Skip to main content

Kansas City Chiefs Official Team Website |

Inside the Stacks: Rings of Honor

“…something you can tell your grandchildren one day.” - Lamar Hunt

"Inside the Stacks: Exploring Important Documents in Chiefs History," is a series of columns based on never-before-seen documents and correspondence from the Lamar Hunt archives including many from the founding and early days of the American Football League, the merger with the National Football League, and other historic moments up until the time of Hunt's death.

Last month, players and staff from the past season's championship winning Chiefs organization were measured for their Super Bowl rings.

The first appearance of Super Bowl rings presented to professional football's champions came shortly after the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in what was known then as the "AFL-NFL World Championship Game."

The name Super Bowl, introduced by accident by Lamar Hunt in a meeting with various NFL and AFL officials planning for the first championship game, began to officially appear "in 1968 and again in 1969," the Chiefs founder remembered. But NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle disliked the name, feeling it lacked sophistication.

So, Lamar Hunt came up with another idea. He sent a letter to Rozelle with a proposal to add prominence to the moniker: "Perhaps we should take a signal from this and feature future official items put out by the league and the Conference with the proper Roman numeral after the name 'Super Bowl.'"

His reasoning was to further establish a tie to the past and, as he offered, "add a bit of 'class' to our 'unclassy' name."


The rings soon evolved from simple diamond and gold to elaborate multi-diamond creations worthy of a Roman emperor. The designs were usually determined by the winning team's ownership, a group of players and maybe a coach. They can be as gaudy as you like, and the only requirement is that the design must include the Super Bowl logo somewhere on the ring.

While rings are often awarded to players and staff at festive celebratory occasions, Chiefs kicker Jan Stenerud remembered that he and his Super Bowl IV champion teammates received theirs in the mail.

Nevertheless, in November of 1970, Hunt took time to write to each player what was unique with the franchise's first Super Bowl ring.

"Seven oak leaves and seven laurel leaves are presented on one side of the ring," he wrote. "These signify achievement and victory.

"For your information, we chose the number seven because there were seven players who played on each of the three championship teams."

The Chiefs had won championships up to that time in 1962, 1966 and again in 1969. It would be fifty years before they won another.

Why a letter?

Hunt said he thought "this information might be a little something extra you could tell your grandchildren someday."

SOURCES: "Hunt Correspondence 1966-1970", Cabinet 16, Drawer D, Lamar Hunt to Pete Rozelle, July 19, 1970, Lamar Hunt to Jim Tyrer, November 5, 1970, Lamar Hunt to Fred Arbanas, November 5, 1970