-by Andy Dudas 2/2/2021
This is the fifth installment(part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4) of a five part series where I break down every logo beginning with the First World Championship Game AFL vs NFL in 1967 up through this year’s Super Bowl 55. Some are basic but not boring, some are very detailed but not overly complex, and some are not exciting at all. In this final installment in this series, I offer up my take on what I think they could’ve been.
Super Bowl 45 was played in Dallas, Texas. There are so many iconic things associated with this state. It was very disappointing to see the direction of SB logo design to go in the direction it did. A belt buckle with a nod to the host Cowboys or possibly a variant on the state flag.
SB 46 brought the big game to Indianapolis for the first time and just the second cold weather city host in twenty years. Indy is a great small-ish big city. A very walkable downtown and the city was blessed with gorgeous, albeit globally warmed temps in the 40s for Super Bowl week. Indiana hosted a great event. While the Colts have called the Circle City home since the 1980s, let’s be honest: this town’s history is racing. A checkered flag and a speedometer with Roman numerals color coded to the host Colts and the needle on 46, an odometer reading of location and year…of all the logos I’ve designed in this series, this is probably my favorite.
The original logo for Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans, while it kept with the style they had established and made sense in that manner was nothing short of a tragedy. New Orleans gives us so many opportunities with which to connect a design to the host city. You could fall out of an airboat into the bayou and come up with a handful of good ideas before you got wet. Yet here I am with just one submission…sad.
The first outdoor cold weather Super Bowl was played in New York. Well, technically New Jersey. SB 48…New York City…so many possibilities. The streets of NY are always billowing steam of some kind from it’s thousands of maintenance access covers. And what would New York be without the Subway system and Broadway? I think an opportunity was missed when they didn’t coordinate the halftime show with Broadway.
Super Bowl 49 went back to Arizona for the second time and the first in the gorgeous arena formerly known as University of Phoenix Stadium. Now State Farm Stadium, the surrounding landscapes and geography provide some of the most beautiful vistas in the country. With a nod to the host Cardinals’ colors and a slight hint at the state flag or even an outright homage to the state flag and first batch of hometown uniforms, and finally a design focusing on the colors of the southwest. These were a lot of fun to put together and I love this last one. Colorful without being too much. I just love this color scheme.
I agree, using just an “L” for a Roman numeral for Super Bowl 50 is a challenge. Super Bowl 50…50 yard line…49ers…gold…Golden Gate Bridge…this was a fun one to finally figure out, but damn it took a long time. So yeah, using just an L for a single Roman numeral that’s not balanced or symmetrical is tough but there is an L in the NFL logo itself. This is when I started playing around with the idea the NFL could(not that they need the help) partner with a company or entity that has a well known connection to the host city. So they partner with Paramount Pictures to coincide with the release of a Star Trek film around the time of the game. A little Starfleet Academy never hurt nobody. For non-Trekkies/Trekkers, in the Star Trek universe, Starfleet Academy and Starfleet Headquarters are located in San Francisco…I don’t want to assume everyone knows that. But everyone should. And yes, I do realize I’m stretching on this one.
Super Bowl 51 in Houston…let’s reopen the Astrodome. Because, why the hell not? This is Texas after all and football is supposed to be king of all sports there. In all the years it was open for football, the Astrodome never hosted a Super Bowl. That seems wrong. While we’re at it, let’s go ahead and partner with the Houston Astros(pre World Series scandal) and pay homage to one of the best uniforms professional sports will ever see. The tequila sunrise uniforms from the 1970’s and 80’s is a wonderful color palette of which I will never tire. I admit using the trophy as a number may be too much…but hey, why not? It’s not any worse than the cookie cutter logo they did use. And you could keep going to the NASA well forever and probably not run out of good design inspirations. “We have kick-off/lift-off.” “Touchdown/splashdown.” There are so many things you can do to mesh NASA and football.
And I think we could’ve payed a little tribute to Prince when the Super Bowl went back to Minnesota. After such a wonderful and influential career and one of the best halftime show performances(and yes it rained when he was playing at Super Bowl XLI-how cool was that?!), I think this would’ve played very well. And then in a pretty direct connection to the host city, let’s go full on Viking shield with runes, Vikings colors, and the whole nine yards. When you look at this logo you instantly know where the game was played. And that’s the whole idea as far as I’m concerned. Give these logos some life and get away from these dull robotic, every single year we get the same thing…enough.
SB 53 was held in Atlanta, home of one of the most recognizable brands throughout the world. Again, not that the NFL needs any help in promoting itself, nor does Coke for that matter and throw in that Pepsi is the sponsor of the halftime shows and has been for close to ten years, I admit this plan is wrought with problems. But I still like the idea.
Back to Miami, Florida for Super Bowl 54. The number 54 has some pop culture cache. Albeit more so in New York City, but Studio 54 was such an iconic spot in the 1970’s(aside from all of the legal trouble-PAY YOUR TAXES, PEOPLE!!!) I think this could’ve been a disco themed halftime show and we would’ve tied the whole thing together really well. And once again, a sunny locale just heaps mountains of opportunities for design upon you. With a “wish you were here” vintage postcard vibe and some wonderful shout-outs to the original Miami Dolphins colors and logos, this is one of my favorites.
This finally brings us to this year’s big game, Super Bowl 55. Super Bowl LV…LV…LV…LV…YOU SHOULD’VE MADE SURE THE RAIDERS HAD COMPLETED THEIR MOVE FROM OAKLAND AND THEIR NEW STADIUIM WAS READY TO HOST THIS GAME…IN LAS VEAGAS!!! Ok, I know it’s not that simple and cities hosting Super Bowls enter into an incredibly complex list of commitments, obligations, and responsibilities but this was such a missed opportunity here. So what better connection to Las Vegas than a design inspired by the iconic Stardust sign. And the number 55 has a big ‘it” factor with the speed limit being that very same number for so many years. It’s so identifiable to a bit of Americana. But this is way too simplistic for a design of a Super Bowl logo. In my opinion these designs should be representative of the scale and scope of the event. The Super Bowl is perhaps the biggest stage in all the world…but then again, the more I look at it, the more I like it. And Sammy Haggar would rock the hell out of the halftime show!
But Super Bowl fifty five is being held in Tampa not Las Vegas. But just think about how wonderfully over the top a Super Bowl in Las Vegas will eventually be one day. So much opulence, so much sparkle…so much…everything. But Tampa ain’t no slouch when it comes to geographical tie-ins to a SB logo. Buccaneers, Pirates, treasure…they are giving us a lot with which to start.
SB 56 is slated for Los Angeles. Yet again, another well known city with tons of iconic imagery and symbols. The Hollywood sign is one of the most recognizable symbols in America. And inside of motions picture, the now old and outdated 20th Century Fox logo is so well known. But I do admit this has a bit of a “NOW that’s what I call music” vibe to it but I still like it.
Looking forward to future Super Bowl logos and the idea they could be held in any city, I’ll leave you with this: Baltimore, Maryland…Annapolis…Naval Academy…2025 will be the 250th anniversary of the US Navy.
Andy has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making. Pretty much anything that has a creative element. Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks. Always seeking his next inspiration.