Cheerleaders for the National Football League (NFL) will occasionally get Super Bowl rings, depending on the policy of the team's owner. In some cases, they might get bigger and better jewelry than the players (like a giant pendant). To better understand how the system works, it is important to understand who pays for the rings.
The Brokers of Super Bowl Rings
As this report details, the NFL gives $5,000 per ring up to 150 rings for the team who wins the Super Bowl. In today's gold and diamond market, $5,000 doesn't get you much, especially when you consider how many diamonds a Super Bowl ring has on it. (The rings for the 2013 Seahawks team each had 183 diamonds.) For this reason, the owners are given the following options by the NFL, which determines whether a team's cheerleaders will get rings:
- The owner can choose to acquire fancier rings than what the NFL's $5,000 allotment would buy, but the owners must pay the extra costs. Owners always do pay these costs, and they tend to go wild with their rings to outdo the other owners.
- The owner can purchase more than 150 rings, but they must absorb the extra cost incurred by the jeweler (who is usually Jostens or Tiffany and Co.).
- This is the key point: the owner also has the freedom to give those 150+ rings to whomever the owner chooses. They're not limited to just giving rings to the players. This is why occasionally cheerleaders will get a ring.
Recent Examples of Team Policies
Examples in recent NFL history show how team owners find creative ways to reward their cheerleaders, even when Super Bowl rings aren't in the equation. Alternatively, in some cases, the cheerleaders find their own ways to commemorate the championship, or the owner gives the cheerleaders something better than a ring (see the Patriots example for that one).
2016 Denver Broncos: Rings for Everyone
When the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 in 2016, the owners gave official Super Bowl rings to the cheerleaders as well. In fact, not only did the cheerleaders get rings, but so did the trainers and the team's beat reporter. Talk about a team mentality!
2013 Baltimore Ravens: Cheerleaders Buy Their Own
The cheerleaders for the Ravens were not so lucky as the Broncos cheerleaders when the Ravens won Super Bowl 47. In an interview with Esquire, a Ravens cheerleader named Alyssa explained (in the final question) that they would not likely be getting rings (only the players and front office), but the cheerleaders would be buying rings for each other to commemorate it.
2015 New England Patriots: Something Better Than Rings
The Patriots cheerleaders didn't get rings, they got something better from the owner: huge diamond-encrusted pendants that have all the bling and symbols that the official Super Bowl ring have and more, along with a message inscribed that says "We are all Patriots." (The players were likely quite jealous.)
2010 New Orleans Saints: Rings for a Good Cause
Although the Saints cheerleaders did not get a ring when the team won Super Bowl 44 in 2010, the owner did some noble things with their rings:
- The team gave an official ring to former special teams player Steve Gleason who had retired before the Saints had won their Super Bowl in 2010. Gleason had been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), and the team wanted to honor him.
- The same year, the team gave one of their rings to a raffle to raise money for those affected by the Gulf oil spill that year. The ring raised $1.4 million for local charities.
In truth, owners agonize over who should get rings because the owners know some people closely linked to the team and its operations inevitably get left out and feelings get hurt. But every team has to draw the line somewhere.
Super Bowl Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend (Sometimes)
The final example with the Saints demonstrates how much freedom owners have with their Super Bowl rings. They can give their rings to anyone. Sometimes cheerleaders get in on the Super Bowl bling, but sometimes not. In the latter case, at least they can buy unofficial replica rings if they really want to.