On first glance, I mistook last year’s Super Bowl ring for an over-sized bedazzled high school class ring as the camera zoomed in on it during Super Bowl 50. I caught myself wondering why anyone would want an eyesore like that.
And then I caught myself wondering—and Googling—how much that eye sore even cost.
Let’s do some simple math. According to ESPN, the rings for last year’s winning team were $36,500 a pop. The NFL foots the bill for 150 rings for the winning team, so, depending on the ever-fluctuating cost of gold and silver, they normally spend more than $5 million. On rings.
The NFL spends $5.475 million for these rings—each year. Multiply that cost by fifty Super Bowls, and we’re looking at a grand total of $273.75 million. One ring alone costs more than a year of college for me, and it’s spent in a matter of minutes, just to remind an already well-paid football player that he’s won the Super Bowl, which could have easily been done with a $15 t-shirt.
More than 45 million Americans are living in poverty. The annual income threshold for a person living in poverty was $11,490 in 2013, and $23,550 for a family of four. In some states, a family can make as little as $25,309 while still meeting the criteria for middle class, the “average” class of America.
The price of one Super Bowl ring—essentially a glorified class ring—is greater than the net income of an average family of four. So when a Super Bowl champ wears his ring even once, he could be supporting an entire family for a year. Let that one sink in.