Super Bowl XXXI: Now this logo says “New Orleans” to me. Although it’s also a chaotic logo: the colors are too similar and weird in their own right (seriously, teal and purple?), the ribbons are hard to make out in close-up and impossible, and the Roman numeral just looks weird and hard to read. The crown would work better and maybe even save this logo if it were easier to make out. All told, there were probably better ways to say “Mardi Gras” than this logo. Grade: C+.
Super Bowl XXXII: Now they decided to get cute and have the Roman numeral represented by Semaphore flags, because… um… San Diego isn’t known for much. But I guess a sea mammal would be mistaken for Miami, and they couldn’t figure out how to represent comic book nerds in a Super Bowl logo. It actually works pretty well and is surprisingly readable (and it’s really surprising no one would mistake the II for a III), but it’s still kinda distracting. The compass rose points are almost pointless, and the “Super Bowl” itself, viewed in close-up, almost makes this look like a place where you can get fish and chips for $9.95. Which would be weird if they combined that with a comic book store. Grade: C+.
Super Bowl XXXIII: This logo almost looks like it belongs in Las Vegas. I knew Miami was weird, but not that weird (though admittedly this is probably the most Miami-like of any of their Super Bowl logos). While previous logos looked triumphant, almost trophy-like, this logo subtly goes in a different direction – literally. What is it even supposed to be? A casino sign? Yeah, because that’s what you want to associate with the Super Bowl. What’s with the little dots over to the side? What’s going on? At least it’s readable, and works for whatever it’s trying to accomplish, and is actually vaguely iconic as Super Bowl logos go, once again making it feel like a party, because when you really analyze it it looks like D material. Grade: C.
Super Bowl XXXIV: For the new millenium, the NFL basically just reappropriated its own logo for a Super Bowl logo. I’ll get into the stupidity of that later. It’s generic and works for what it does, though the tilt makes it look like it’s about to take off, but the real star of this logo is the awkward Roman numeral, now fat in a different way from some of the 80s logos. And the NFL logo has always looked like a highway logo and especially so here. I almost don’t get the point of appropriating it, because it’s clearly the NFL logo, but it looks different enough that a lot of its impact is dulled. Grade: C.
Super Bowl XXXV: I don’t get this. On the one hand, it’s trying for a pirate motif in Tampa, which is good because it’s appropriate and pirates are cool. On the other hand, the Roman numeral is really fat and colored similarly to the background, like it’s trying to hide. That’s something the tiny “Super Bowl” banner can’t really save. And what is it supposed to look like, anyway? Grade: D+.