Overrated, Underrated, or Properly Rated: The Super Bowl Logos

01.17.14 4 years ago 17 Comments

Super Bowl Football

Last week, during part 1, we waded through the logos that came from an age where the biggest variances had to do mainly with font changes. It’s during this next phase of the Super Bowl logo’s lifetime that we see the jump finally made from simply funkin’ with fonts to full-blown unique logos and designs, sometimes actually relating to the location of the game itself. While it takes a few steps to get there, in this round, we enter the Golden Age of the Super Bowl Logo.

Let’s get to it.

Super Bowl XIII


If the Super Bowl XII logo tried to get SASSY, the Super Bowl XIII logo decided to try to top them all using size. It’s like the Andre the Giant of Super Bowl logos: big, clumsy, and still unable to beat Hulk Hogan. Kudos for the Star Wars-style font but that’s a lot of dots. I’m getting shaky like I do every time I drink a lot of [INSERT BAD VODKA] at NBA All-Star weekend.

Super Bowl XIV


I was talking with one of my young coworkers the other day and we were trying to figure out how the newest Bruce Springsteen album is really his “Dishwalla” moment and he was pontificating about Spacehog and David Bowie, I guess, but I really like the Counting Crows and that’s what this logo is: the Counting Crows of Super Bowl logos. Look at those sweeping cursive letters!

Super Bowl XV


Ugh, did we learn nothing from my Super Bowl Logo Manifesto 5.3? It’s Super Bowl IX without the curly letters.

Super Bowl XVI


Another turd. Come on, NFL, get creative! Isn’t the monotonous nature of current Super Bowl logos what got us in this retrospective situation to begin with? This is just like the 2002 Red Sox somehow. Grady Little Pedro Dave Roberts blah. One note: this is the last SB logo for 12 years that will use a color beyond the red, white, and blue palette.

Super Bowl XVII


Now that’s more like it. Granted, I’m not a HUGE fan of the 1930s throwback look – unless we’re talking The Rocketeer – but at least we’re talking creative here. It’s a throwback look, for sure. But it’s finally starting to branch away from the standard look and into something that’s… an actual individualized logo. The Redskins relied on a throwback, run-heavy offense behind Riggins (John, not Tim) to win this game. Appropriate.

Super Bowl XVIII


With the mold broken, it was time for each successive Super Bowl to step up their game. This logo is still in the meh stages but it improves nicely on the issue of making the logo unique. Not overly-thrilling but memorable enough. Like Dee Brown in the dunk contest!

Super Bowl XIX


Now we’re just getting a little crazy here, guys, with the throwback stuff. This is like a Great Gatsby-era logo. This reminds me of the story my pal Jay-Dawg told me about the time he faked a book report because he had to go to a Celtics game – I DO NOT DISAGREE WITH THIS – and managed to pull off a B- on the paper after watching the Redford film version. That’s totally a Level 5 sports-over-life victory. Anyway, a misstep in the new logo era but at least it was temporary.

Super Bowl XX


While the game was a dud – the Bears blasting the Pats (THE TONY EASON ERA ARRRGH) – the logo began an occasional trend of “logos that echo the physical location.” We saw that a bit with the Mardi Gras colors used in Super Bowl XII’s New Orleans logo, and now we see it again with a logo whose top half looks a lot like the Superdome (ancient burial ground beneath not included).

Super Bowl XXI


Now THIS is a logo, friends! The 1986 Celtics of Super Bowl logos to this point. It looks like something one of those androids from Bladerunner would poop out and yet it still looks awesome. The rose, an homage to the Rose Bowl where the game took place, is a great touch, a robotic origami of a rose. The game itself is forgettable, a 30-point second half from the Giants giving Phil Simms a ring and John Elway his first taste of Super Bowl disappointment. But that logo is far from an afterthought, easily in the top tier of the Pantheon of Super Bowl Logos Pyramid.

Super Bowl XXII


Of course anything after one of the all-time great Super Bowl logos is going to disappoint, like the ’87 Celtics following up the ’86 season with a loss to the Lakers in the Finals. It’s still a success, much better than previous efforts, but it will never live up to one of the greatest. There’s no problem with that. We just have to be careful on this re-evaluation not to get TOO over-hyped about it. In the end, the Redskins blew out the Broncos, Elway’s second-straight blow-out loss in the Big Game – no wonder he loves Manning so much; he was Peyton before Peyton was Peyton! – and this game again is one lost to the ravages of time, like Dick Butkus’ role in the sitcom My Two Dads. Solid but, ultimately, the beginning of the bridge of what was to come.

Super Bowl XXIII


After six-straight Super Bowls decided by 10 points or more, we got an exciting 20-16 win for the 49ers over the Bengals, a game we can appreciate even more in hindsight. It featured the 49ers dynasty reaching its peak, a historic Joe Montana-led game-winning drive, and it had that bizarre 3-D magic halftime show with Elvis Presto.

Maybe that’s why there are layered triangles? Either way, the game eclipses the logo which is a slight improvement on Super Bowl XXII but still can’t live up to Super Bowl XXI (though still preferable to the early logos).

Super Bowl XXIV


This logo is a lot like Season 4 of LOST. It erased the sprawling, sometimes compelling, sometimes confusing mess of Seasons 2 (SB XXII) and 3 (SB XXIII) and returned the show to something near its Season 1 glory (SB XXI). Sure, it’s not QUITE as awesome, but it’s still the biggest step back to that level that we’d seen yet. Too bad the game itself as more Season 3 Jack than Season 1 Locke because oof, poor Elway, his third Super Bowl blowout. Still, New Orleans, classing it up and setting the stage for what was to come: the golden age of the Super Bowl Logo.

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