When Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy above his head after last night's defeat of the Carolina Panthers, he was celebrating with the centerpiece of a much larger — and heavier — three-piece set commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl.
The NFL commissioned Tiffany & Co. to design a massive "5" and "0" in a configuration that positions the sterling silver Lombardi Trophy between the gleaming golden numerals. Tiffany cast the 14.5-inch-tall numbers in bronze and then plated each 33-pound stunner in 18-karat yellow gold.
The Vince Lombardi Trophy itself has been manufactured by Tiffany & Co. since 1967 and weighs in at 7 pounds. With a total weight of 73 pounds, the 50th anniversary version of the trophy was a bit unwieldy — even for a man the size of Manning. So, after the win, the quarterback celebrated by holding the sterling silver trophy aloft. The complete set will be presented to the Super Bowl champions at the MVP and head coach press conference this morning.
The Vince Lombardi Trophy stands 22 inches tall and depicts a football in a kicking position on a tapered three-sided stand. The words "Vince Lombardi Trophy" along with the numerals of the year's Super Bowl are engraved on the piece. Before this year, each trophy used Roman numerals. Because the Roman numeral for 50 is "L," the NFL thought it better to use the Arabic numeral "50" instead.
After the trophy is awarded, it is sent back to Tiffany to be engraved with the names of the participating teams, the date, location of the Super Bowl game and the game's final score. The winning team gets to keep the trophy.
“The bronze has a warmer color, but it was important to us to have that very clean, very yellow gold color," Victoria Wirth Reynolds, group director of business sales at Tiffany & Co., told Forbes magazine. "They are viewed more as sculptures than trophies.”
Last night's golden anniversary Super Bowl was the culmination of a special season that featured golden 50-yard markers and gold NFL shields painted on every field, gold-trimmed team logos, gold-edition uniforms and gold-accented sideline gear, such as hats and jackets.
The NFL also will be sending a gold-painted football to every high school that's produced a player or coach who's appeared in a Super Bowl. The NFL reported that more than 3,000 players and 52 coaches have participated in a Super Bowl game.
In the weeks leading up to the big game, 10 Bay Area promotional installations featured giant-sized versions of Tiffany's golden "50," with each number weighing 1,600 pounds.
Images: Facebook/NFL; Screen captures via CBS, YouTube/CBS Sports, WLTX.com.