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Trophy Another New Jersey 'Super' Export

Just like the Giants, the Vince Lombardi Trophy is a product of the Garden State.

When you're watching the Super Bowl on Sunday night, the team that calls the Meadowlands home won't be the only New Jersey export on display.

What is it?

Here's a hint: It takes numerous skilled craftspeople and about four months to complete, and millions of people will have their eyes glued to it on Sunday.

And it's made nearby—right here in New Jersey in Parsippany.

The Vince Lombardi Trophy that will be passed around by either the New York (we know it's really New Jersey) Giants or New England Patriots after winning the game's most important contest was produced in Morris County, crafted in the Tiffany & Co. workshop.

So, while you feel Jersey pride watching Big Blue's tough defense and Eli Manning-led offense, you will know that they are trying to bring the trophy back to its home state.

THE TROPHY'S HISTORY

Most people know the trophy was named after legendary Packers head coach Vince Lombardi, regarded by many as the greatest football coach of all time.

However, the trophy didn't get that name until 1970, three years after it was created and handed out. The trophy was originally designed by Tiffany for the first Super Bowl in 1967, and former Tiffany & Co. Vice President Oscar Riedener sketched the trophy’s basic design during a meeting with then-NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle.

In 1970, after Lombardi's sudden death from cancer, the trophy was renamed in honor of the coach who won the first two Super Bowls.

TROPHY FACTS

According to Tiffany & Co., the football at the top of the trophy is regulation-size and is rendered entirely in sterling silver. It is 22 inches tall and weighs nearly seven pounds. To create it, the master artisans employ age-old silversmithing techniques, such as spinning, chasing, hand engraving and polishing. 

Once produced, the trophy is brought to the Super Bowl's venue–this year the state-of-the-art Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis–via Brink's, a company based in Richmond, Va., that specializes in secure transportation.

After the game is won, the trophy will make its way to the field to be clutched, kissed and passed around for the duration of the championship ceremony. However, after the field ceremony, the trophy will be returned to Tiffany’s workshop. There, the name of the winning team will be hand engraved on the trophy.

THE COMPANY'S TROPHY LEGACY

The Parsippany workshop is also the birthplace of other famous trophies. On Sunday, a second Tiffany and Co. production will be on display, the Pete Rozelle Trophy, which is presented to the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player. The trophy is named for the former commissioner who is credited with widening the sport's popularity, helping to make it what it is today.

Other famous trophies created in Parsippany:

  • The National Basketball Association's Larry O'Brien Championship trophy
  • Major League Baseball's World Series trophy
  • The U.S. Open Tennis Championship trophies.

HOW IT'S MADE

So, you're still wondering how exactly the trophy is made? The following is provided by Tiffany & Co., and describes the production processes:

STAGES OF TROPHY CREATION

  1. SPINNING: Spinning is the process where three-dimensional round or cylindrical symmetrical parts are created from flat circles of metal. A flat circular blank is mounted on the spinning lathe and with a series of tool passes, the material "flows" and is laid down onto a mandrel that is the ID profile of the desired finished part. The mandrel is typically referred to as a "Spin Chuck" and is usually made from wood or steel.
  2. ANNEALING: Annealing is the heat treatment wherein the material is altered, causing changes in its properties such as strength and hardness. It is a process that produces conditions by heating and maintaining a suitable temperature, and then cooling. Annealing is used to induce softness, relieve internal stresses, refine the structure and improve cold working properties. Annealing is done in both the Spinning and Smithing operations.
  3. SILVERSMITHING: Silversmithing is the creating, forming, and assembly of an object from raw material. Many techniques are utilized to create a finished good including cutting and piercing, hammering, filing, forming, drawing, stamping, and soldering, to name a few. Any object that is not created from a symmetrically round shape is crafted by the silversmiths.  Silversmiths often coordinate the work of their fellow craftspeople in creating one cohesive unit.
  4. CHASING: Chasing (and Repoussé) is the process of creating designs by pushing metal. The technique of chasing utilizes the plasticity of metal, forming shapes by degrees. There is no loss of metal in the process, as it is stretched locally and the surface remains continuous.
  5. FINISHING/POLISHING: Finishing is done through the creation of the trophy and involves preparing and cleaning surfaces and preliminary finishing. Polishing is the last step in the trophy creation process. The metal surface in refined by use of abrasive compounds applied by hand or a polishing wheel attached to a long-spindled motorized arbor which runs at a high speed. Various finishes may be obtained with a wide variety of abrasive compounds applied to the polishing wheels. Rouge is the compound which imparts the brightest finish. More abrasive compounds will produce less reflective finishes, emphasizing the object's form.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the site of this year's Super Bowl. The game is being held in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium, not Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Michael Brancato February 02, 2012 at 03:31 PM
"Once produced, the trophy is brought to the Super Bowl's venue–this year the cathedral-like Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas" Hey, guys, if you're going to reprint material, you should really make sure you update the entire article. For the record, New Jersey Giants is the lamest sounding name in all of sports, even worse than the New York/ New Jersey Red Bulls.
Greg Toombs February 02, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Umm, this year's Super Bowl is being played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Last year's game was played at the Cowboys' crystal cathedral.
Tony-O February 02, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Hey Michael...I guess you aren't a Giants fan. First, what's wrong with the being named the Giants? Is the Jets nickname any better? How about the Eagles? All I care about is what happens on the field. For your info, the Giants have won three Super Bowls, the Jets one and the Eagles zippo. Second, as Greg pointed you got the venue of the game wrong. I don't think Big Blue is lame...Go Giants!!!

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