6 Reasons People Gave Up Their Super Bowl Rings

Former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor’s ring from Super Bowl XXV fetched $230,401 in an auction over the weekend. Over the years, several athletes and at least one owner have relinquished ownership of their championship bling for various reasons. Here are some examples.

1. Because a Little Girl Made You

In 2008, New England Patriots safety Je’Rod Cherry was challenged by a girl at a youth conference to sell his Super Bowl XXXVI ring to raise money for charity. Cherry did, helping raise nearly $150,000. “I do not disrespect the idea of what the ring represents,” Cherry told reporters. “I tried to elevate it to something even better.” It probably made Cherry’s decision to sell the ring a little easier knowing that he still had two others.

2. For Good Dental Hygiene

Legendary cornerback Lester Hayes won two rings with the Raiders and took out a loan on one of them to pay for an emergency dental procedure in 2000. According to Hayes, his cash was tied up in a “Charles Barkley-kind of bet” and he didn’t want to tip his family and friends off that he had a gambling addiction by asking for help. When Hayes failed to return to the pawn shop to claim the ring within the requisite seven-day window, it sold for more than $18,000 on eBay. Hayes has since purchased a replica Super Bowl ring from the manufacturer. “It taught me a valuable lesson,” he said. “To stop gambling.”

3. Because Vladimir Putin Wanted It

In 2005, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and a group of American executives met with Russian president Vladimir Putin. When Kraft showed Putin his latest Super Bowl ring, which was encrusted with 124 diamonds, Putin put the ring on his finger and then in his pocket.

The Russian media initially speculated that Kraft had not meant to give the ring to Putin, but Kraft released a statement the following day that quelled those concerns: “The Russian president was clearly taken with its uniqueness,” Kraft said. “At that point, I decided to give him the ring as a symbol of the respect and admiration that I have for the Russian people and the leadership of President Putin.” We're not convinced.

4. For Drug Money

In 1999, lawyer John O’Quinn surprised Dexter Manley with the Super Bowl ring the Washington Redskins star had previously sold to buy cocaine. “I believe in miracles,” Manley said, “and it’s an act of God that I have my ring back in my possession.” Manley returned the ring to O’Quinn, a friend who had previously employed the defensive lineman, for safekeeping until he fully overcame his addiction. After O’Quinn died in a car crash in 2009, Manley recovered the ring from O’Quinn’s estate.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Joe Gilliam also sold his Super Bowl ring to buy drugs before changing his ways and becoming a counselor for drug abusers. In a case of good fortune, John Cannick, a Boston businessman who overcame a drug addiction, recovered the ring and returned it to Gilliam.

5. Because the IRS Came Calling

In 1984, the IRS confiscated the 1978 Super Bowl ring belonging to Dallas Cowboys star Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson and auctioned it for $11,000. Former Steelers running back Rocky Bleier sold his four Super Bowl rings in the 1990s to help pay back taxes. Former Raiders punter Ray Guy was ordered by a judge to sell his three Super Bowl rings after filing for bankruptcy last year. The rings fetched $96,000 in an online auction.

6. Plain Old Theft

In 1987, a man who identified himself as “Bill” put the following classified ad in several newspapers across the country: "Super Bowl Ring, (NU) 1. Best offer. Write: PO Box 8116, Fort Collins, Colo. 80526." Former Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene wrote the man and got his story.

Bill had bought the ring for $75 from a man who had reportedly found it on the floor of a Green Bay bar. Bill told Greene that the ring was engraved with the name Tommy Joe Crutcher, a second-string linebacker with the Packers. The best offer he had received was $18,000. Greene called Crutcher, who had purchased a replacement ring for $700 after his original ring was stolen by one of three women he had invited back to his hotel one night. When Greene alerted Crutcher to the ad, he responded, “I’m nostalgic, but I ain’t $18,000 worth. … Tell him I’m not a buyer, but good luck in selling it.”

About Super Bowl Rings

The NFL covers the cost for up to 150 Super Bowl rings at $5,000 per ring; teams pick up any additional costs. In 2009, for instance, the Pittsburgh Steelers bought every one of their full-time employees a Super Bowl ring, though the rings for the lower-level employees had less gold and fewer diamonds.

Jostens, which also designs yearbooks and class rings, has worked with team officials to design the majority of the Super Bowl rings. While diamonds remain the most popular gem, emeralds, aquamarines, rubies and sapphires have also been used. Rings typically feature the Lombardi trophy and are often engraved with the final score in addition to the player’s name.

Good Luck, Gritty: 8 Sports Mascots that Struck Out

Bruce Bennett, Getty Images
Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

This September, Philadelphia introduced us to Gritty, the new mascot of their hockey team, the Flyers. A spiritual cousin to the town's other brightly colored eccentric, the Phillie Phanatic, Gritty is already beloved by his city and the internet alike for his outrageous (though sometimes frightening) appearance and antics. But not all mascots make their way into the hearts of the masses the way Gritty has—and not all of them should. Here are eight mascots who struck out from across pro sports.

1. DANDY // NEW YORK YANKEES

A game at Yankee Stadium is usually more about the business of baseball than a fun day for the family—but starting in 1979, a pinstriped, mustachioed, Phanatic-like creature named Dandy could be found roaming through the stands at Yankee Stadium, in an attempt to delight children in the crowd. His weird Big Bird body was made entirely out of a furry, classic Yankees uniform and was accented with a bright orange handlebar moustache and orange hair sticking out from under his sideways ballcap. Needless to say, Dandy disappeared into obscurity quickly; by 1981, he was toast. In fact, in 1998, longtime Yankees owner George Steinbrenner claimed he had "no recollection" of Dandy's existence.

2. BOOMER // COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

In 2010, the Columbus NHL franchise introduced Boomer the Cannon, another mustachioed mascot, along with their then-new alternate uniforms. Though Boomer was made in the image of the goal cannon in the Blue Jackets arena, his drab color scheme and generally phallic appearance were off-putting to fans. After his less than stellar reception, Boomer was "unceremoniously resigned mid-season," according to Columbus Alive, the city's entertainment magazine.

3. CHIEF NOC-A-HOMA // ATLANTA BRAVES

One of the longer lasting mascots on our list, and certainly the most offensive, Chief Noc-A-Homa represented the Atlanta Braves for 20 years (though he was first introduced in 1953, when the team was in Milwaukee). One of the many examples of objectionable depictions of Native Americans in professional sports, Chief was given a teepee in the stadium that he was meant to emerge from to perform a ceremonial dance when the Braves would, uh, knock a homer. After disputes over payment, the third Chief Noc-A-Homa was retired in 1986 and hasn't been seen since.

4. BONNIE BREWER // MILWAUKEE BREWERS

The Milwaukee Brewers have one of the most vibrant and recognizable mascot cultures in pro sports with their popular sausage race during the sixth inning. However, long before the sprinting meat, there was Bonnie Brewer. Bonnie, clad in lederhosen and a Brewers hat, would emerge in the middle of the fifth inning to help the grounds crew clean up the infield, sweeping each base clean. She would also give the opposing team's third base coach a kiss on the cheek when passing. As antiquated as the role sounds now, the women who played Bonnie fondly remember their experience. "For Pete's sake," Anne Haines, the final woman to play Bonnie, quipped this year, "it got a woman on the field!"

5. PIERRE THE PELICAN // NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

True, Pierre still roams the stands of the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, but not in his original form. When Pierre was first introduced in October 2013 as the new mascot of the Pelicans basketball team, he had deep, dark pupils and a red beak, presumably colored with the blood of his enemies and prey. Kids and adults alike were rightfully put off by Pierre's appearance, and almost immediately the team announced that he needed "plastic surgery" to fix a "broken beak." Looks like he got an eye lift and hair cut while he was at it, too.

6. CRAZY CRAB // SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

All of these mascots were retired, at least in part, due to their lack of popularity, but none has been as downright hated and abused as the Giants' Crazy Crab, who only served one season in 1984. The hate was by design, oddly enough—fans were encouraged to boo and throw objects at the Crab, and players would push him around, too. Crazy Crab's suit had to be lined with a fiberglass shell to protect from actor Wayne Doba from the various bottles, batteries, and urine-filled balloons thrown at him. The legend Crazy Crab left is one well-known. ESPN produced a 30 for 30 short on his tenure as an "anti-mascot," and when he made a quick return in 2008, he was greeted with sneers, jeers, and beers to the face.

7. THUNDER // GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

What did Thunder ever have to do with the Warriors? Good question! No one really knows!

Thunder's blue physique and lightning-bolted head stood out as the proud logo and mascot for the Warriors in the '00s before their elegant redesign and rise to prominence. A sort of statuesque, superhero Adonis, Thunder was known for his high-flying stunt baskets and halftime shows in Oracle Arena. Unfortunately, he had to be let go in 2008 when the Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City and renamed their team the Thunder. The Warriors haven't had a mascot since.

8. METTLE THE MULE // NEW YORK METS

The anthropomorphic baseballs that are Mr. and Mrs. Met are quite possibly the loveliest couple in the MLB. But once upon a time before the team moved to their current Citi Field location, Mettle the Mule walked the foul line at Shea Stadium in 1979. Given his name by a fan, Mettle was meant to embody the "spirit, ardor, stamina, and courage" of the New York Mets. Mettle has been forgotten in large part because he was a real mule, not a goofy mascot, and also, almost no one went to Mets games during the 1979 season.

BONUS: KING CAKE BABY // NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

Apparently New Orleans is gunning to be the horror capital of the mascot world. Not to be outdone by Pierre the Pelican's original, frightening appearance, the team also introduced the King Cake Baby, a cartoonish, nightmare-inducing giant newborn meant to emulate the good luck charm found in the traditional Mardi Gras pastry. Each year, King Cake Baby terrorizes NOLA during Mardi Gras (even if he often comes bearing colorful king cake). Good luck sleeping, New Orleans!

9 Celebrities Who Have Written Comic Books

Dia Dipasupil, Getty Images
Dia Dipasupil, Getty Images

A career onscreen or in music doesn't necessarily translate to talent with a pen, but the comic book industry is a great place for celebrities to indulge their creative ideas or cut their teeth as writers. Here are just a few of the names that have graced comic covers to the surprise of everyone.

1. MARK HAMILL

Mark Hamill attends the premiere of Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm's 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' at the El Capitan Theatre on May 10, 2018 in Los Angeles, California
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

If you don't know Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, you know him as the voice of the Joker from the DC Animated Universe. And if you don't know him from that, then you know him as the proprietor of one of the greatest Twitter feeds known to man. But if you don't know him from any of those place, you probably remember him as the guy who wrote The Black Pearl for Dark Horse.

2. RASHIDA JONES

Rashida Jones is a student of the Carrie Fisher school of being beloved onscreen, but doing far more behind the scenes than anyone realizes. The former Parks and Recreation star is a prolific screenwriter and editor who made her comic book debut with Frenemy of the State under the independent Oni Press label.

The story, which follows a CIA agent who uses the guise of a tabloid celebrity to complete her missions, was optioned for a movie deal by Universal in 2009. While Jones is on board to write the script, there's been no real development news on the project in the last decade.

3. AND 4. BILL HADER AND SETH MEYERS

Executive producer/actors Bill Hader and Seth Meyers speak onstage during the 'Documentary Now!' panel discussion at the AMC/IFC Networks portion of the 2015 Summer TCA Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

This Saturday Night Live dream team may have parted ways on television back in 2013, but they're remained good friends and regular collaborators. In 2009, the pair teamed up to make a Marvel one-shot, Spider-Man: The Short Halloween.

A riff on Batman: The Long Halloween, the story they wrote involved Spider-man being knocked out of commission in a Greenwich Village costume parade, leaving a drunk reveler in a Spider-man costume to take his place.

5. WILLIAM SHATNER

Even since Star Trek star ​William Shatner wrote the TekWar novels, he has made it a hobby to personally expand the franchise and universe through more books, television movies, a trading card game, and, yes, a comic book tie-in series that Shatner himself penned. It's about as crazy as a comic written by William Shatner sounds.

6. JOHN CLEESE

John Cleese attends the 55th Rose d'Or Award at Axica-Kongress- und Tagungszentrum on September 13, 2016 in Berlin, Germany
Clemens Bilan, Getty Images

If there's one thing that Brits do better than any other culture, it's cultural self-deprecation. The entire style of British comedy is based squarely on disillusionment with their own environment and an inability to take any of it all too seriously—an attitude that was clearly evident in the rambunctious lads from Monty Python.

John Cleese, a core member of the group, brought this style and sense of humor to Superman: True Brit, a comic that pondered what Superman might be like if his rocket had landed in the British countryside instead of rural Kansas. The result: Superman rarely uses his powers because "What would the neighbors think?"

7. KEVIN SMITH

Clerks creator Kevin ​Smith has never made a secret of his love of the comic world, which is part of what has helped him become a geek culture icon. Using both his celebrity status and legitimate writing talents, Smith has had a prolific career in comics both as a regular and guest writer.

The Fatman on Batman host's biggest accolades include Batman: The Widening Gyre, Batman '66 Meets the Green Hornet, and a slew of titles tying into his View Askewniverse including the fabled Bluntman and Chronic series.

8. GERARD WAY

Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance performs at Roseland Ballroom on December 3, 2010 in New York City
Cory Schwartz, Getty Images

Gerard Way, former lead singer for My Chemical Romance, has had his hands in the comic book industry since 1993, when he was credited with the creation and writing of the short-lived On Raven's Wings. He wouldn't try his hand at the medium again until 2007, when he released the critically-acclaimed The Umbrella Academy series.

After his big break in the industry wheelhouse, Way has been courted by DC and Vertigo and, in 2014, began writing for Marvel's Edge of the Spider-Verse.

9. PHIL "CM PUNK" BROOKS

Phil "CM Punk" Brooks may have burned all his bridges with the WWE, but he's still one of the most accomplished and experienced wrestlers in the world. With professional wrestling essentially being live-action comics, it makes sense that he'd be able to translate his in-ring mic skills to a side job writing comics.

He penned 2015's Thor Annual #1, where Loki makes the God of Thunder wrestle Hulk in a luchador mask, and has continued to periodically partner with Marvel since.

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