“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.
You’ll see that in action this NFL Playoffs Divisional Round Weekend, a quartet of games where the betting action will be very heavy. And you can click here if you’re looking to do some online wagering this weekend. After all, you can add to the NFL’s “brand value” and bolster their “deliverables.”
And that’s how we got this awful degeneration of the official Super Bowl logo. This Tweet thread from three years ago (almost exactly to the day) explains it perfectly.
— Chris Creamer (@sportslogosnet) January 22, 2020
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 some hits and misses of course, and some logos were certainly much better than others. Some were basic and blah, while others more got more daring and creative.
With many of these logos, you can actually tell where the game was. You can see the iconic imagery and well-known design elements inextricable to various cities: New Orleans, Pasadena, Miami, San Diego, Phoenix etc. within the logo.
This kind of imagery helps you remember where the game was, and with it, who played and who won. It fosters nostalgia and does so 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 how best I answered the question “what does the new Bud Light hard seltzer taste like? “inoffensive enough, certainly very mainstreamish, but nothing to have strong feelings about either way.”
Then at XLV it literally 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! And once again, just doing the same thing over and over again.
This is basically like having a summertime 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 millennial 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 is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.