There are a few sartorial challenges related to how to start wearing jewelry as a grown adult man. (Poor Dinesh and his gold chain!) If you aren’t used to wearing it, styling yourself with bracelets, necklaces, or rings can make a fella feel like he’s trying too hard. But one piece that it’s always cool to wear–besides a wedding ring–is a Super Bowl championship ring you earned yourself.
The Super Bowl ring dates back to the first Super Bowl, back when the game was played between the champion of the NFL and the soon-to-be-merged-into-the-football-behemoth American Football League. Back then, the ring was a gold piece with the winning team’s name (the Green Bay Packers) carved into the margins, with a single gemstone in the middle of a football-shaped totem. Things got jazzier quickly, though–by the time the Baltimore Colts won Super Bowl V, the team’s logo was incorporated into the design, with the horseshoe consisting of alternating sapphires and diamonds. Team logos didn’t become a mainstay of ring design until the mid-’90s, though–the 1985 Chicago Bears got the big “C” in their ring, but the 1986 New York Giants just have a rendition of the Super Bowl trophy surrounded by a blue background, for the team’s colors. Once the Dallas Cowboys, whose star-shaped logo is a pretty natural fit for jewelry, started stringing together championships under the Troy Aikman/Emmitt Smith/Michael Irvin tandem, though, every winning team saw their logo encrusted in gems.
As the 2015 Denver Broncos claimed their rings this week–with a big horse’s head surrounded by three Super Bowl trophies and the number “50” on the piece’s face–it’s worth looking at this animated GIF that morphs you through the evolution of the Super Bowl ring in rapid succession, courtesy of sportsbettingexperts.com. That way, you too can learn the history of one piece of jewelry that symbolizes trying just hard enough.