs.Candice Ward/Getty Images

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