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Dahlen is tied with Belichick for the most Super Bowl rings — at least until Sunday

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Football

MINNEAPOLIS -- The rings are tucked away. Slipping them on would require Neal Dahlen driving to the bank near his home in Aurora, Colo., and retrieving them from a safe-deposit box.

Dahlen isn't the type to show off. The retired NFL executive would prefer to stay in the background as a living, breathing -- and golfing -- Trivial Pursuit answer.

He's the answer to question: Who is tied with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick for the most Super Bowl rings, with seven?

"I've got nine grandchildren," Dahlen said by phone. "They were excited about the rings. They've taken pictures with them. For me, it's more than the rings, it's the memories."

And does Dahlen have memories. As a front-office executive, his teams were 7-0 in Super Bowls. He won five with the San Francisco 49ers and two with the Denver Broncos. Not bad for a guy who was a football coach at Hillsdale High in San Mateo for 17 years before getting a job in the NFL.

"When I was coaching, I was a fan of 49ers football and I'd seen enough ups and downs, so I knew each year was a new season unto itself and there's no guarantee you'll ever get back to the Super Bowl again," he said.

 

His favorite of the seven rings was his fifth with the 49ers, commemorating San Francisco's 49-26 victory over San Diego in Super Bowl XXIX.

"That's the one that looks best to me," he said. "It's a beautiful ring with five Lombardi Trophies on it. But they're all nice."

He began working part-time for the 49ers in 1979, and eventually took on more responsibilities. He was with that organization until 1996, when he was hired as director of player personnel for the Broncos. He was promoted to general manager in 1999, moved to director of football administration in 2002, and retired the following year.

Even some of his former players are unaware of his Super Bowl bounty.

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