When the Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV, they broke a 42 year tradition and opted not to receive a conference championship ring.

Pittsburgh Steelers 2010 AFC Championship Watch Surfaces
First it started as a rumor in the championship-ring collecting community back in 2011 when no fan or collector could find pictures or references to a Steeler 2010 AFC championship ring.  The rumor was that the Steelers received watches not rings.

Last year, after being unable to confirm a ring or watch was presented, I called the Steelers headquarters and spoke to a high-level executive.  He confirmed the team voted to award watches, not rings.  He politely refused to answer my question – why they decided upon watches.

This is a very unusual break with tradition.  Back in 1969, the Colts were so upset on their loss to the underdog Jets in Super Bowl III, that they too opted for watches and not rings.  In the 42 years since, every team that lost in the super bowl received a conference championship ring.  That is until the Steelers team of 2010.

In continuing to research all I could learn about championship rings, I discovered that the players from the Steelers 2005 team were upset when they received their Super Bowl XL rings.  The reason: They were too small.  Compared to the Patriots, Buccaneers and Ravens rings, the Steelers ring was tiny.

This situation was remedied three years later when the Steelers beat the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.  The rings they received for that accomplishment were huge.

When the Steelers were getting ready to award a keepsake from the 2010 AFC Championship year, could it be that the team didn’t want to go through awarding another memento that upset the players?  The team may have been forced to go small again since the NFL has strict limits on the size of conference championship rings.  The Steelers probably had to get permission from the NFL to award watches since the league has rigid guidelines on awarding championship rings.


superbowl, super bowl and championship rings