Crystal football makes a stop at Kinnick

It's the AFCA coaches trophy, but you know it as the crystal football

The AFCA Coaches’ Trophy at The Gazette Iowa City bureau in Iowa City on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
The AFCA Coaches’ Trophy at The Gazette Iowa City bureau in Iowa City on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The trophy is called this “The American Football Coaches Association Trophy presented by Amway.” You hear that and you can’t really picture it in your head.

You know the “crystal football” when you see it. The AFCA Trophy presented by Amway is the crystal football. Now, you can picture it in your head.

“It’s an icon,” AFCA spokeswoman Ginnie McSpadden said. “Its nickname is the ‘Symbol of Supremacy in college football.’ It’s been around since 1986. So many coaches have hoisted it and had that iconic moment with it. Whenever you think of the national championship, you always think of this crystal ball, which is the coaches trophy.”

The AFCA trophy made a tour stop at Kinnick Stadium this weekend. Fans had a chance to snap pictures with it in the Krause Plaza in the afternoon. The trophy made it to the sidelines before the No. 10 Hawkeyes kicked off with Iowa State on Saturday evening.

McSpadden and AFCA account executives Joshua Snead and Michael Harker hustled the trophy around Eastern Iowa media outlets starting on Thursday. Kinnick was the second stop on their tour. The trophy made a stop at Iowa Memorial Union on Friday.

Last Monday, the trophy was in Orlando, Fla., for Ole Miss-Florida State. Next week, it heads to Cincinnati-Houston on Thursday and then Stanford-USC. This is the third year the trophy has been on tour.

Yes, the three are having a great time.

“We have a lot of fun in the fall,” McSpadden said with a laugh. “It’s a blast.”

Where do you put the crystal football in your trophy rankings? Think of the trophies you can picture in your mind. The Stanley Cup? The Lombardi Trophy? Maybe that big silver plate they hand out at Wimbledon?

Yes, the AFCA crew has noticed peoples’ enthusiasm being able to get a picture with the crystal football.

“That’s why we’re doing this,” McSpadden said. “The coaches trophy has been around so long (1986 was the first year). We want fans, students and everyone who watches college football every day to have access. We do get some of that ‘awe’ factor.”

This is the same trophy that will be presented to the national championship coach in January. About 600,000 people have taken pictures with it, McSpadden said.

The crystal football is made from Waterford Crystal and takes three months to produce. The entire trophy weighs around 50 pounds and sits 4 feet tall.

Here’s the answer to the question that’s nagging you: It’s worth about $30,000.

Of course, you no longer see the crystal football held up by a Gatorade-drenched head coach (you’re probably picturing Alabama head coach Nick Saban). That’s the College Football Playoff “National Championship Trophy.” You’ve seen Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Saban hoist the gold kind of cone-shaped trophy that you’re probably having a more difficult time picturing.

The CFP trophy is handmade from 24k gold, bronze, and stainless steel. It’s 26.5 inches tall. The base is formed from bronze with a hand-rubbed black patina finish and is 12 inches high.

With this being the Cy-Hawk rivalry, we can’t go without touching on the fact that there is a little bit of a rivalry between these trophies.


If the national championship ever does splice, it’ll be the AFCA trophy that does the splicing. So, it has that and iconic status going for it.

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