Not long ago, I was having a conversation with Todd Bennett, owner and proprietor of Baltimore Trophy House, a family owned business recently relocated from Baltimore City to Harford County, Maryland. His family has been in the trophies, medals, and plaques business for parts of six decades. Bennett has seen all sorts of requests from fish shaped acrylic awards to a Lombardi trophy replica for fantasy football. Trophies have been around for several hundred years, but Bennett and I began discussing the most famous sports trophies…
The National Football League champion (the winner of the Super Bowl) receives the Lombardi Trophy. This is named after Vince Lombardi, the legendary Green Bay Packers coach. It was originally called the World Professional Football Championship Trophy, and was changed upon Lombardi’s death in 1970. Tiffany & Co. create the trophy from sterling silver. If you grew up in the 60’s, you may remember Lombardi himself winning a couple trophies with his vaunted Packers. As the 60’s turned to the 70’s, teams like the Dolphins, Raiders, Vikings, and Steelers came to prominence. The Dolphins had their undefeated season in 1972, and are still the only team to accomplish that through the postseason.
At the end of the decade, the Pittsburgh Steelers racked up four Lombardi trophies. In the 80’s, the 49ers, Redskins, and Giants won their share, followed by the Dallas Cowboys winning three in the 90’s. The 2000s, of course, the Lombardis have been hoarded by the New England Patriots, as they have captured six. People may remember Tom Brady winning his seventh, and then tossing the trophy to friends across the waters of Tampa Bay.
The FIFA World Cup
This fall, the men’s World Cup begins in Qatar. Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, and the FIFA World Cup trophy is possibly the most coveted of all trophies. Brazil has the most championships, with five. Behind the Selecao Canarinho, the nations with the next most titles are Germany and Italy, each with four, and Argentina, France, and Uruguay with two apiece.
The World Cup is the most watched event across the globe. Some have argued the trophy is not the greatest representation of that brilliance. Designed by Italian Silvio Gazzaniga, it is however made of 18 karat gold.
Prior to the 70’s, the World Cup trophy was known as the Jules Rimet Trophy, and was actually stolen from London in 1966. It remarkably was never recovered, and rumor has it, it was melted into gold bars.
The Stanley Cup
Okay, the Cup is not exactly a trophy, it’s a cup. However, it has an incredibly rich and storied history. Lord Stanley’s Cup is given to the champion of the National Hockey League. A lot, not all, of the individual names of champion players, coaches, and staff are engraved on the Cup. That is somewhat astonishing, considering the Cup has been awarded even before it became the NHL championship in 1926. The stories that have come from celebrating with the Cup are too innumerable to be all-inclusive in this article, and are fodder for a whole blog to itself. Players drink champagne out of the Cup, which is interesting because the Cup has also been soiled by several babies and children. The Cup has sank to the bottom of at least two swimming pools, been damaged at night clubs, and it is believed thrown off a building by Guy Carbonneau. It truly seems to be a trophy that people love celebrating with.
As we wrapped up our conversation, Todd Bennett and I realized that gathering hilarious trophy legends would actually be a great blog series. Mr. Bennett has a full service awards center with Baltimore Trophy House which is one of the leading trophy houses in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.