Some teams have mascots. Others have an anthem that the crowd roars in the stands. Miami? Well, they have a big, gold, shiny chain.
If you’ve gone through the entire collegiate football season and still don’t know the story behind the massive Canes swag seen on the sidelines this year, this blog can shed some light for you.
The Miami Hurricanes had an explosive season, with many in the region hoping they could break past the holds of seasons past and make it to the prestigious playoffs. It’s been an exciting year for certain, regardless of any shortcomings in the postseason. The Hurricanes gave us one of the biggest upsets in collegiate history this season with their dominance against Notre Dame back in November. The team’s newfound confidence in each other and sheer joy for the game helped Miami fans get their groove back too, and the whole state could agree that they were certainly one of the top teams in the country.
The winning spirit was alive and well within each team member of the Hurricanes. So much so, that a new tradition was crowned and placed directly into the spotlight: The Miami Hurricanes’ gold Turnover Chain was born.
You might be asking yourself what the big deal is, or why it’s so significant. This is a fair question. It seems a bit silly to have something so expensive looking balancing on the neck of a dirty, sweaty sideline player. Would the gold tarnish from the sweat on their necks? Were the diamonds on the “U” emblem attached actually real? How much did this cost exactly? And who technically owns it?
The Turnover Chain was actually an incentive idea that came from the team’s Defensive Coordinator, Manny Diaz, to help force some turnovers on the field. The team was told about this new Cuban-style chain right before the very first game of the season. The rules were simple: you force a turnover, you get to wear the chain in style on the sideline, showing the whole stadium who made it happen. It didn’t take long for the incentive to work, with an interception forced at the end of this first game, and with 19 turnovers over the course of the entire season. Players and fanatics alike were quickly enamored with the spectacle of the chain, and with a design featuring 36 inches of 10 karat gold chain links and 900 orange and green sapphires arranged in a U as a crest, it was pretty hard to take your eyes off of it.
There’s been quite a bit of almost-controversy with this chain. Some skeptics were worried it was a form of showboating, while others thought it was an immature distraction from the game. There was even talk that there could be a connection to formerly-accused jeweler, Anthony Machado, who was previously involved in dozens of questionable jewelry deals made with well-known athletes. The connection was true, however, foul play was far away from this legitimate sale. A few members of the coaching staff and the jeweler worked to create something that boldly screamed Miami, and soon everyone caught the cuban chain fever – even some celebrities.
For the Hurricanes, this chain made them look and feel like royalty, and royalty is what they intended to be. Whether you were a fan of the look or not, no one can deny that this Cuban chain had a huge part in the Miami Hurricanes’ culture this year, changing the team’s spirits for the better.
The chain now rests with University of Miami Director of Player Development, Joel Rodriguez, who has the honor and duty of keeping the chain safely guarded on game days. It will return again next year, in all of its Miami glory, looking for more necks to adorn, and more fans to inspire.