Where NFL Teams' Logos Come from - Roughing The Passer - A Sports Blog by a Sports Fan

Roughing The Passer - A Sports Blog by a Sports Fan

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Saturday, 24 October 2020

Where NFL Teams' Logos Come from

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals logo doesn't need much explaining.  It was created in 1947, and made to look "angry and aggressive" and "ready to fight for every win."
The color of the beak was changed in 2005 from gold to yellow, prompting fans to refer to the old version as the "parakeet."

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Atlanta Falcons

Like the Cardinal, Atlanta's Falcon doesn't need much explaining.  It has remained mostly unchanged since it's creation in 1966, with red accents added in 2003.  The logo itself was the producr of  1965 contest won by a local school teacher.  The Bird is meant to resemble the letter "F".

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Buffalo Bills

The Bills logo has changed a number of times through the years, but a buffalo has always been a part of the design.  Like the Falcons, the Bills original design was the product of a local contest, and the winning entry was meant to inspire a 'frontier' feel.

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Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens original logo was designed by an artist named Frederick Bouchat; he submitted it by fax the day before the team's inception, asking only an autographed helmet in return.  The Ravens organization changed that initial design slightly, leading Bouchat to sue.  He won, and the team settled on the current Raven head.

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Carolina Panthers

Other than a few slight color modifications, the Panthers' logo has remained unchanged since it's creation in 1996.  It is based on a black panther, and intended to reflect it's "slick, sleek nature."

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Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals logo was cartoon-ish in their AFL days before changing to a rather mundane block letter "Bengals".  The stripes were added in 1981 in an attempt to appear more "modern."



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Cleveland Browns

The Browns original logo was Brownie the elf; a nod to a mythological type of elf that supposedly existed to do good deeds and help those in need.  One of Art Modell's first acts when he bought the team in 1961 was to eliminate Brownie, going instead with a brown helmet.  For the Browns.  He was big on originality.

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Chicago Bears

The Bears' original bear was deemed too cute in 1945, switching to an "angry" bear showing his anger by lounging on a football.  The now iconic "C" was born in 1962, and other than changing the original white to the colered version we know today, has remained unchained since.


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Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have sported the star since their inception... a nod to Texas's nickname "The Lone Star State."  The Cowboys moniker was chosen over "Rangers."


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Denver Broncos

The Broncos, like a number of their AFL brethren, had a very cartoonish logo initially.  The D with the bucking bronco was in place until the 90s, when the team switched to the current design.  The mane is meant to be flames.


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Detroit Lions

The Lions original logo, when they were the Portsmouth Lions, has definately not aged well.  The Lion was changed to the more classic silhouette in 1961.  The Lion as we see it today has been in place since 1969 with only color and border changes.


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Green Bay Packers

The Packers' 'G' has been in place with only small color changes since 1961.  The original logo reflected the team that predates the NFL's namesake, a packing company.


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Houston Texans

The Texans logo was designed by a California design firm,relflecting the red, white, and blue team colors that had already been chosen to reflect the flags of the state of Texas and of the U.S.


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Indianapolis Colts

As with many of the older teams, the Colts original logo had a cartoonish appeal.  The horseshoe has been in place for decades, with only minor changes in shape since.


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Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags original logo choice was left behind as it bore too much of a resemblnce to the logo of the car with the same name. 


 According to Wayne Weaver, the teal tongue is from feeding "Panthers (who joined the NFL the same year) to our Jaguars."


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Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs began as the Dallas Texans, and when they moved to KC,  they kept the general shape of the character but changed him from a cowboy to an indian.  The 'KC' arrowhead was originally drawn by owner Lamar Hunt on a napkin and inspired by the 49ers 'SF' logo.


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Los Angeles Chargers

The original Chargers shield logo only lasted  couple of years; the bolt has stayed true since the 60s, although the color scheme has been altered a number of times.



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Los Angeles Rams

The Rams, who began their journey in Cleveland, were named after the Fordham Rams college team by the original owner.  The original colors were red and black, but changed to the yellow and blue the next year.  The color scheme has been changed a number of times, but the design has remained constant.


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Las Vegas Raiders

The familiar face on the Raiders logo is actually a real person; an actor known for his work in Westerns named Randall Scott.  Other than a couple of changes to the shield in the background, the logo has remained unchanged since it's creation in the AFL days.

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Miami Dolphins

Ever wonder exactly wht the dolphin is jumping through on the Dolphins' helmet?  That would be a 'sunburst'... whatever that exactly is.  The dolphin itself has changed shape and color, and recently lost it's helmet, nut it's been jumping through that sunburst since it was created in 1966.

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Minnesota Vikings

The original Minnesota Viking was drwn by Karl Hubenthal, a sports cartoonist for the LA Times.  The current version turned around and thinned out, but it's the same Norse warrior.

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New England Patriots

The Pats logo has been through three distinct iterations.  Many have claimed the hiking Patriot bears a strong resemblance to Bill Belichick.  It might be him; he's been there long enough.

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New Orleans Saints

That shape?  It's called a "fleur de lis"(pronounced flure dee lee).  Translated: Lily flower.  A symbol of french royalty and of the city of New Orleans.


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New York Giants

The first three versions were all known by the sme name:  "Giants Quarterback."  Since then?  Letters.


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New York Jets

The Jets, since their creation as the Titans, have changed their design as much as nearly any NFL team.  


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Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles logo was an ode to the logo for the National Recovery Administration, part of FDR's New deal.  For most of their history, a flying eagle was carrying a football.

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Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers are so named because Pittsburgh is a city built on the steel industry.  The logo itself is a slight adjustment to what is know as the 'steelmark logo'.  The 3 colored shapes signify the 3 things needed to produce steel; orange is ore, yellow is coal, and blue is steel scrap.

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San Francisco 49ers

49ers refers to the year 1849, when Gold prospectors were headed west.  The original 49er logo was a caricature.  The now well known 'SF' logo has been in place since the 60s.

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Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks logo is based on a Transformation mask from the Kwakwaka indian tribe.



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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs current logo is a pretty standard pirate flag; the original had become a point of ridicule, with team owners saying "It struck fear into the hearts on none."  Personally I wish they'd bring the old ones back.


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Tennessee Titans

The Titans logo is a hodgepodge of references.  The colors are an ode to the franchise before them moved to Tennessee (Then the Houston Oilers).   The 3 stars and white circle are a nod to the Tennesse state flag.  Until now, I thought it was a comet.


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Washington Nameless

The nameless ones were originally known as the Braves before becoming the Redskins and now just an anonymous (and bad) football team.  Changing logos shouldn't be a big deal; they've done so more than any NFL team.


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