History of the Trophy

When you are a competitor, your main objective is to be the best at whatever you do. Winning starts to become an addiction, but it can be considered the greatest addiction. For those who were never good enough or did not have the passion to compete, they have a favorite team that will always stand behind. We always want to be the ones to hoist the trophy at season’s end, or our favorite team. What is lost today is the history or the details behind the trophy.

Vince Lombardi Trophy

The winning team of the NFL Super Bowl earns the Lombardi. It got its’ name from the late Green Bay Packers head coach, Vince Lombardi, who coached his team to the first two Super Bowl victories. Prior to being named the Lombardi Trophy, it was simply called the World Professional Championship. After his death in 1970, the league changed the name to commemorate Lombardi.

Pete Rozelle Trophy

The MVP of the Super Bowl is awarded the Pete Rozelle. The league has been awarding the trophy since 1990 and was named after the former commissioner. Rozelle (1960-1989) is credited with making the NFL one of the most successful leagues in the world.

The Heisman 

The award was created by the Downtown Athletic Club in 1935 to recognize the most valuable college football player east of the Mississippi. After the death in October 1936 of the Club’s athletic director, John Heisman, the award was named in his honor and broadened to include players west of the Mississippi.

The Larry O’Brien Trophy

The winning team of the NBA Finals receives this award. O’Brien was the NBA commissioner from 1975 to 1984. He brought NBA games to national television with CBS and merged the ABA into the NBA. When he retired in 1984, the trophy was renamed after O’Brien. It was formerly the Walter A. Brown Trophy,  named after the founder of the Boston Celtics the winningest franchise in the NBA.

Bill Russell Trophy

Since the 1969 NBA Finals, the Finals MVP has been awarded. The award was named after former Celtics center Bill Russell, who won the NBA title an unprecedented 11 times. After all, he is the winningest athlete in American sports history.

The Stanley Cup 

It is the oldest existing trophy to be awarded to a professional sports franchise. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) considers it to be one of the “most important championships available to the sport”.

The trophy was named after Lord Stanley of Preston, former Governor General of Canada who donated it as an award to Canada’s top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. The first Cup was awarded in 1893 to Montreal HC professional teams first became eligible to challenge for the Stanley Cup in 1906. In 1915, the two professional ice hockey organizations, the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), reached an agreement in which their respective champions would face each other annually for the Stanley Cup.

After a series of league mergers, it was established as the de facto championship trophy of the NHL in 1926. Next, it was also the de jure NHL championship prize in 1947. Unlike other sports leagues, the league winners do not keep the Stanley Cup as teams keep it for the summer and a few days into the new season.

Conn Smythe Trophy

The MVP of the Stanley Cup is awarded the Smythe trophy. The trophy was introduced in 1964 by Maple Leaf Gardens Limited to honor Conn Smythe, the former owner, general manager and coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. There are five winners who were not on the winning team each of the other north American four. Hockey has one such winner like that.

Commissioner’s Trophy

This trophy is the only North American championship of the four major sports to not be named after a particular person. The commissioner cup was once the Dauvray Cup (named after actress Helen Dauvray) was awarded to the winner of the World Series between the National League and the American Association from 1887 to 1890.

From 1891 to 1893, when a solitary major league remained, to the winner of the National League pennant. The Dauvray Cup was to be held by the victorious team, and only gave away if a new team was crowned champ. The Dauvray Cup vanished following the 1893 series and has never been seen again. From 1894 to 1897, the Temple Cup was awarded to the winner of a postseason contest between the two top National League clubs.

Willie Mays World Series MVP

Named after one of the greatest players of all-time Willie Mays and “the catch”, one of the greatest plays in MLB history. Although it is named after Mays, he never won the World Series MVP himself.

The Wannamaker Trophy

Rodman Wannamaker took over his father’s Philadelphia store and transformed it into the early American department store chain Wannamaker’s. In 1916, he held a meeting in New York for 35 top golfers and business executives. That was the first meeting of the Professional Golfers’ Association of America, the PGA, for which Wannamaker put up a $2,500 investment. When a golfer wins the PGA championship, they take home the Wannamaker.

The Grey Cup

Canada takes as much pride in their sports as much as USA does, especially hockey, basketball, and football. Canada is so prideful when it comes to football that they made their own league, the Canadian Football League (CFL). The league’s trophy is the Grey Cup.

The Grey Cup was commissioned in 1909 by the Earl Grey, the former Canadian governor general. He originally wanted to donate it to the country’s senior amateur hockey championship. The Allan Cup was later donated for that purpose, Grey instead made his trophy available as the “Canadian Dominion Football Championship” of Canadian football. It is also the name of the trophy and the championship game.

So many trophies with so much history behind them all. If anything, you certainly got your history lesson for the day. Maybe you will have a newfound appreciation regarding the trophies.



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