New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft awarded Donald Trump a Super Bowl championship ring after the team’s valedictory trip to the White House in April.
Team spokesperson Stacey James told USA Today that Kraft was so impressed by the team’s first-class treatment during their April visit that he felt compelled to have a championship ring crafted for the US president in addition to the traditional gifts – a customized jersey and a helmet – they’d brought on the day.
The Patriots have made five visits to the White House after each of their five Super Bowl titles, all since the 2001 season. James said Kraft, who was one of at least seven NFL team owners who gave $1m each to Trump’s inaugural committee, said this one was the best of the five, with the most time spent with the president and the most expansive tour of the executive mansion.
The NFL pays for the cost of 150 rings for the winning team in the Super Bowl, which are distributed to players, coaches, staff members and front-office executives and typically run between $5,000 and $7,000 apiece. James told USA Today that Trump’s ring, engraved with his name by Minnesota-based manufacturer Jostens, was nearly identical to the bauble given to the players and staff.
Crafted in 10-karat white gold with a carat weight of 5.1 and lined with 283 diamonds, the team claims it’s the “largest Super Bowl ring ever created”. The design includes the Super Bowl LI logo, the game’s final score and the team’s final record of 17-2.
A series of quotes enscribed on the arbor includes: “UNEQUIVOCALLY THE SWEETEST”, “WE ARE ALL PATRIOTS” and “GREATEST COMEBACK EVER”, referencing the team’s dramatic comeback from 25 points down late in the third quarter.
Trump offered high praise of the Patriots when he received the team on the South Lawn in April, likening their record-breaking comeback to his own improbable victory in November’s election.
Trump said Kraft, old friends and neighbors for years in Palm Beach, and the longtime coach Bill Belichick had “built a culture dedicated to winning”.
He added: “Whether you’re trying to win a Super Bowl or rebuild our country, as coach Belichick would say, there are no days off.”
Kraft was equally concilitory when he took the lecturn with Trump standing directly behind him.
The Patriots owner said: “A very good friend of mine for over 25 years, a man who is as mentally tough and hard-working as anybody I know, launched a campaign for the presidency against 16 career politicians, facing odds almost as long as we faced in the fourth quarter.”
Kraft turned to look at Trump, who smiled. “He persevered to become the 45th president of the United States.”
He added: “It’s a distinct honor for us to celebrate what was unequivocally our sweetest championship with a very good friend and somebody whose mental toughness and strength I greatly admire.”