The Super Bowl logo is dead.
Long live the Super Bowl logo!
No more do we have weird psychadelic shadings or cool zig-zags, giving each game a glory all its own along with sign-posts as to what decade the game was played in, touches as blatant as butterfly collars or Zubaz.
Instead, starting with Super Bowl XL, the league began moving towards a standardized logo with tweaks for each game, something they jettisoned altogether by Super Bowl XLV when the current logo was instituted: a large, soulless Lombardi trophy with the Super Bowl numeral being the only thing that changes.
But we won’t sit still. No, we will do the only thing one can do in this position: rely in nostalgia to remember how awesome things used to be! Each week between now and SB XLVIII, we’ll run through each logos and rank them Dr. Jack Grantland-style – OVERRATED, UNDERRATED, or PROPERLY RATED.
Super Bowl I
A little wordy and it doesn’t even use the phrase “Super Bowl” in it. Unfocused, unwieldy, even as it launched a new era of football. It’s the “Avatar” of Super Bowl logos.
Super Bowl II
Ah! Finally, we’re getting somewhere. The phrase “Super Bowl” is used though some reports claim it wasn’t officially implemented until SBIII so maybe this is some impostor logo, added retroactively? Still, lean, good hues, simple and to the point, it’s like the Šarūnas Marčiulionis of Super Bowl logos even if it lacks the pizzaz of later logos.
VERDICT: Properly Rated
Super Bowl III
I was talking to my buddies J-Dawg and Wheels about how the 60s were SO WEIRD. We just missed out. I mean, the Browns had a logo that was actually a representation of a Scottish elf. Makes total sense, like replacing Aunt Vivian on Fresh Prince or the new Becky on Roseanne! Which makes it even weirder how… Americana … the logo was. Red, white, and blue with stars, it’s an echo of the shield itself and echoed the great Rocky movie series (I through IV, anyway) yet to come. Still, by the 60s standard, kind of meh.
Super Bowl IV
Yawn! Simple letters? Whatever. Pretty boring for the first Super Bowl in New Orleans. Sure, this iteration uses gold lettering (echoing the still-then-new Saints) but they couldn’t bother throwing in some weird-ass psychedelic jester? The Chiefs routed the Vikings 23-7, as boring a game as the logo. I rank it middle of the pack, like 1980s Bruce Springsteen albums.
VERDICT: PROPERLY RATED
Super Bowl V
Sticking with the red, white, and blue theme form the previous year, this logo at least stirs it up with a different font the way I stir up my vodka drinks that make me tipsy, text my more-famous pals, and play Billy Joel’s “Storm Front” on the turntable all damn night. If you stare at it too long, you’ll get dizzy. How a Super Bowl in the 70s never used this font is beyond me. Fun fact: this was the third Super Bowl to be played in Miami to this point in league history and all three (SB 2 & SB 3 being the others) of those games used red & blue as the primary colors for the logos.
VERDICT: PROPERLY RATED
Super Bowl VI
Now we’re talking! As the Super Bowl returned to New Orleans, the logo design got with it and adopted a look you’d find on a really swanky strip club or an old fancy saloon where out-of-towners weren’t welcomed. Or maybe a fancy barber shop. Either way, there’s that PIZZAZ, NFL! It’s a great improvement, like Tim Hardaway morphing into Rony Seikaly.
Super Bowl VII
Whoa, trippy! Shades of the SB 2 logo except with shading and an extra line weaving through. It’s like when the Pats added Randy Moss to their line-up to give Tom Brady another weapon to throw to but then uugggghhhhhh helmet catch! The results here were better, though. No one denies this.
Super Bowl VIII
Yee-haw! Houston, Texas gets the Super Bowl and they kick things up a notch by… making the ‘S’ and numerals bigger. Because only SOME things are bigger in Texas, I suppose. This reminds me of the time I was in Vegas and I was on a hot streak at the blackjack table. Because in both instances, the result was shitting the bed and waking up broke.
Super Bowl IX
Picking up where the last logo left off, this version shook the world by making the entire numeral larger than the text! Wow! It’s a good point to look at this first round and, varying fonts aside, realize how conservative the logos actually were compared to the logos to come in the late 80s and early 90s. Like Donna vs Brenda. That curly ‘X’ is totally Tiffany Amber-Thiessen, though.
VERDICT: PROPERLY RATED
Super Bowl X
Ugh, the Rocky V of Super Bowl logos.
Super Bowl XI
Just like Super Bowl X, this logo belongs in the Pantheon on Bad Sports Logos. Sure, it’s a call back to the SB 8 design, but the wonky font and red, white, and blue coloring (again!) are boring, making this a Level 6 Logo Gut Punch.
Super Bowl XII
You have to love how New Orleans goes in to EFF YOU mode every time they get the Super Bowl: they take the boring logo and try to JAZZ it up. Not content to simply add the numeral to the end, they remove it back to the bottom (like they did in SB 9) and THEN they make it WAVY! Plus, they don’t go in for that bullshit red, white, and blue color scheme; thems MARDI GRAS colors, fools. Always take the over on games with Mardi Gras colors in their logos!