Photo by Christine Troyke
Jon Stinchcomb lived out every football player's dream in February when he won the Super Bowl. But one of the sweeter rewards of the victory didn't come until mid-June.
That's when the Parkview grad and his New Orleans Saints teammates were given their Super Bowl XLIV rings, a lasting and tangible prize for knocking off Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the world's biggest football game.
"It is still pretty unreal," said Stinchcomb, in town to promote his UGA Countdown to Kickoff fundraiser. "We just had the ring ceremony and to finally have a Super Bowl ring on my hand, it is setting in a little bit but it is still something that you dream of.
"I remember when me and (my older brother) Matt used to play in the backyard and everyone plays the same scenario. You know, it is the fourth quarter and you are down by how ever many and you are down to the Peyton Mannings of the world and you obviously lead your team to victory. And to just be a part of an experience like that is so special."
Stinchcomb anchored the offensive line that was in charge of keeping Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees off his back for the entire season. Stinchcomb started all 16 games he appeared in and he earned his first career Pro Bowl honor.
The Saints' impressive run through the playoffs was even more special for Stinchcomb and his wife, who gave birth to the couple's first child just days before the Saints took the field against the Vikings in the NFC championship game.
"It has been just a wonderful blessing for my wife and I," Stinchcomb said. "It happened right after the Arizona game and right before we played in the NFC championship against Minnesota. Then you know he is two weeks old and I am leaving for Miami for my first Pro Bowl game and then staying for the Super Bowl. So that month was one of the most hectic and busiest times in my life, but with so many great blessings. It was just one blessing after the next and it couldn't have come at a better time."
The Saints' first world championship also included victories over three future hall of fame quarterbacks in Kurt Warner, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning.
"Talk about doing something impressive," Stinchcomb said.
Along with his Super Bowl ring, which he said has more than 100 diamonds, Stinchcomb was rewarded with a $64,000 championship bonus. The former Georgia standout and his teammates then were treated to a Super Bowl victory parade, which took place just days after the game.
"We got back to New Orleans and it was just unbelievable," Stinchcomb said. "It was the Tuesday after the Super Bowl and it was the biggest parade in New Orleans history. Just think, they have Mardi Gras every year and this was the biggest parade, so the words can't begin to do justice. As far as you could see there were folks. It was just an outpouring of appreciation, which I mean winning in New Orleans, it had been 43 years for them."