September 17, 2018

A former Saints employee lets fans take pictures with his prized Super Bowl ring before each home game:

Barra Birrcher Saints Super Bowl ring

Barra Birrcher spent 36 years behind the scenes with the Saints. He retired in 2007, two years before the Saints won their first and only Super Bowl ring.

Birrcher was involved in everything for the Saints – from running the small marketing department (one guy and a secretary) to rounding up talent for halftime shows and hiring police escorts for the team.

Birrcher arrived in 1971, the same year as Archie Manning. The years that followed were often rough for a sports fan and front office staff for the team.

But when the team’s fortunes changed, owner Tom Benson made sure there were two seats at the Super Bowl for retiree Birrcher and his wife, Kay.

And when the Saints beat the Colts to win the Super Bowl, Benson made sure his loyal employee was rewarded with the ultimate thank-you, a player-sized Super Bowl ring.

The owner of the Saints is not the only class act in this story. Birrcher can be found at Saints home games, before kick-off in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Hall of Fame; giving a long line of fans the chance to try on his Super Bowl ring and take selfies with it.

The 14-karat yellow gold bauble weighs in at more than 2 ounces. It’s encrusted with diamonds around a fleur-de-lis, and engraved with team mottos and the score and date of the fateful Super Bowl, XLIV.

In the bustling Hall of Fame before a recent preseason game, fans snapped selfies with the trophy, the women holding it to their cheek, the men making a fist near their jaw.

Birrcher truly enjoys sharing the love.

“I was very fortunate to get a ring from Mr. Benson,” he said. “And it’s a nice thing to share the ring with everybody, because we feel it belongs to everybody.”

Birrcher is a current member of the board of directors of the Saints Hall of Fame, which he notes is an independent organization not connected to the NFL team. Despite being retired, he is booked up with obligations to the Kiwanis and Lions clubs. He’s especially proud of a project the Lions do every fall, screening kids free of charge for eye problems.

“After the season, it goes into the lockbox. I don’t wear it. It’s very heavy,” he said.

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