Super Bowl XVI: Similar logo to the last one, but now it’s gold-embossed and in a fat font with sharp edges. They really tried to make this one look special. And yet… something seems off. Maybe it’s how 80s it all is. Maybe it’s the trapezoidal serifs on the Roman numerals. Maybe it’s something off-putting about the embossed look, like it kind of looks like it’s a logo for Publisher’s Clearing House giveaways. Maybe it’s how it manages to be complex and simple at the same time. But somehow, this seems like a step down. Grade: C+.
Super Bowl XVII: I guess if Pasadena isn’t known for making cars, it’s known for driving them, because this is the second straight logo for a Super Bowl at the Rose Bowl that looks like the front grille of a car, and the comparisons are even more obvious. “Haven’t you heard? The Super Bowl XVII is so much better than the Super Bowl XIV!” This is another candidate for “first modern Super Bowl logo” with the long rounded rectangle containing the words “Super Bowl”. I’m not necessarily feeling this one either; it hasn’t aged well. The long bottom of the “V” is the main thing putting me off, but there’s also how fancy they tried to make the words “Super Bowl”, which can make it hard to read, and the general perplexity of making the Super Bowl look like a car brand. I’m actually vacillating between whether this is a good logo or a bad one, but I’m kind of leaning bad. Grade: C.
Super Bowl XVIII: Simple yet effective, with the “Super Bowl” banner curving impossibly against perfectly serviceable Roman numerals… and yet the font of the words “Super Bowl” kills it instantly. Just look at how wild those letters are and how they manage to make the whole logo cheezy. Although looking at it in long shot, the way the letters of the Roman numeral are crammed together doesn’t help. Grade: C+.
Super Bowl XIX: This is the opposite of the Super Bowl XVIII logo: the “Super Bowl” that flanks the Roman numeral is perfectly servicable, if in a funky 80s font, and the whole pseudo-circle motif really makes this feel like a big football game, but my god, that fat Roman numeral! It’s not as hard to read as you might think, but it’s still an ugly 80s number. Grade: C.
Super Bowl XX: Well, points for looking like the Broadway Video logo. And the Roman numeral, while still fat, isn’t quite as distracting as on the last logo and tries to fit in better. It’s still very 80s, but its simplicity manages to save it from being completely irredeemably cheezy, and instead gives it a certain retro charm. It actually looks like a logo from the 60s or 70s if it weren’t for the fact the Super Bowl didn’t have that kind of logo in that era. Grade: B.