Super Bowl Logo History

Super Bowl Logo History

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and since the Packers aren’t playing, I have plenty of free time to take a look at the history of Super Bowl logos. In doing so, I found some trends through the years, though not as well-defined as the trends I discovered in World Series Logos history.

As usual, thanks to sportslogos.net for the logos and years.


1966-73 – “Find a font and type it”

The first few Super Bowl logos basically consisted of the name typeset in a funky font, usually with some strokes added. I found it somewhat interesting that the Roman numerals started from the very beginning.

1974-77 – “Emphasize the Roman numerals”

In 1974, the Roman numerals became more predominant in the logos. The 1977 Super Bowl logo was the first mixing of typefaces and tried something more unique.

1978-81 – “Keep doing that, and add in the city, stadium, and date”

In 1978, a trend started that continued for a while. The logos displayed the city and stadium hosting the game as well as the date of the game. You still usually see the city and date on the logos, but not usually the stadium.

1982-92 – “Keep doing that, but make it red, white, and blue”

From 1982-1992, the Super Bowl logo was red, white, and blue. The World Series logos were as well in the 70s and 80s. This was the period where the marks started to more closely resemble those we see today with some sort of container making them one unit. I think the 1984 Super Bowl XIX logo was ahead of its time. Add in some dimension and that could exist today. The Super Bowl XXI and XXVII logos also brought in an element of the host city/stadium, in these cases roses for the Rose Bowl. They’re the first ones to do that, something you see a lot more today.

1993-2004 – “Do whatever you like, but put the city and date in a circle or oval around it”

From 1993, there seemed to be no more major consistency from year to year other than the game information being displayed in a circle or oval around the logo. There were a few exceptions to that trend in this period. A few of the cities began adding in some local elements to the logos, which I like. I think the 1998 Super Bowl XXXIII Miami logo really feels like Miami.

Unused SB XXXVI Logo

The 1996 Super Bowl XXXI logo also feels very New Orleans, as most New Orleans sporting event logos seem to do a good job of. One exception is an interesting story. The Super Bowl XXXVI logo seen in the bottom left corner above was a replacement logo for what you see to the left. With the game taking place 4 months after 9/11, a more patriotic logo was created to unite the country. Interestingly enough, the underdog Patriots won the game that year.



2005-09 – “Ok, no more city circle”

The next few years, Super Bowl logos didn’t change much, but the arched city and date went away, which is good. One logo I’ve always liked, and I think a lot of people disagreed with me, is the 2008 Super Bowl XLIII logo. I thought the perspective and use of the end zone with the Roman numerals were pretty neat.

2010-11 – “Use the Lombardi Trophy”

It’s appropriate that the first year the Lombardi Trophy appeared in the Super Bowl logo, the Green Bay Packers won the game. For the second year in a row, the Super Bowl has essentially the same logo, with the only changes being the number and the stadium behind the trophy. It’s very different than everything that came before it, and it looks nice, but I don’t like that they’re repeating it. It’s fun to see what each Super Bowl comes up with each year and how it ties into the host city. So while it’s a nice-looking composition that looks good as a uniform patch, I like seeing a new logo every year. I’m not sure how long the NFL plans for it to stick around.

What do you think of the last 2 logos? And what are some of your favorites?

8 Responses to “Super Bowl Logo History”

  1. Ryan
    February 6th, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I was at a conference in the spring of 2011where one of the NFL designers presented and she talked about rebranding the NFL that started with the new NFL shield. The NFL then looked at all of their logos and marks: the Draft, the Kickoff Weekend, the playoffs and even the NFC and AFC trophies and Pro Bowl along with the Super Bowl logos. They wanted a new and unifying look to all of their marks and branding. It sounded like these Lombardi Trophy logos for the Super Bowl are a part of that and that they are going to be around for awhile.

  2. Brian
    February 29th, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I hate the currnent SuperBowl logo system. There is no “personality” to the logos. I always looked forward to seeing the NEW SB logo every year. Now we already know what they look like; just add a picture of the host stadium. Hopefully they will end this system for SB L. Favorite logo is XXXIV maybe im biased. Go Titans!

  3. Ryan Bears Fan
    February 29th, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    I don’t like the new uniform logo look. Though it goes well with where and when Superbowls are played today. Always at night in drab, dark stadium barns. I was bummed when the Packers beat my Bears in the NFC Championship game, but when I seen the Packers with the new tiara-designed trophy, I didn’t feel so bad. The AFC and NFC trophies symbolized the two different leagues before the merger. The new designed trophies are meant to only symbolize a “poor mans SuperBowl trophy” with the short, hollowed look of the SuperBowl trophy. This streamlined, dumbing down look of the NFL serves only the business end of things and not tradition or legacy.

    As far as complete Super Bowl logos, check out Willaby and Wards Super Bowl patch collection, which illustrate logos even more. Even the first few “word only” logos look nice.

  4. Shaymer
    February 1st, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Fantastic job. I love the diversity of SB logos and how they tie in to the host city. Very disappointed the NFL switched to a generic, template design. I think its a terrible idea, but it’s simpler, cheaper, and more identifiable with the NFL, so I guess we’re stuck.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is NFL teams going with simpler logos and fonts. I really noticed it with the Carolina Panthers this year. It’s horrible, in my opinion.

  5. Tom Dalfonzo
    February 4th, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    This is a great travesty, to me especially. I have designed 10 of my own Super Bowl logos, from Super Bowl 46 to Super Bowl 55. Each one is unique and creative in its own right. You people would love them.

  6. piececoast
  7. John
    June 16th, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I absolutely agree with you. My all time favorite Super Bowl logo is the 2008 logo for the same reasons you expressed. The last unique logo they did in 2009 is a close second. I love how they incorporated the goal post and football into the logo. As a designer myself, I pay close attention to logos of all kinds. I’ve noticed that though the NFL has decided to go with a standard logo they mix in secondary logos that do correspond with the host city so if you pay close attention the unique logos for each Super Bowl can be found. Thanks for the article. NFL and design are my two favorite things.

  8. Tom F
    February 8th, 2016 at 7:25 am

    Does anyone know what font is used for when they engrave the Vince Lombardi Trophy?

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