What it Feels Like to Wear a Super Bowl Ring
Every young football player grows up wishing one day they'd win the Super Bowl. I'm no different. Actually, that's not true, I am. I have zero football skills.
No matter how you calculate my football career highlights, they will never add up to slipping a Super Bowl ring on my finger. Sixth-grade flag football and one very physically painful season of high school football.
But on November 10, 2015, that dream came true. And to make it even more special, it was a Super Bowl ring owned by a player I've admired since he played for my hometown University of Wisconsin Badgers. Rockford East High School alum Ira Matthews played with the Oakland Raiders in 1981 when they won the Super Bowl. On that November day, Ira came to Rockford to promote the Super Bowl's 50th anniversary.
What it Feels Like to Wear a Super Bowl Ring:
I couldn't stop staring at the enormous ring on his finger. Finally I just asked if I could put it on. Surprisingly he said yes, but there was a catch and I'll get to that later.
When he reached across the mixing board to hand me that ring and placed it in my hand, I pretty much froze. the size of the diamonds alone was more than I could stand. I like diamonds as you'll soon see in the picture, but this ring was stacked with them.
It seemed impossible that a ring of this size (and ridiculous weight) would be comfortable on my finger, but guess what? It felt perfectly at home on my finger. Yes I said that. I feel like it deserved to be on my hand. Not because of any football prowess of my own but because I've been such a fan of this man. I ditched my Green Bay Packers in 1979 at the age of 11 and became an Oakland Raiders fan until Ira left the team in 1981. I even tricked out my entire bedroom in black and silver. Thanks mom for buying me all those Raider's room decorations, including the sheets and comforter for Christmas.
The 10 minutes I wore that Super Bowl ring were some of the coolest minutes of my life. So cool it didn't matter that a good 'old-fashioned street shakedown' took place before I was allowed to put it on my finger. Yes, Ira Matthews shook me down for 20 bucks before he would let me put it on. I thought he was kidding, but the look on his face made it very clear, I needed to come up the money or all I was going to do was look at it from a distance.
Ira's East High School teammate and current East High teacher Terry Giardini was also in the studio that morning and he told me later that Ira makes everybody give him $20 to try on the ring.