But in 2017, the Hurricanes elevated the drip to a higher level when they unveiled a shiny new chain to reward defensive players who registered turnovers. Since then, the gold Cuban link chains have become synonymous with Miami football and set a new standard across college football for defensive celebrations.
Dubbed the turnover chain, the celebratory jewelry that launched numerous imitators debuted four years ago. Then-Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz is credited for the concept, and jeweler AJ Machado, aka the King of Bling, brought the idea to life
“I was like, ‘That’s the most enormous, gaudy thing I’ve seen in my entire life,'” Joel Rodriguez, Miami’s director of player development in 2017, said to ESPN’s Andrea Adelson in 2017 when he first saw the chain. “But it’s supposed to be larger than life. That’s what it’s for.”
Since then, many teams have tried to copy the chain’s impact with props ranging from bags and belts to slot machines and crowns to celebrate turnovers and big plays.
Here are some of the most memorable:
College classroom essentials
Florida State swats the ball from N’Kosi Perry and falls on it to set up great field position.
Florida State’s backpack
In 2018, the Florida State Seminoles used a turnover backpack to flex after takeaways. The bag came out during the team’s game against Samford that year after A.J. Westbrook grabbed an interception. The school viewed the item as defensive players “securing the bag” after a turnover, per USA Today — and this wasn’t your typical school backpack.
The turnover prop was a red Crown Collection backpack from Prime Society, priced at $495 according to the company’s website. Despite the bag’s hefty price tag, then-Seminoles coach Willie Taggart and his players didn’t use it again after 2018 — ending the “Turnover Backpack” era after one year, per the Tallahassee Democrat.
The Akron Zips brought out an enlarged version of the standard No. 2 pencil to celebrate turnovers. In 2019, they debuted the takeaway pencil in their regular-season matchup against UAB. Former Akron player Jordyn Riley was the first to receive the prop after an interception during the game.
Associate head coach Oscar Rodriguez is the one who thought of the idea, but he had help bringing it to fruition. His wife, Lauren, had the wooden item, measuring 44 inches long and 1.6 inches in diameter, created for him and his squad. Erasing offensive possessions and “writing their own history” is what the pencil represented to the team.
Rodriguez says that the pencil was misplaced during the team’s game against Ohio State and hasn’t been found since.
Dry-erase boards are often used to depict plays and assignments in football, but a couple of teams have repurposed them for celebrations.
When Geoff Collins was defensive coordinator at Florida, he had a turnover whiteboard where players who notched a takeaway would write their name or social media handle. It has been around since 2015 and has become a staple in Collins’ coaching culture. His celebration tradition has followed him to his stops at Temple and Georgia Tech, with many players gracing the board with their signatures over the years.
Jeremiah Briscoe’s pass is picked off by Dustin Clabough to give the Owls the ball as they trail by a touchdown in the 4th quarter.
Kennesaw State’s Plank
Kennesaw State’s turnover prop isn’t fancy, flashy, or expensive — it’s just a piece of wood with a face drawn on it.
The turnover plank was the brainchild of former player Tanner Jones, who brought it to practice after finding it during spring break in 2015, according to the school’s website. The team officially designated “Plank” as its turnover prop after Taylor Henkle held up the piece of wood to fans celebrating an interception against Montana State during the 2017 season.
— Kennesaw State Football (@kennesawstfb) November 11, 2017
It looks very similar to Plank, a character from the Cartoon Network show “Ed, Edd n Eddy.” Since its inception, the turnover plank has become an honorary team member, being pictured at many pregame events in stylish apparel.
Tulane, based in New Orleans, takes its turnover prop inspiration from the celebration of Mardi Gras. When a Green Wave football player secures a takeaway, he gets the beads. The jewelry first appeared in the team’s 2018 season opener against Wake Forest after cornerback Donnie Lewis intercepted a pass in the second quarter.
Since its debut, the oversized necklace has become a mainstay for the Green Wave.
Living in luxury
UNLV unveils a sideline slot machine to help celebrate TDs and INTs.
UNLV’s Rebel Roller
UNLV‘s slot machine is one of the newest sideline props — making its debut in October 2021.
The Rebel Roller is a nod to Las Vegas’ gambling roots. The machine’s giant screen has “UNLV” printed on it along with “Be A Rebel,” and Las Vegas’ 702 area code is also featured on the machine.
According to Shelby McIntyre, UNLV’s chief strategy officer and director of recruiting, the machine took four months to build, weighs about 700 pounds and wins on every spin.
It’s unique to the list because offensive and defensive players can earn an opportunity to pull the slot machine’s lever by scoring a touchdown or forcing a turnover.
Unfortunately, the slot machine can’t be used on the road because of gaming rules.
The city of Memphis, birthplace of Ric Flair and Jerry “The King” Lawler, has a rich pro wrestling history. The Tigers borrowed from that legacy to create their props.
Memphis’ Flair-inspired robe made its debut in the 2018 season opener against Mercer.
If you’re at the Memphis game tonight or any game this season you may see their new turnover celebration item. I was asked several months ago to create this Ric Flair style robe for the football team! Such a fun project! #GoTigersGo #createdbycarrie @TigersAthletics @MemphisFB pic.twitter.com/3aweJPfCiz
— Carrie Rudy (@cre8dbycarrie) September 2, 2018
Its striking white tiger stripes are accompanied by electric blue feathers and the words “takeaway champ,” along with the school’s logo. The Tigers’ previous prop was a faux championship wrestling belt. The Tigers forced the fourth-most turnovers in 2017, so the belt got used a lot.
Boise State’s throne
Its show-stopping design has an ivory-colored back rest and seat cushion paired with shiny silver framework and a crown at the top.
— Boise State Football (@BroncoSportsFB) September 2, 2018
The best seat in the house is reserved for “Kings of Chaos,” defenders who force turnovers. The flashy piece of sideline furniture debuted in the Broncos’ September 2018 contest against the Troy Trojans.
SMU chalice and crown
Can you imagine spending a Saturday night on the sideline sipping an electrolyte-enhancing beverage out of a king-sized cup?
Handle with caution
What happened to the Vols’ Hunt the Ball trash can from the 2017 season?
Tennessee’s trash can
Rewarding turnovers with a trash can on the sideline is a unique celebration, to put it lightly.
Volunteers defenders were encouraged to dunk the ball in the bin after securing a takeaway.
The gray trash can featured Tennessee’s signature white-and-orange checkerboard pattern with “Team 121” printed on it. The 121 referenced the program’s 121 years of existence, but this prop was permanently sidelined after only one year.
West Virginia’s miner’s helmet
West Virginia honored its state’s history and culture in coal mining with a fully functioning miner’s helmet replete with a WVU logo and working headlamp.
The Mountaineers debuted the turnover miner’s helmet in 2018 against Kansas State, with Reese Donahue being the first to wear the headgear after getting a fumble recovery during the game.
The turnover … coal miner hat? pic.twitter.com/SfnmQBkqc4
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 29, 2018
Then-defensive coordinator Tony Gibson credited the headgear, in part, for increasing turnovers. Former Mountaineer and current Carolina Panthers safety Kenny Robinson produced two turnovers in the hat’s debut season and seconded Gibson’s sentiment.
“It motivated everybody. Everybody wants to sign the coal miner’s hat now,” said Robinson. “Everyone wants to get more turnovers. Everyone wants a picture wearing the hat for making a play.”