Cover Story: The champion’s ring

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Fishers resident and former NFL player Brandon Gorin talks about his Super Bowl victories and what the game could mean for Indy

At 6-feet-6-inches tall and 300 pounds playing weight, nothing about Brandon Gorin is small.

Still, on the rare occasions he brings out his Super Bowl rings – both won with the New England Patriots, the first in their victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII and the second against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX – it’s not Gorin’s size people notice.

At 4.06 ounces, and sporting 124 diamonds, the Patriots’ Super Bowl XXXIX ring is the heaviest champion’s ring ever produced. It broke the record previously held by the Patriots’ Super Bowl XXXVIII ring – 3.8 ounces and 104 diamonds. When Gorin wears them both, it’s an astonishing sight.

Since his former team, and many former teammates, will be competing for a fourth ring at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis against the New York Giants, Gorin sat down with Current to talk football, Super Bowl and what the Big Game’s presence could mean for the city.

There’s a lot of hype about the Super Bowl coming to town, so much so that it makes you wonder if the event is being overinflated. You’ve been on both sides of the event as a player and spectator. What can we expect to see?

Gorin: “It’s basically the biggest show on Earth when it comes here. Nothing gets the media coverage the Super Bowl does. It’s not just the game; it’s the whole week and a half. The game is just the pinnacle of it.  There are people who come with no intention of going to the games. They just want to be around the energy of the Super Bowl.”

Is it the same on the players’ end?

Gorin: “I know when I was playing, we were pretty isolated. As the week starts, there are going to be curfews and practice and film that keeps them on a regular schedule. And they’re going to be secluded in the hotel. Everyone outside is there to party and have a good time … but the players are here to win a game. I do remember sitting in the hotel and turning on the TV, and everything was all day, every day, the Super Bowl.”

You’ve gotten to block for two all-star quarterbacks in your career: Drew Brees while you were both at Purdue, and Tom Brady with the Patriots. What was that like?

Gorin: “As far as Brady, he’s an ultra-competitive guy. I think that’s the difference-maker in him. He’s obviously talented, but he’s willing to put in the work too. There’s also a level of confidence he’s been able to bring throughout his career. They’re very similar as far as their competitiveness. They both had a very good shot of being here. My ultimate game would have been New Orleans and New England.”

Having played in the NFL, not to mention winning two Super Bowls, can you even just simply watch a football game anymore?

Gorin: “It’s hard for me to just watch the game for what it is. I find myself watching linemen, listening to the snap counts to see if I can tell what play they called. A lot of those guys I played with or against. Part of me misses it. Part of me is glad I’m done, when I woke up, and I’m not sore.”

Beyond the enormous rings, do you feel like there’s something different about players who’ve been in a Super Bowl, whether they won or lost? Do people look at you differently, are you more recognizable?

Gorin: “There’s something special about it above just playing in the NFL. There’s a lot of people who may not have watched a game all year, but they’re sure going to watch the Super Bowl.
But for players, I remember (Patriots’ Coach Bill Belichick) said one time, and it sticks with me, ‘You know, people talk about defending the championship. Don’t let that come into your mind. We already won the championship. That banner is never coming down. Play like you haven’t won anything. It’s a whole new season.’”

 

More on the rings

After the Super Bowl, players and staff from the winning team work with a ring manufacturer to create a signature design for the ring. The NFL pays for up to 150 rings, at $5,000 per ring, for the winning team – though some recent rings, like the one created for Super Bowl XXXVI, have been valued at $15,000 or more.

• The largest ring ever made was for Chicago Bears player William “The Refrigerator” Perry, who ordered a size 25 for his Super Bowl XX ring. The ring was large enough to pass a half-dollar through.
• The heaviest ring ever made was the Patriots’ Super Bowl XXXIX champion’s ring, weighing in at 4.06 ounces.
• Bob Hayes, a former receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, is the only NFL player to ever win an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl ring. Hayes won two gold medals at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics for the 100-meter dash and 400-meter relay squad. He won his Super Bowl ring with the Cowboys in Super Bowl VI.
• Neal Dahlen, an administrator for the San Francisco 49ers and general manager of the Denver Broncos from 1999-2002, is the record-holder for most Super Bowl rings at seven. He tops only six individuals to ever earn six rings, among them “Mean Joe” Greene, Pittsburgh head coach Chuck Noll and Mike Woicik, a strength and conditioning coach for the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots.

 

By Jordan Fischer
jordan@youarecurrent.com

Jordan is the managing editor of Current in Fishers.

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