"Cut the s--t. Get us a big ring."
Rocky Bleier's words to the Rooney family paid off, as the Steelers Super Bowl XIII ring dwarfed Pittsburgh's prior two championship rings in terms of size and diamonds.
But is it the best of the Steelers Super Bowl rings?
Andy Russell prefers his Super Bowl IX ring over the one he won the following year against Dallas, the reason being because it is the first championship ring in Steelers history. It's certainly a conservative ring, but not dull. It's a classy, simple ring that is very similar to the Dolphin's Super Bowl VII ring that culminated their undefeated season in 1972. My favorite part of this ring is that includes each postseason victory on one side that obviously includes the team's 24-13 win over Oakland in what Joe Greene said was Pittsburgh's most important win of the decade.
Pittsburgh's Super Bowl X ring is interesting; there's really no other Super Bowl ring like it. For me, this ring is like that song you initially don't like until it starts to grow on you the more you hear it on the radio. I used to not care for this ring, but after seeing it more and more over the years, it's grown on me quite a bit. My favorite part of this ring is the underlying words "World Champions" above and below the mini Vince Lombardi trophy and the two diamonds representing Pittsburgh's back-to-back Super Bowls.
Following Oakland's win in Super Bowl XI, Raiders coach John Madden told Oakland owner Al Davis that he wanted the team's Super Bowl ring to eclipse the other previous Super Bowl rings in terms of both size and glitz. It's safe to say that Davis delivered, and to me, Oakland set the standard in regards to Super Bowl rings that followed.
The Cowboys followed suit the following year with a ring that was truly ahead of it's time. Following Pittsburgh's win the following year over Dallas in Super Bowl XIII, the Rooneys and Steelers raised the bar even higher with my favorite Super Bowl ring of all-time. Not only is it big with a plethora of diamonds, it's three biggest diamonds symbolize both the Steelers logo and the amount of Super Bowl victories the team had won to that point. The fact that this ring also commemorates Pittsburgh's win over Dallas that cemented their case as the team of the 70's only adds to this ring's mystique.
Pittsburgh's Super Bowl XIV ring's message is pretty simple and easy to see: "Yeah, we have four Super Bowl titles, you don't." In fact, no other franchise had more than two Super Bowl wins at that time, so it's pretty clear that the Steelers wanted their fourth title to be the symbol of this ring, a celebration of what the franchise had accomplished over the previous six years. Besides the ring's clear, symbolic imagery, I love the Super Bowl logo encrusted on its side with the score of the game underneath. The ring has a simple look compared to the Super Bowl XIII ring, but like Super Bowl X, it's unique in the fact that there's no other ring like it.
The "One for the Thumb" finally came to fruition following the Steelers' win over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. This ring reminds me of the one the 49ers won after becoming the first franchise to win five Super Bowls following Super Bowl XXIX (which Pittsburgh could have prevented the 49ers from winning if it hadn't biffed against the Chargers in the '94 AFC Championship Game). Still, despite Dallas also claiming a fifth Super Bowl title a decade earlier, it still meant something to be just one of three franchises to have accomplished that feat. Jerome Bettis, one of the players included in the ring's design, wanted the four previous Super Bowls won to be apart of this ring. This ring is just pure class; not too big, not too flashy while including each part of what a Super Bowl ring should have. It's the Honda Accord of Super Bowl rings, better than your average ring that gets the job done without being terribly flashy.
If the Super Bowl XL was is an Accord, the Super Bowl XLIII ring is a Maserati. It's everything the Super Bowl XL ring isn't; it's huge, studded with diamonds, and extremely flashy. I'm sure the look of this ring has to do with the fact that Pittsburgh's win over Arizona made them the first franchise to capture six Super Bowl championships. And like the Super Bowl XIII ring, it's clear the Rooney's hold being the top Super Bowl winner in high regard. It's a great ring, but the Super Bowl XIII ring is still the top dog on my list.
What's your favorite Super Bowl ring of this group? There's no bad answer, especially if your answer is the next ring the Steelers win, which is hopefully happening next year following Super Bowl L.