NFL Logos: Who Ranks the Best of All 32 Teams?

Scott ReighardAnalyst IJuly 19, 2011

NFL Logos: Who Ranks the Best of All 32 Teams?

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    It is the symbol of every fans favorite team. We don’t need words. We don’t need names. All we need is to see that logo, and we know.

    From NFL’s inception, the logo has come to be synonymous with “our” team. Of course, most fans are biased, but that is to be understood. It most likely drew us to that team in the first place.

    I am sure there will be those who think I am wrong about my ranking, but this is just an objective attempt to rationalize a ranking based on relevance, appeal and legacy.

    So, without further delay, let’s start the debate as to which team has the best logo.

32: Carolina Panthers

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    The only thing cool about the logo is the fact that it is black. Here is where the relevance factor comes in.

    There are no panthers in Carolina. I looked and researched. Besides, the cat doesn’t look menacing at all.

    Now, there is a stark difference between what the logo looks like and the uniform. The uniform looks good. In fact, the black and blue look good together. As for the cat, it’s a no go for me.

    If they did have to go with a cat, they should have gone with real wildlife that inhabits North Carolina like the bobcat. Oh wait, that’s the NBA team, but they were founded in 2004, while the Panthers were founded in 1995.

    How about the Carolina Owls or Carolina Muskrats? They are actually pretty vicious creatures.

31: Jacksonville Jaguars

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    No, I don’t have anything against cats, but there is a theme emerging here. There are no jaguars in Florida. In fact, the Jacksonville team should have adopted the panther since there is an actual Florida Panther, an endangered species at that.

    Even though the hockey team owns the rights to the Panther name, they still could have chosen a better animal.

    The cat looks as though it is suffering from some sort of disease and looks like it’s trying to cough up a fur ball.

30: Cincinnati Bengals

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    Seriously, what the hell is that all over their helmet? I know, it is supposed to represent the stripes of an actual Bengal tiger, but again, there are no tigers in Ohio.

    OK, give them an A for creativity, but for relevance and legacy a D-minus.

    Maybe it was better when they had the name written across the helmet, which was about as condescending as an organization could be. I am sure upper management said, “Hey, let’s spell the name because we can’t come up with any decent logo.”

    At least they knew enough to incorporate the stripes throughout the letter B. Thinking about the Bengals helmets makes me wish for the day when Topeka finally gets its franchise and names it the Zebras.

    Wouldn’t that be cool, a white helmet with zebra stripes all over it? It’s got a certain ring to it, Topeka Zebras.

29: Tennessee Titans

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    Time to move away from bashing cats, I am still trying to figure out the Titans logo.

    What’s with the flame thing and three stars surrounding an unfinished sword? I don’t get it.

    I think this was a lame attempt to look 21st century, or they went into the old USFL vaults and stumbled on this idea, a bad one at that.

28: Buffalo Bills

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    Sorry Buffalo fans, but what exactly is a Bill? I mean, Buffalo is the name of the city, but what exactly is a Bill?

    Is this supposed to be some clever spin on the cowboy performer Buffalo Bill? If so, then why not have a man with two six shooters as your logo?

    Seriously, go examine that thing. And what is that red streak down the length of its body? Is that some sort of representation of a Native American hitting it in the head and the red representing the blood being shed by the beast?

    I don’t know which is worse, this design or the old buffalo just standing there like it was grazing.

27: Arizona Cardinals

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    One would have to go back to the old Chicago Cardinals, and then onto the St. Louis Cardinals to understand the name, so it is fitting that when the franchise headed to the great southwest, they would keep the name.

    However, I think they should have done a redesign with the team moved. Yes, there was a slight modification, but one would have to look very closely to see the new beak and more slanted eye.

    Why do they just put the head of the bird on their helmet? Why not put the whole bird in attack mode?

    At least they have the colors right because the Cardinal is red, but the head all by its lonesome looks like a cheap design job. Go back to the old Eagles design and transform the cardinal into that. Now that would be cool.

    Sorry Cardinals fans. It has legacy to it and relevance since the cardinal is a bird found in many states, but it lacks creativity and therefore warrants a low rating.

26: Philadelphia Eagles

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    The Cardinals observation segues into the Eagles simply because the Eagles should have never changed their logo from the early days.

    The spread eagle with talons gripping a football was relevant, cool looking, contained creativity and legacy. This new eagle head design looks plain and quite frankly, it looks ordinary.

25: Chicago Bears

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    Man, I am going to make a lot of enemies with this one, but seriously, the C looks so plain. Yes, there is history to it, but it lacks any sort of creativity.

    Hey Chicago, the Cincinnati Reds just called, they want their logo back. You see what I mean?  I would much rather see an image of a fierce bear as their logo and for their helmets.

24: San Francisco 49ers

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    The 49ers really limited themselves when they adopted that name. I mean, what could they put on their helmets? A gold pan, some guy leaning on one knee holding a pan, or a pick ax with a gold nugget next to it?

    Don’t get me wrong, the 49ers have history to their franchise, but the SF simply looks collegiate and nothing more.

23: Atlanta Falcons

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    I can understand the Falcons organization attempt to be more creative about their design, so I will give them a break on that. Plus, I am cool with the colors; the black and red offer great contrast.

    However, you have to really look hard at it to see the wing down and talons forward.

    For some reason if you look at it quickly, it looks more like a poorly proportioned bird that couldn’t get off the ground with a 50 mph gale. I know it’s supposed to subliminally look like an F, but it just doesn’t fly.

    Sorry Atlanta fans!

22: New England Patriots

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    Here we go. “What, are you crazy? The Patriot logo is, well, patriotic.”

    I know, I know, I hate rating the Patriot logo this low, but consider the rationale.

    It looks too flashy. I much preferred the old patriot leaning over about to hike the football. That looked more authentic. Besides, the hat the patriot is wearing looks more like a hat gone wrong, like those are feathers or banner pieces flailing behind the main cover.

    Plus, I would get rid of the silver helmet.

21: Cleveland Browns

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    Most people probably have the Browns as one of the worst, but there is something about the nothingness that is compelling and that speaks volumes.

    I think the nothingness is emblematic of the people. I am not trying to get overly philosophically here, but there’s nothing flashy about Browns’ fans so the nothingness of the logo seems right.

    Brown signifies simplicity yet it is a widely accepted idea that brown is a neutral earthy color that lasts over time.

    OK, too deep, sorry. Browns come in at No. 21.

20: Indianapolis Colts

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    I am trying to fend off my son as he attempts to turn off my computer right now because he is a die hard Colts fan.

    To some degree, I am OK with the Colts logo. It’s simple and has a history to it, but it lacks creativity and the simple aspect of it makes it appear plain.

    I mean think about it, it’s a horseshoe.

    I would not rate Colts this low, but given some of the really good ones out there, the Colts fall into this spot.

19: Baltimore Ravens

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    I’m sorry, but once again all we have is the head of a bird, and if we didn’t know the team name, we might have a hard time figuring out what kind of bird it is.

    I get the whole Ravens thing because of Edgar Allan Poe and his Baltimore connection, and it’s even a good name for a team, but the logo is just poorly done.

    I think a shadowy figure of a raven would be better suited as their logo.

18: St. Louis Rams

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    The name is solid. It flows well, but I just can’t do the colors of the blue and gold. And is it me, or is it some weird kind of gold color, it’s more like a rip-off gold or 10-carat rather than 24-carat gold?

    Which is the shinier of the two?

    I’m sorry Rams fans. I am just not into the gold or silver that many teams use. I liked the old blue and yellow, it was more of a contrast. I like the horn on the helmet, it makes sense.

    But the team logo of the ram head being blue and the horn being gold? I am not so sure.

17: New York Giants

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    This is a tough one. On the one hand, I like the simplicity of it, but nothing is simple about New York. I think I like it better than when they had the name Giants written across the helmet.

    On the flip side, it’s just so plain. There doesn’t seem to be any identity to it, almost like a random N and Y.

    Well, you almost made the upper half Giants fans, sorry.

16: Miami Dolphins

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    What I like about the Dolphins logo is that it represents South Florida. Also, the colors seem to match the beach like attitude with the teal and orange.

    What I don’t like, and PETA might join me in this, is putting helmets on animals. It’s cruel punishment. I mean, how can the thing hear? He looks like he “has” to wear a helmet because he runs into things apparently.

    Good job Miami!

15: Green Bay Packers

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    Maybe it’s the green and yellow or just the simplicity of the G, I don’t know, but I like the Packers logo.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, Bears fans are crying foul, but I have already analyzed your logo. The Packers name fits appropriately as well and the green and yellow represent relevant things.

    The green pastures (also Green Bay) of summer time in Wisconsin and the yellow for the cheddar. Now that’s a combination and my interpretation because I could not legitimately find an answer anywhere.

14: New Orleans Saints

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    I have to admit, I am not a big fan of the fleur de lis, but this shows that I am willing to set aside my bias for true evaluation. Here is why the Saints made the top half.

    New Orleans was basically discovered by the French and their influence is still very deep today. The fleur de lis literally means the flower of the lily, whatever that means.

    Therefore, when looking at the logo, one can see that A, the fleur de lis is very representative of the tradition of the area and there is a nice simplicity to it.

    Besides, would you have preferred some guy in a robe with a halo over his head and holding a football?

13: Washington Redskins

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    Yeah for the Redskins, I am so glad they didn’t give in to the political correctness that seems to permeate in this country anymore. I don’t want this to be a political statement, but don’t you think having the name is a compliment to the culture of Native Americans?

    Maybe the usage of the word redskins is a bit much, but the Washington Native Americans just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    OK, to the logo, it represents itself well by enclosing the Native American in the circle and the decorative head dress feathers as a complement.

12: Detroit Lions

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    The new logo is a vast improvement over the lesser assertive looking lion of old. Finally, someone did a little history on heraldry to know that a lion rampant is one that is on hind legs with two front paws in the air and head forward.

    The actual symbolism to that is a stance of one that is carnivorous. Wow, new respect for the Lions logo on that note.

11: Seattle Seahawks

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    The Seahawks logo is pretty flashy and seems to represent the great northwest pretty well. Known for its Native American population, the logo resembles a Seahawk bird head carved into a totem pole.

    The colors of teal and silver are great combinations, and the bird has a nasty look as if to think some other bird just nabbed its fish.

10: Oakland Raiders

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    There is no denying the Raider logo is one cool logo, but I have a few issues with it.

    The most notable issue is that the guy wearing the helmet looks too clean. If you look carefully, I think it’s Howie Long.

    Second, get rid of the 1940’s style helmet. Yes, there is a legacy to the logo, but a slight tweak to it may help.

    And, maybe instead of a patch, which is more representative of a pirate, the guy should have on shades and a kiss my a** grin on his face.

9: New York Jets

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    I am so glad the Jets finally got rid of that slanted Concorde looking thing over the name.

    Even though the Jets went back in order to move forward with this recent logo, it’s clean, has some subtle attitude to it and is just a good symbol of the traditional green and white of the organization.

    The only knock is that I wish they would have gone back to the more football shaped exterior and just done away with the football below the name because the shape of the whole logo would have said football.

    Otherwise, a great, solid logo.

8: Dallas Cowboys

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    Critics claim the Cowboys logo is too simple, that it lacks any sense of appeal. Perhaps, but it’s that simplicity and idea the symbol represents that puts it in the top 10.

    After all, Texas is the Lone Star State. It’s appropriate, clean and says it all in just one simple star.

7: Minnesota Vikings

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    The Vikings are one of three teams whose actual team logo is different than their helmets—the Rams and Bengals being the other two.

    The Vikings logo is a classic logo that represents the area of Minnesota. There are many Scandinavian people who relocated to the area, so the idea of Vikings is appropriate for their team name.

    The horn on the helmet is either loved or hated. Critics say it doesn’t look real and that its two dimensional aspect is unappealing.

    OK, I can understand their assessment, but it would be difficult to put actual horns on the helmets, a lot of people would get hurt.

    As for the Vikings team logo, the Viking looks pissed and is sufficiently represented with his long “Thor” like flowing locks. And, I love the purple fur band that borders the helmet.

6: Denver Broncos

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    When the Broncos changed their uniform and logo in the ‘90s, a lot of people were baffled, me included. I was not ready for the bold change they made, but then again I wasn’t ready for the Rams change either.

    However, I must say, I like the new look. It’s taken a few years, but I am cool with the deep blue and orange. I even like the horse head. It looks like its charging and determined.

    It’s definitely an upgrade from the letter D and bronco they placed in the open space of the letter. And I am glad they went to the deep sea blue over the slightly odd colored blue they had before.

5: San Diego Chargers

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    You gotta love the bolt. It’s simple, symbolizes the electricity it brings and just has a great curvature to accent the helmet. Awesome!

    The only thing I struggle with is I like the bolt on a white helmet, but I don’t care for it as much on the navy blue, but I can understand the navy color due to the enormous influence the Navy has in San Diego.

4: Pittsburgh Steelers

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    The logo of the Steelers is truly a classic. It embodies the blue collar life so much associated with the steel town.

    If I had one disagreement with the logo, it would be that it is the same as the American Iron and Steel Institute. But that’s a small matter.

    You also have to love the idea the Steelers would put their logo on one side of the helmet. How cool is that?

3: Kansas City Chiefs

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    Another team that has yet to yield to political correctness, I thank you. The arrowhead with the city’s initials within it is just a classic example of how simplicity can speak volumes.

    The Chiefs logo has remained consistent over the years. Why make adjustments to something that looks great and symbolizes the rich tradition of its people.

    Also, the pure red and white is such a great combination. The Chiefs added a touch of gold to the uniform, just enough to accent it, not overwhelm it. It’s just a great uniform and helmet combination.

2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Do you remember the old Buccaneers uniform, that orange sherbet with a flaky looking pirate on its helmet? He looked more like a beefed up Errol Flynn from the Robin Hood days rather than some pillaging pirate.

    The Buccaneers changed their logo and the new look is awesome. The flag with its skull and swords and a sword as its flag pole is a great design.

    However, I do not like the pewter. I would much rather see deep orange or red and black as its primary color.

1. Houston Texans

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    I am sure there are many who object to this selection as my No. 1 choice, but in my estimation it embodies Texas.

    First off, the longhorn design is typical of the Texas steer. The star for an eye represents the Lone Star State and the red, white and blue are traditional colors that make a great combination.

    I believe the Texans logo is the best. It’s not too flashy, nor is it plain. It’s a fresh, classic and creative design that warrants a high consideration