If they didn’t change the name of the Vince Lombardi Trophy in 1980, when Chuck Noll won a record fourth as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, there’s no need to do it now, just because Bill Belichick just won his sixth Super Bowl trophy.
There’s been a quiet movement the past few years to change the name of the trophy given to the Super Bowl winner each year to the Belichick trophy.
I’m, of course, referring to Bill Belichick, the coach of your six-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
To be fair, there hasn’t been a major groundswell of support for this change in name, but it’s been said enough times in recent years (even more than “Julian Edelman should be in the Hall of Fame”) to warrant a mid-February article crafted in its honor.
Obviously, the reason for this smattering of support for the change in name of the Super Bowl trophy is because Belichick has had the most since February of 2017 when New England won its fifth on his watch with a victory over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. And now that he has six, the sentiment may only continue to grow.
Question: was the Vince Lombardi Trophy, the official title of the Super Bowl trophy named after the legendary Green Bay Packers coach, named in Lombardi’s honor because he won the first two Super Bowls following the 1966 and 1967 seasons and then lost his life to cancer in 1970? Or was it named after Lombardi because he was the coach with the most Super Bowl victories?
Because if it was named after the head coach with the most, and it always has to be named after the head coach with the most, shouldn’t the trophy have been changed to the Chuck Noll Trophy in January of 1979, when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII, giving Noll a then record three Lombardi trophies (the five of the day)? Or, better yet, should it have been named after Noll a year later, when Pittsburgh defeated the Rams in Super Bowl XIV, giving the coach four—two more than any other head coach (the six of the 1980s)?
Speaking of January of 1979, from that point until February of 2017—just over 38 years—Noll either had or was tied for the most Lombardi trophies in the history of the National Football League. Yet, there was never even a mention of naming the Super Bowl trophy after him.
Poor Chuck. Poor Emperor. Other than a street on the North Side and a field at St. Vincent College, it’s hard to find many things named after him (which may be a good thing, since they might actually have spelled it “Knoll,” as in the Chuck Knoll Award).
Actually, upon doing research for this article, I was pleased to discover that the Pro Football Hall of Fame (if the NFL never thought to name anything after him, I’m glad someone else did) created an award for Noll two summers ago called the Chuck Noll Hall of Fame“Game for Life” Award, an honor given annually to youth football programs that “exemplify the values of football: commitment, integrity, courage, respect, and excellence.”
Knowing how much the late Noll, who passed away in 2014, cherished and valued teaching, he’d probably appreciate such an honor being named after him.
You can’t change the name of a trophy every time some coach or player gets the most of something. You find other ways to honor the player or coach. In Belichick’s case, maybe you could name an award after him that highlighted the team that had everything together and was on the details—film study, perfect meeting and practice attendance, no social media nonsense, etc, etc: “The Bill Belichick Most Buttoned Up Award.”
Anyway, in all seriousness, let’s forget about the idea of changing names of trophies. For one thing, it’s unnecessary. For another thing, it kind of erases or hides the legacies of the great people who helped make the National Football League the global sensation it is today.
No trophy should ever do that.