Super Bowl XLI: Tried to repeat the simplicity of the Super Bowl XL logo, but didn’t work out as well. Can’t say I particularly like the pylon taking the place of the “I” in the Roman numeral; if there’s one place I expect the serifs it’s there. That singlehandedly brings this logo down several notches. And what’s up with that weird twinkle up there? Grade: C.
Super Bowl XLII: Oh. Oh, dear God. How could one of the best Super Bowls ever, the answer to life, the universe, and everything, have one of the worst logos? It’s trying to look like the state of Arizona, but the stripes ruin the effect and it just looks like a bunch of random, disjointed bands. And why is it curving like that? The red and blue streaks with the stars feel shoehorned in, the Roman numeral itself is utterly dull especially with the ugly coloring and stops in the middle of one of the bands for some reason, and having the “Super Bowl” wrap above and below has never looked worse than here. And there’s one band above and two below! Oh god, the more I look at this the worse it becomes! What convinced them this was a good logo? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was their experience with this logo that convinced them to go with a single generic logo instead of unique logos going forward. (Here’s a hint: avoid crappy logos like this one.) And yet, even with all of that, when all is said and done, it still isn’t as bad as Scrappy-Doo. Probably. Grade: D-.
Super Bowl XLIII: Well, after the unmitigated disaster that was the last logo, you probably can’t blame the NFL for going incredibly generic for this one. I’ll be honest, when I first saw this logo, it was so generic I thought it was a fake, or Photoshopped, or a placeholder until they could get a real logo. It’s certainly inoffensive, I’ll say that much, but apparently it’s supposed to look like the specific stadium or something… I don’t know, all I know is that if they wanted a logo to serve as the generic logo of the Super Bowl going forward, you could do worse as a starting point. Besides, anything would be better than the abomination of a Super Bowl XLII logo. Grade: C+.
Super Bowl XLIV: The XLI logo, only without the pylon taking the place of the I, and bulky. Seriously, it looks like a battering ram. The bulkiness is especially apparent when you consider how the L wraps around the goal post. Oh, and the Roman numeral looks like it belongs on an 80s video game for some reason. It’s certainly inoffensive, but it’s sad that this is going to be the last game-specific logo. Grade: C+.
Super Bowl XLV: Get a good look at your new Super Bowl logo going forward. As a game-specific logo, it would actually be quite good, especially if they got rid of the Lombardi trophy and put the emphasis on Cowboys Stadium as the site of the game. As is, the Lombardi trophy kind of dominates the composition, and makes it look overly tall (and a bit suggestive). I wouldn’t have said no to the Lombardi trophy being used in past Super Bowl logos, maybe even as the “I” in a Roman numeral even though I criticized a similar practice in Super Bowl XLI, but apparently the NFL wanted to avoid tainting its trophy by associating it with a single Super Bowl. Personally, I don’t see how that would have happened, and it didn’t stop the NFL from using the logo for the entire league in XXXIV.
Which brings me to this logo as a generic logo going forward, where it falls short in key areas. The Roman numeral, once the key element of any logo, is still more prominent than “Super Bowl”, but it’s now very modular and lazy, and it still doesn’t stand out as much as it used to. The Lombardi trophy dominating the composition and making it too tall becomes even more of a sin, making you barely notice the other elements, especially at a distance. The grey color is just dull and boring – acceptable one year, but not year after year. And what’s the point of even including the stadium when virtually nothing around it will change? (I’ve actually seen quite a few Super Bowl logos recently that exclude the stadium).
But the worst part is that not only will each individual game no longer feel special in relation to the Super Bowl in general, the Super Bowl itself won’t feel special in relation to the rest of the playoffs! In addition to the general logo, the NFL is introducing new logos for the rest of the playoffs to match it, which means the Super Bowl logo will only differ from the logos leading up to it in which trophy it has to represent it and the vestigial inclusion of a Roman numeral. Admittedly the Playoff and Championship Game logos are much more subdued, but they also suck. But how much difference is there, really, between the Super Bowl logo and the Pro Bowl logo? Grade: C-.