Boring, Dull, Homogenized Super Bowl Logo: NFL Made Huge Mistake


super bowl lii

“Corporate culture” is one of the worst business buzzwords you’ll ever hear. It’s right up there with “paradigm shift,” “synergy,” “core competencies” and “best practices” in the corporatespeak pantheon of meaningless gobbledy gook.

That’s because corporate culture values homogeneity and predictability above all else, and the National Football League is more than happy to conform. The NFL is a hyper-protected brand, on levels both great and small that would blow your mind. The NFL also protects their brand, even on levels of minutia, with the ferocity of a mafia hit man. It’s this “brand value” and “deliverable” that explanations the horrifying degeneration of the Super Bowl logo.

Take a look at the Super Bowl logo history above. Notice how from I-XIL you had a uniqueness to the design, with some originality. There were of course, some hits and misses, and some logos are certainly much better than others. Some were basic and blah, while others more creative. 

With many of them, you can tell where the game was. You can see the iconic imagery and well known design elements of various cities: New Orleans, Pasadena, Miami, San Diego, Phoenix etc. present within the logo. 

This kind of imagery helps you remember where the game was, and with it, perhaps who played and who won. It fosters nostalgia and in a good, innocent way. 

Then from XL on it starts getting boring, the corporatized homogeneity starts to really kick in. The logo becomes about the Roman numerals and pretty much nothing else. 

Describing these logos, is kind of how I answered when someone asked me what the Bud Light hard seltzer tasted like- “inoffensive enough, certainly very mainstreamish, nothing to have strong feelings about either way. 

Then at XLV it just became the same thing every year. I mean the exact same thing every effing year. Say it with me now, loud and proud, Homer Simpson style: BOORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRING!”

Then from L onwards, it was a new corporatized homogeneity, but still SO EFFING DULL! This is basically like having a party in Chicago and serving Goose Island 312. It’s playing music and selecting the Katy Perry body of work. It’s having Paul Rudd as your favorite actor.

It’s being a caucasian generation X or millenial female and Grey’s Anatomy is your favorite television show. 

In short, it’s trying to be as forgettable as possible, year after year. Congrats NFL, you certainly succeeded here.  

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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