Super Bowl XXXVI: A good enough logo for the first Super Bowl after 9/11. The United States and flag motif is used very well, the fonts are agreeable, it looks dynamic, and the whole thing really makes it feel like America’s game. Primo! (Sadly, it doesn’t look so good in 2-D.) This is going to sound insensitive, but 9/11 certainly saved the NFL from the awful logo they previously had in mind for this game. Yes, apparently that thing is not a fake and really would have represented a sizeable step backwards from the recent trend. Grade: A+.
Super Bowl XXXVII: Well, the lighthouse motif works a bit better than the Semaphore flags, and this time they managed to make the width of the Roman numeral not quite so distracting as in XXVII. (Now if there were more lighthouses over to the sides it would be a different story.) It’s a perfectly serviceable logo where the elements all make sense for what they’re trying to accomplish. I even like the big “V” in the Roman numeral. Grade: B.
Super Bowl XXXVIII: Simple, yet effective. Nice and symmetrical, with the orbit motif being easily recognizible and associated with Houston. The one thing that bumps it down is that it’s arguably too simple, and doesn’t feel special enough for a Super Bowl. And what’s for the vaguely electronic font for “Super Bowl”? Grade: B+.
Super Bowl XXXIX: Remember when I said that the XXXVII logo managed to avoid the Roman numeral looking too awkward? Yeah, you can’t say that for this logo. Whatever that thing at the top is, it’s barely recognizable (is it a bridge, or the stadium itself?), which makes it a perfect symbol for Jacksonville, and both it and the “Super Bowl” are dwarfed by that huge Roman numeral just sticking out there, with legs holding it up and the pointless little wave at the bottom. They actually made it worse that the “I” is stranded among the Xs. All in all, not the best effort. Grade: D+.
Super Bowl XL: A very different, simple approach. They deliberately went for the “car” look, with the “Super Bowl” looking vaguely like hub caps. You just have the huge Roman numerals and the red and blue stars that would be repeated for the next four Super Bowls. It’s the simplest logo in years, yet it still manages to look modern. Overall, a quite appealing logo. Grade: A.
Next time, we wrap up with Super Bowl XL’s cousins and the worst Super Bowl logo ever!