BATON ROUGE, La. – On Tuesday night, LSU players and coaches received 3 championship rings for their historic undefeated 2019 season.
Here are the descriptions of the rings provided by LSUSports.net:
The SEC Championship ring was the first LSU won, and it features several distinctive features. First and most obviously is the color, a characteristic as unique to LSU as any other. Yellow gold and sixteen purple stones adorn the face for LSU’s 16 conference championships, and the scores of all eight conference wins in 2019 line the interior of the ring. One side features the score of the championship game in Atlanta and the text “Geaux Tigers.” The other features the owner’s name and position with another signature phrase: “One Team. One Heartbeat.” These “aren’t just slogans on the wall,” Ponamsky says, but missives Orgeron repeats constantly, mantras that guide the teams. They’re words that, like the ring that bears them, are “all about LSU,” Stringfellow says.
The CFP ring usually comes standard, but LSU, in fitting fashion, added its own distinct touch. The CFP ball logo is gold, and it sits atop each ring won every year by the season’s champion. “It was just going to be silver (around the ball), and we kind of just threw it out there: It’d be cool if we had purple stones in there,” Stringfellow says. “Nobody’s ever asked that before.” Jostens, the creator of the rings, agreed, the first time they’ve changed the top of the ring for a CFP winner. “If you ask for permission, sometimes you get it,” Ponamsky laughs. “Begging for forgiveness doesn’t get you the results that you want.”
The crown jewel of the group is the LSU-issued national championship ring. An unprecedented season deserves an unprecedented ring, and that’s exactly what the Tigers designed. Stringfellow was around for both the 2003 and 2007 design processes, which were modeled after the New England Patriots title-winning tokens. “The rings we ended up with this time look like no ring that’s ever been done,” he says. “The national championship ring is the first time they’ve done a ring that shape and size in their history.”
The top of the ring is stunning, featuring white-gold LSU stones on top of a yellow-gold rendering of the national championship trophy. Combined with the purple stones behind the trophy, it showcases all three official school colors: purple, gold, and white, a very intentional design element. “They’re our school colors,” Bourgeois says, “so let’s make it fit.”
Four stones for the four national championship programs in modern history line the edges of the top. The ring is modern in design but inspired by LSU’s tradition, drawing on design elements from not just 2003 and 2007, but also 1958. “There are other people who have walked this road before you,” Ponamsky says, “and you want to make sure that you show some deferential kind of respect to them.”
Like the 1958 ring, one side features a rendering of Tiger Stadium. “When you design the ring, you want to represent obviously the team that just won, the 2019 team, but you want it to be a history of the whole program as well,” Bourgeois says. “You want those guys from the 70s and the 60s to still be proud of what you’re doing today. So elements like Tiger Stadium will relate across the board.” The stadium is also a nod to the fans who helped drive the 2019 team to glory. “There were 102,000 people that came out to those games to support that,” Ponamsky says. “So to have Tiger Stadium on there isn’t just because it’s a pretty facade. That’s the symbol for the people that are in the stadium, that supported these guys every single time they took the field.”
On the other side of the ring is the state of Louisiana, which was imperative to Orgeron. It was also important to Burrow, too. “You look at Joe Burrow, a kid from Ohio,” Ponamsky says. “The state of Louisiana meant enough to him that on Senior Night, he would change the spelling of his last name when he runs out for senior night.. That’s him as a player on this team, and by far the leader of this team, embracing the state of Louisiana.”
Perhaps the most poignant feature is inside of the ring, where the text “LSU standard of performance” is engraved. It’s a phrase Orgeron adopted in the spring of 2019, and it’s one that embodies the team as well as any other. That it’s on the inside is not by accident, either. “It was paramount to put that on the inside, because that’s an internal thing,” Ponamsky says. “The standard performance is something that we control inside this building. That’s not something that everyone on the streets sees every single day. There’s a competition amongst everyone on this team, everything that we do, and that’s an internal thing. So for us to be able to put that on the inside and signify with that internal motivation and that internal drive, there’s symbolism in having that on the inside of the ring.”