New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said he wanted the team’s Super Bowl championship jewelry to be a “restaurant ring,” big enough to be seen from every corner of any eating establishment.
Last night, after the team’s closed-door ring ceremony at the Tiffany & Co. building in midtown Manhattan, the 29-year-old Tuck said the final product fit his expectations. Wearing the new ring and the one he earned with the Giants from the 2007 season, Tuck said he heeded advice from former teammate Michael Strahan to try to design “the biggest and baddest ring you can get.”
“You sit back and think of how lucky you are to be in this situation,” Tuck said. “A lot of great players never even had the opportunity to win playoff games, nonetheless Super Bowl rings, and I have two so I’m definitely thankful.”
The white gold diamond- and sapphire-studded rings unveiled yesterday will be distributed this week to around 300 people who contributed to the 21-17 Super Bowl victory against the New England Patriots in February. It was designed by Tiffany, with input from members of the Giants organization including General Manager Jerry Reese, coach Tom Coughlin and captains Tuck, Eli Manning and Zak DeOssie.
The ring honors each of the franchise’s Super Bowl victories, with four Vince Lombardi Trophies on the face and the years 1986, 1990, 2007 and 2011 etched around the band.
“I pretty much let the players design the ring, and that’s why it came out so big,” team co-owner John Mara said after the ceremony. “The only thing I wanted to see on the ring was the recognition of all four Lombardi Trophies.”
Running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who also participated in the 17-14 Super Bowl win against the undefeated Patriots after the 2007 season, said this year’s ring differs from his other one because of a circle of 37 blue sapphires around the face. The Giants did not say how much the rings cost.
“The blue is where to go man, we’re ‘Big Blue,”’ Bradshaw said after the ceremony. “I couldn’t wait to put it on.”
The words “all in” and “finish” are engraved inside the ring, two motivational phrases the Giants used throughout the 2011 season, when the team recovered from a late four-game losing streak to qualify for the playoffs in the final week of the regular season. The ring’s sides also feature the team logo, and each recipient’s name and number.
‘Icing on the Cake’
Wide receiver Victor Cruz, who caught 82 passes for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011, called the ring the “icing on the cake” of his first full NFL season.
“I want to win another one,” Cruz, 25, said before the ceremony. “I’m young, so I figure if we’re going to win one early in my career, why not get a couple more?”
Cruz was not the only player to say that seeing the ring made him hungrier for another. Tuck, Manning, Bradshaw and cornerback Antrel Rolle all echoed the sentiment, which Coughlin said he was happy to hear.
“It’s a long haul and there’s a lot of hard work and tremendous sacrifice that has to go into preparing,” Coughlin, 65, said about the possibility of breaking his own record as oldest coach to win the Super Bowl. “Next year it will be our goal, as it is every year.”
Tuck compared this year’s ring to the 2007 version, which Strahan called a “10-table ring” because it was visible from 10 tables away. He said he made a number of suggestions that didn’t make the final version, including a four-finger ring for each of the team’s Super Bowl titles, small murals of individual players’ faces, and a way to honor the state of New Jersey, where the team plays its home games.
“It’s very hard to get one of these things,” Tuck joked. “Hopefully with ring three I can get a little bit more push behind some of these ideas.”
-- Editor: Rob Gloster, Dex McLuskey.