The lower three floors of the Westin Hotel in Newark, New Jersey, swelled with revelers the night of the Super Bowl. The Seahawks had just finished bludgeoning the Denver Broncos, 43-8, to win Super Bowl XLVIII, and the party was on.
Players did different things in different places that night. Some flagged down dark-tinted car services to bring them into New York City as dawn approached. Others stayed at the Westin, which the night before during the same overnight hours had the pulse of a morgue, to party with Macklemore and team owner Paul Allen.
The Seahawks winning their first Super Bowl since the team’s 1976 inception has been noted in various ways since. The sign announcing Seattle’s swanky practice facility on 12 Seahawks Way in Renton was updated with a Super Bowl champions logo. Doormats inside the facility were changed for ones with Super Bowl logos. Players went home to greetings of “Hey, champ.”
There is one thing that will tie every full-time employee of the organization together, however: The Super Bowl ring. It's dazzling white gold hand candy framed with 40 blue sapphires that will make it onto the fingers of about 400 people.
Only a couple weeks had past since the Seahawks’ win in New Jersey before they were hearing pitches in Seattle from Tiffany and Co. and Jostens Jewelry about the Super Bowl ring that could be.
A committee including Seahawks owner Paul Allen, team president Peter McLoughlin, general manager John Schneider, coach Pete Carroll and a small amount of player representatives, as well as other executives, were involved in creating the ring.
Tiffany’s presented multiple preliminary designs to the committee. Those were discussed, reviewed and changed. Next came something on paper, then examples made from wax and metal.
The Seahawks stressed several points. Among them: that the “12th Man” be recognized on the ring, that specific phrases like, “Leave no doubt 24/7” were inscribed, and, that the green eye in their logo be matched on the ring.
After about 4-6 weeks, the design was settled on and finished by Tiffany’s design arm in New York City. Production began shortly after in its manufacturing facility in Cumberland, Rhode Island.
The hand-rendered design is run through a CAD (computer-assisted design) program to produce a precise mold and model. The components of the ring are assembled, and all the stones are set and polished by hand.
The ring is put through a quality assurance process before it receives a final polish. Each ring took 45 hours to make.
Next, is shipping. The rings are sent to Tiffany’s distribution center in New Jersey, placed in their famous blue box and wrapped with a white ribbon. Then, off to Seattle.
June 19, a little more than four months removed from the party in Newark, Seahawks players and management were at another party. The rings were given to players at a private event in Seattle’s EMP Museum. Music star Usher played, then posed for pictures. Players got together with their various units and stuck out their full fingers anchored by the ring.
Neither Tiffany’s nor the Seahawks would reveal the cost of the ring. The NFL provides Super Bowl champions up to $5,000 per ring for 150 rings. Team ownership has to make up any difference.
Value of the rings fluctuates. In 2012, Lawrence Taylor Jr., sold his father’s Super Bowl XXV ring in an online auction for $230,041. Championshiprings.net has a 2011 New York Giants Super Bowl player’s ring listed for $59,995. The site also touts a 2001 New England Patriots Super Bowl player’s ring for $39,995.
A Tiffany’s spokesperson says the rings are “truly priceless.” That’s likely true for former Seahawks owner John Nordstrom.
Nordstrom is often at the Seahawks’ practice facility in Renton. He watches practice, visits the media work room during the draft, and operates with a congenial and humble demeanor. When players leave the practice field and spot him, they stop for a handshake and hello.
He’ll be receiving his ring at July 22 ceremony, along with the rest of the folks who did not receive one during the first team-specific ceremony at EMP.
Nordstrom – who quickly touts the ownership of Allen – never thought he would end up with a Super Bowl ring. Carroll and Schneider called him to say he in fact would.
“I said, ‘Oh my gosh, you’ve got to be kidding,’ ” Nordstrom said. “ ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ I just couldn’t believe it. I’m really kind of blown away.”
Which adds him to a list of about 400.