NEW YORK -- After four months of celebrations, parades, dinners and a tour of the White House, the New York Giants got their final reward on Thursday night for winning the Super Bowl: the bling.
The Giants walked a blue carpet on fashionable Fifth Ave and then were handed their Super Bowl championship rings in a private ceremony at Tiffany and Co.
"As a kid you always think about winning a Super Bowl, winning a championship," tackle David Diehl said. "When you have that ring you are in a unique class. It is something that we will remember for the rest of our lives and something no one will be able to take away from us."
While most of the team attended the ceremony, there were some notable exceptions.
Tight end Jeremy Shockey, who broke his leg late last season and then expressed concerns about his role with the team, was absent, along with linebacker Antonio Pierce, who is on his honeymoon.
Fifty-three players attended, led by Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and defensive ends Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan.
Even linebacker Kawika Mitchell and safety Gibril Wilson, who signed with other teams in the offseason, and Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, an Army officer who lost his legs in Iraq and became an inspiration for the team after meeting the players, attended. They each were given one of the white gold sparklers with about 1.5 carats in diamonds.
"It's a 10-table stunner," Strahan said, waving the ring in front of his face for effect and noting it can be seen in a restaurant from 10 tables away.
Punter Jeff Feagles, who waited 20 years to win a championship, dropped his right shoulder to mimic the Hunchback of Notre Dame when asked about the weight of the rings, which the team said cost about $5,500 apiece, but are valued at $25,000.
Co-owners Steve Tisch and John Mara addressed the team and coach Tom Coughlin handed the rings to each player as he was called up.
"Having the opportunity to look every player in the eye as they came up and the joy and excitement that they demonstrated as they came forward to receiver a memento of a world championship was special," Coughlin said. "It's a feeling the players will carry in their hearts forever."
Manning felt having the team together made the ceremony special.
"We did it together and won it as a team," said Manning, who also got a wedding ring since the Giants' 17-14 win over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots on Feb. 3 in Glendale, Ariz. "Every game was different and in every situation someone else stepped up and contributed to us winning. It's all about the Giants."
David Tyree laughed when asked what it meant to get the ring at long last.
"It means I get to bling this thing," Tyree said.
On the only serious matter of the night, Strahan declined to say whether winning a title would lead to his retirement after 15 seasons.
"Don't even go there," Strahan said. "You're ruining the interview."
The ring features the team's three Super Bowl trophies, signifying the Giants' Super Bowl victories in 1987, 1991 and last February.
The team's "NY" logo is set in round diamonds, while "World Champions" is emblazoned in raised letters on the top and bottom bezel, with channel-set diamonds on the left and right bezel.
The ring's shanks celebrate the season, noting the team's "Eleven Straight on the Road," an NFL single-season record; the NFL shield; as well as each player's name and number in raised letters appear on one shank.
The final score, "Super Bowl XLII," date (02.03.08) and 'AZ' appear on the other shank.
If there was any doubt, however, that the time for celebrating was ending, it was this reminder: The Giants resume practice on Friday.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press