By Phil Hecken, with Jim Vilk and Michael Malinowski
With Super Bowl Sunday only mere hours away, we’ll kick off Super Bowl weekend with a look back at the fields and logos of the past games. Today, I’m joined by Jim “I’d wear that” Vilk, and Michael Malinowski, better known by his nom-de-post MEMAL. Jim will begin the show with a look back at the past Super Bowl fields, since each offers an unique snapshot of the most important game of the football season, and Michael will give his take on the logos of the past, and, in rather Vilkensian fashion, offer up a “Top 10 and 5 Worst” list of past Super Bowl Logos.
Jim has won the toss, and elected to receive, and Michael will start the second half:
Fields Of Dreams
By Jim Vilk
From its very beginnings, the Super Bowl has been a spectacle — the ultimate “look at me” event from “the ultimate team game.” Everything is bigger at the big game … well, the field is the same size, but it’s always been done up quite nicely, thank you. For those of us who enjoy the aesthetics of athletic uniforms, here is what hopefully will be an equally enjoying look at the fields of Super Bowls past.
It all started in January of 1967, with the AFL/NFL Championship Game at the LA Coliseum. The “Grand Old Lady” was tarted up for the affair with endzones painted with the Packers and Chiefs’ names and colors, and their respective league logos on each side of the names. At midfield was a football with a crown on it, with “1967” printed above the crown, and “NFL–AFL” printed on the crown. Also, for this Super Bowl only, there were yard-line numbers printed every five yards instead of every ten.
For the next two years, the Orange Bowl hosted the game. The endzones now had team logos on the left side of the names and league logos on the right. As for the midfield, in Super Bowl II, the Packers and Raiders’ helmets faced each other at the 45-yard lines. In Super Bowl III there was a Super Bowl trophy inside a blue rectangle. These two midfield designs merged the following year in Super Bowl IV, but it was hard to see in the mud at Tulane Stadium.
With the AFL merging into the NFL, there came more field changes for the next Big Game. The new artificial turf at the Orange Bowl had the trophy with “Super Bowl V” painted at midfield, while the colored endzones now featured team logos on the left of the names and either AFC or NFC logos on the right. For VI and VII, the trophy at midfield was replaced with the NFL logo.
Super Bowl VIII saw one more change — helmets were now painted in the endzones on either side of the names. The left one looked just like the team helmet, but the right one had the conference logo in place of the team logo. This endzone style would remain unchanged for the next 22 years. In Super Bowl IX, the only difference was the league ruling that season which moved the goalposts from the goal lines to the end lines.
Starting with Super Bowl X, there has always been a logo of some sorts between midfield and the goal lines. With kickoffs then at the 35-yard line, there was a small NFL-like shield at that point with an X in it. The next year, the shield had “Super” on top of “XI” over “Bowl.” The twelfth game featured the same type of logo, only in the Broncos and Cowboys’ team colors.
Each Super Bowl has its own logo, but it was never shown on the field until Big Game number XIII. The following year, the logo was painted inside a white football at the 35. Then a great peace settled upon the land, for the fields were designed the same way for the next eight years. The white footballs were not used for XXIII and XXIV — just the logos.
For the 25th Super Bowl (at this point I got a little tired of the Roman numerals thing, so I will just use numbers now), they put the game logo at midfield and the NFL logo at each 35. If you squint you can see that in this photo. Games 26, 27 and 28 reverted to the style of games 23 and 24. Game number 29 saw two changes — kickoffs were moved back to the 30, so the game logos followed, and the NFL’s 75th anniversary logo was placed at midfield. In Super Bowl 30, the NFL logo returned to midfield and the game logos were at each 30-yard line.
After more than two decades, the NFL decided to shake up the Super Bowl’s field design. Games 31 through 36 saw the game logo moved to midfield, team helmets now faced each other from the 30-yard lines and the endzones featured conference logos to the left of the names and the NFL logo on the right. For Super Bowl 37 the helmets were moved to the 25, even though kickoffs are still from the 30 — probably a symmetry decision more than anything else. Not content to stay with this design, In games 38 and 39 the NFL logo returned to midfield, the game logo was painted at each 25, team helmets went back to the left side of the endzones and conference logos filled the right side.
For the last four Super Bowls there have been no helmets painted on the field, breaking a 32-year trend. The NFL and game logos stayed in place from the previous year. In games 40 and 41, however, team logos were painted on the left side of the endzone and conference logos with a grayish background were painted on the right. For games 42 and 43, the grayish background was removed.
As we have seen over the years, there have been many ways to show off the playing fields that show off the two best teams in the NFL. I’d like to know what your favorite design was. Personally, my favorite was the style from games 14-22…until they came up with the design from games 31-37. Maybe bring back those yard-line numbers for every five yards as well? That would be…well…super, don’t you think?
By Michael Malinowski
As everyone endures the nonstop media blitz that Super Bowl weekend has become, you will be certain to see this logo everywhere the next two days. Some will be preparing for a party, some will be preparing to party and others will be reflecting back on Super Bowls past and recounting the tales of magnificent triumphs and glorious defeats. As uniform aficionado’s and observers of the finer, non-athletic details of the games, some of us will find ourselves focusing on other aspects of past Super Bowls. One thing I have grown fond of lately is the Super Bowl logo itself.
There was something about the balance and symmetry, the large and imposing size of the XL of Super Bowl 40’s logo that seemed to add some kind of added importance and prestige to the game that managed to dump an extra bucket of butterflies into the stomach of this Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Strangely, though, I found those extra butterflies to be absent last year when the Steelers returned to the big game. Could it have something to do with this lamer, not as imposing and intimidating of a Super Bowl logo? I certainly saw it all around Pittsburgh and on the television as much, but it didn’t have the same affect on me as SB 40’s did.
This year, I remember thinking to myself when I saw the logo for SB 44, “Are you serious?” The letters and numbers look like those plastic, blow up, freestanding advertising signs you would see sitting on one of those parking lot island dividers outside of the stadium advertising a radio station or something.
Today I am going to exhibit my list of the top ten best and 5 worst Super Bowl logos in Super Bowl (SB)chronological order. I’m making my determinations according to originality, design, reflection of the location the game and how it uses the Roman numerals. I am also leaving the game out as a determinant for my logos since sentimentality can get in the way of objectivity. Another thing to note, the first twelve SB logos(with the exception of one) don’t have much to them. Of course, the SB was young then and still growing in popularity, so we can understand just why not as much artistic focus was put on these logos. Because of that, I’m basically excluding them from either list since they would fall in the middle anyways. Alright, enjoy the article and for sharing your own thoughts as well!
Super Bowl III: This logo is simple, like most of the first twelve logos are, but the simple addition of stars in the letters add so much more character, which is lacking early in SB logo history. Another big factor to the inclusion of this logo is that I feel this logo could be(dare I say it) reused in the future. Think about it…invert the colors to white letters with appropriately colored stars….update the roman numerals and maybe make them black…you could even outline the whole logo in a symbol of the host city (rose, peach, bridge) and Voila! The NFL just saved itself some thousand dollars.
Super Bowl XX: Like the logo for SB 3, the style of this logo could be replicated again in the future to make another timeless logo, especially if it’s played in New Orleans. That is because, in one of my favorite elements of any SB logo, the outline of the logo almost mimics the outline of the Superdome(save the bottom) itself, a subtle reminder of where the game was played. I tried to look up and see if this was intentional or if I am just imagining things but I didn’t find anything.
Super Bowl XXVII: Beautiful. That’s all you need to say about this logo. Its elements are simple and stylish, the colors are beautiful and the effect is tremendous. This logo looks as though it borrowed a shield logo of the Rose Bowl for its own use, though one doesn’t actually exist. For the designer to compliment the location of this game in such a way with the logo pays a tremendous amount of respect to that hallowed facility. It’s a shame the NFL rules forbid playing games in cities that don’t have NFL teams, so until a team moves to LA we won’t be seeing any more beautiful rose adorned Super Bowl logos.
Super Bowl XXVIII: Can you feel the southern style emanating from this logo? There’s just something about those letters flowing slowly on the light blue ribbon (note how it kind of looks like a blue ribbon from a fair?) that feels laid back. And just like the rose for the Rose Bowl, the peach tells us all the location of the game so simply that those who had forgotten now instantly can recall without another hint.
Super Bowl XXX: The colors. Just by looking at those colors you can tell that this game was going to be played in the southwest. Overall, the logo is bold and balanced and those Xs just look so strong and, dare I say it, prickly like a cactus?
Super Bowl XXXI: Like the SB logo that proceeded it, the colors! There was no doubt when you saw those Mardi Gras colors where this game would be played. The logo looks festive, yet I feel an intensity when I look at the X’s of the logo. Perhaps some subliminal messaging towards death (Xs in the eyes of cartoon characters)?
Super Bowl XXXII: The logo that started the tradition of affixing logos to the jerseys picture for any big game that we see everywhere today, this is probably one of the most original logos. To a casual viewer the letters seem kind of abstract, but that helps them to really pop out at the viewer’s eyes! I am not sure if it was the intent of the designer to have the compass points allude to the naval base, but the overall effect is great.
Super Bowl XXXIII: I remember the first time I played Grand Theft Auto-Vice City. I stole a hot looking car and started to cruise down at night time while Billie Jean played over the radio in front of all the hotels with the neon’s all a glow. I just had a feeling I was in Miami and that something great was going to happen, and that feeling of excited anticipation is a character that I’ve found is not easy to achieve through look alone for a SB logo.
Super Bowl XXXVIII: Houston: The Space Town: Home of the Eighth Wonder of the World. The bold roman numerals allude to something grand, while the letters for the Super Bowl look as though they were stolen from Space Invaders. Add that Saturn-eqsue (the planet) ring and you got yourself a space themed logo! The whole logo itself is balanced and looked great on the team’s uniforms.picture
Super Bowl XL: I liked this logo even before the Steelers made it there for the reasons I mentioned previously.
Super Bowl XXI: This makes the list because I feel that there is a mismatch of styles that doesn’t work and the layout of the elements doesn’t help. Three things specifically that turn me off about it are: 1. The blocky rose. The Rose Bowl’s symbol isn’t treated very well here, it’s all block and abstract and make it look like the ugliest rose I have ever seen. Now, the Super Bowl font mimics it and helps to complement the style, however… 2. I don’t like how “Super Bowl” covers up the rose and where it’s located. Also… 3. The Roman numerals don’t match the style of the other two elements. This makes the logo feel unbalanced and if it had been designed to look like the same kind of font style as the rose and the word “Super Bowl” it would have better complimented the logo as a whole. Good idea, just missed excellence with a few details.
Super Bowl XXIX: I understand that Florida is the Sunshine State and that’s why a sun is peeking over the Roman numerals, but the colors are just ATROCIOUS.
Super Bowl XLI: This logo is not only very plain, but they also included an end zone pylon, which is the last thing anybody thinks of when they think of the game of football. I like the curve on the bottle of the Roman numerals, but overall this logo needs something more.
Super Bowl XLII: Remember how awesome SB 30’s colors were? Well, these designers decided to do the exact opposite with the SB logo when it returned in Arizona. Maybe those from the southwest might relate to those colors better than someone from Pittsburgh does, but to me they ruin what otherwise is a good design (I really dig how those shooting stars create an upper and lower border for the Roman numbers).
Super Bowl XLIV: For all the previously mentioned reasons, plus, not to be crude, but can’t you kind of see someone giving you the “red eye”? Yucky.
Thank you both, gentlemen. Quite an impressive look at the fields and logos of the Super Bowl. What will next year’s logo look like? Will it even compare to some of the beautiful logos that have gone before? Well, if first impressions are anything, the answer is decidedly “meh”. That’s our first glimpse at next year’s logo, for the game to be played in Jerry Jones’ new palace. It’s being described as a “simple, monochromatic design featuring the Lombardi trophy.” If you know me at all, I like simple design, but when “monochromatic” and “football” are used in the sentence, it’s generally not a good thing. But wait, it gets
better worse. When separated from the “host city base”, the logo alone looks like this (which is good). It’s a nice image.
But the NFL has embarked on their “genius” logo move by declaring, for all intents and purposes, that the design seen above will remain a constant for the next several Super Bowls. Starting with Super Bowl XLV, the template of all Super Bowl logos will virtually remain the same. The only differences from year to year will be the stadium backdrop and the Roman numerals for the game. So for Super Bowl XLV, Cowboys Stadium is featured and “XLV” signifying the forty-fifth Super Bowl game. The next game, to be played in Lucas Oil Stadium, will feature the identical logo only with some kind of graphic representation of that Stadium.
Several readers remarked in Thursday’s comments that the design of the logo is a bit cumbersome, and will make for an either large or awkward jersey patch, and likely both. While there are good years and bad years for color schemes and such clashing with the uniforms, this may actually eliminate that problem — but at what cost? While I find the patch completely unnecessary, it’s become an unavoidable uniform accoutrement now, and we can look forward to at least the next few Super Bowl jerseys all having basically the same treatment. To use Paul’s favorite “Is it good or stupid” test, I wouldn’t say it’s completely stupid, but on the sliding scale (good being on the left and stupid being on the right) — this one trends Republican.
So how will the “patch” look on a uni? If they go with the typical “square” patch, probably not very good. However, should the NFL braintrust actually use the “outline” of the trophy with the Roman numeral designation? It might not look too bad. I would expect to see this on the uniform of the NFC representative next season.
What say you, Uni Watchers? Did you have a favorite logo or a favorite field? What do you think of Michael’s ratings? Is next year (and beyond) a pass or a fail?
The NHL White Jersey Poll Results are in, and I’m now joined by UW Pollster extraordinaire James Huening who is here to bring you the rundown. Any surprises? About what you thought? Did the “Original Six” score, well, in the top six? Let’s find out. Here’s James:
It will probably come as no surprise to most of you that the six highest scores went to the Original Six. They were, in order:
1) Chicago Blackhawks
2) Montreal Canadiens
3) Detroit Red Wings
4) Boston Bruins
5) New York Rangers
6) Toronto Maple Leafs.
Rounding out the top ten were:
7) New Jersey Devils
8) Philadelphia Flyers
9) Vancouver Canucks
10) Washington Capitals
Also, the Blackhawks were named most often as best uniform and the Canadiens did not receive a single vote for worst.
What about the other end of the spectrum? For the NFL surveys, Buffalo earned the dubious distinction of having the worst home AND road uniforms. Could the Sabres suffer a similar fate?
The bottom five looks like this:
26) Florida Panthers
27) Anaheim Ducks
28) Buffalo Sabres
29) Nashville Predators
30) Atlanta Thrashers
So the Buffalo three-peat was not to be.
The Thrashers collected the most nominations for worst uniform as well. The Ducks were not chosen by anyone as having the best.
One thing I noticed in these results was that there seemed to be a disproportionate number of Blackhawks fans that responded. It made me wonder if that skewed the results at all, so I threw out the votes from Hawks fans and recalculated the numbers to see if it made a difference. As it turns out, the results were virtually unchanged.
As for the burning question of whether white should be worn at home, a whopping 53% said yes, the home team should wear white. 29% felt that it should be the home team’s decision as to what color to wear. Only 14% felt that the home team should always wear dark jerseys. As for the remaining 4%, the general consensus is that white jerseys should be worn at home for half of the season and dark jerseys for the other half.
Once again, thanks to all of you who took the time to vote and thanks to Adam Walter for putting the data in a user-friendly PDF, which can be found here.
Back again with a full batch of Uniform Tweaks, Concepts and Revisions today. Taking a look at all sports from here on out, so, if you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Starting off this week’s show is Ronnie Poore, who has a look at the Patriots, Cowboys and Chargers:
What if the Patriots went retro, except with blue jerseys?!
What about a Cowboys alternate with a silver jersey and white pants?!
Chargers with gold pants.
Chargers with powder blue pants.
Next up is Ryan Bowman, who, with spring just around the corner, has some Colorado Rockies tweaks:
After working tediously on a tweak for the official contest, I fear I may have become addicted to uniform tweaking. If there’s some kind of 12-step program for such people, please let me know as soon as possible.
Haven’t the slightest clue what gave me the urge to do this, but I believe I was inspired when someone posted in the comments yesterday about how abysmal the Colorado Rockies’ uniforms look. Being of like mind and inspired to help, I think I’ve created a much more distinguished set for the Rockies without even modifying the color scheme at all. (I know keeping purple would make Paul very happy.)
The new home uniform is a derivative of the pinstriped vest with the “CR” insignia the Rockies have worn as an alternate previously. Probably the most notable change is that insignia. I modified it so that the C is purple and the R is silver. It really stands out and creates a cool, almost interlocking feature. That same insignia appears in modified form on the hat, with a purple bill. This is the only hat provided; it’s for both home and road games.
The home uniform still has pinstripes, but they’re black pinstripes; no more purple pinstripes. On the back, the only major change is that the player name and number are now purple outlined in silver; they used to be black with silver.
The pinstripes are (finally!) gone from the road uniform, and the team name now appears in similar fashion to the previous home uniform. The mark “ROCKIES” is in purple, outlined in silver, but the R in Rockies is still in silver, as it is in the new cap insignia. I thought that would make for a rather unique and interesting road uniform — so many teams really give nothing unique or special when it comes to the road set.
Last, and quite possibly most important…mandatory stirrups. :) Two images attached; first image is the proposal, and the second is a comparison between the proposal and last year’s set.
Once again, thanks for everything you do for the site. Seriously, look into that 12-step thing. :P
Closing down the show today we have the one and only Rick Pearson, who has put together many of the tweaks he’s attempted all season long:
No redesigns here. Just honest-to-god tweaks.
SAINTS. Standardize the gold (preferably more the real old gold of the original Saints, not the Vegas gold shown here) and add white to the pants stripes. And lose the black pants. Look like a frickin’ ballet class, which women notice, but the players don’t seem to see. Go figure.
BILLS. They want to wear navy, that’s obvious. Okay, but ditch the navy pants because they make ‘em look like they work at Valvoline Oil Change. Deep six all the yokes and side panels, all that gingerbread, bumper sticker stuff. Go with a “super graphic” on the shoulders (same size as helmet logo).
BENGALS. Bye-bye black pants and jerseys. A Bengal Tiger is an orange and white animal with black stripes…and no one in NFL uses orange as their primary jersey anymore. Stop beating us over the head with the tiger stripes. Leave ‘em on the helmet and shoulders as signature elements. This look would, finally, separate them from the Browns, too.
PACKERS. Lose the striped neck trim. It’s just too much of a good thing.
JETS. Fix the shoulder panels. It isn’t that tough. Just look at a Namath era jersey and try to come a bit closer to it. I’d like to see the green pants go away, but can live with ‘em (just not the mono green). Don’t mind the white socks with white jerseys and pants. Kinda old school. And, since only they and the Bears do it, not like it’s a look that’s running rampant through the league.
TEXANS. Shoulder stripe/loop so small almost might as well not be there. Go for the full-on USC arch. And lose the red pants. Please? Texans threatening to become the Oregon of the NFL. Not a good idea. NFL doesn’t need an Oregon. In college is kinda fun and funky. In the pros is comical.
COLTS, COWBOYS, 49ERS. Go back to stripes on socks (2 white on Colts & Cowboys, 3 on Niners). There is no expanse of blue or red on their unis that goes without some interface with white numbers or trim. Except socks, which are a huge mass (glob?) of color. Particularly evident when wearing white jerseys. Maybe white shoes for Niners, too.
LIONS. Five words: Barry Sanders. No blue pants.
BROWNS: I’ll be a smartass on this one. Didn’t address truncation, disappearing sleeves, etc., cuz apparently can’t fight City Hall.
Well — there you have it. Another set of Uni Tweaks. Keep them coming. You know what to do. Send ‘em in.
When “The Pump” goes bad, part the next. Here’s Rick:
Speed, if we’re unaccustomed to it, is both exhilarating and frightening. Especially when created by unexpected developments. But for that moment or so, there IS that wonderful rush.
Here’s your Saturday Benchies.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: Despite today being an article on the Super Bowl, today’s scoreboard deals with a different sport. Of course, that will be fairly apparent the second you click on the link. Kinda ties in my team and my “new favorite” team, at least after the Deep Freeze. Ready? Guess The Game From The Scoreboard. Date, location and final score, please, and be sure to link to your answer. And, as always, if you enjoy the game, please send me some new scoreboards! Drop me a line. Thanks!
And some more hockey news/questions comes to me via the Email Bag, this one from Timothy Tryjankowski, who writes:
Yet, when you buy a replica jersey the strings hang so long…about 20 inches…and look foolish.
Now try and find/buy a 12 inch athletic shoe lace…I can’t find any.
So the question is ..why? Why would Reebok make one jersey with a players lace..yet the replica jersey looks…well dumb.
Thanks for the question, Tim. Any hockey guys want to take a shot at the answer? Think there’s a market out there for guys who buy a replica jersey and want to replace the 20″ lace with at 12″ one?
Well, that’s going to put a nice shoelace on this post. Hope you enjoyed the beginning of the pre-Super Bowl festivities — back tomorrow with another round of uni goodness to prep you for the Big Game.
Everyone have a great Saturday.