The Fiesta Bowl trophy weighs more than Aaron Donald

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There’s plenty at stake for this year’s Fiesta Bowl combatants with the winner advancing to next week’s National Championship Game at SoFi Stadium. But Saturday’s semifinal matchup between undefeated Michigan and third-ranked TCU isn’t just for a trip to Los Angeles—it’s for one of the most coveted trophies in sports, a diamond-encrusted treasure valued at over $2.5 million.

Commissioned by the Fiesta Bowl’s Board of Directors in 2002, the hardware weighs 285 pounds, making it slightly heavier than Rams Pro Bowler Aaron Donald and much harder to carry, requiring, on average, eight staff members to transport from one location to another. Weighed down by some 2,187 diamonds (that’s 50 karats worth), eight player figurines made from sterling silver, a marble foundation and state-of-the-art LED lighting, the trophy is a hernia waiting to happen and obviously much too large to fit in an ordinary display case. The trophy-topper, an ornate football with gold engraving, is thought to be worth over $1 million on its own, an extravagance reserved for only the most sacred of football artifacts, necessitating around-the-clock surveillance.

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It’s anyone’s guess why the Fiesta Bowl would go to all this trouble to maintain what amounts to a runner-up trophy (it took some 3,000 hours to curate), but we’re sure glad they did, making an even bigger, more absurd spectacle out of college football’s annual New Year’s festivities.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Chris Coduto, Getty Images