I’m gonna keep this brief: If you want to see an example of the NFL shooting it’s own dick off you don’t have to look at them waffling over what is and is not a catch, an argument that soon devolves into what is and is not a football move. You don’t need to look at how nobody knows what is legal or headhunting anymore. You don’t even need to look at the continued existence of Joe Buck. Don’t get me wrong, you can look at all of those things and make a decent argument for change, but you don’t have to.
All you really have to do is look at the- What? You’re telling me that you’ve read the headline and I can cut the foreplay? Fine. Not for nothing, but some people need foreplay. Whatever. We’ll just dig in.
Here’s my point, following Super Bowl 44, the NFL moved to do away with the annually changing Super Bowl Logo to a standard Logo. Now I will grant you that SB44 didn’t have a kick ass version.
But for better or worse, that’s a unique, one time logo to commemorate the Super Bowl. After that came five years of some variation of this
See, as a first time thing, I was somewhat on board. It was a little too T2 for my tastes, but it had a unique feel. The game was being played at the soulless Jurrah World in Arlington, so the cold metallic silver sort of conveyed the theme of the game.
But that wasn’t a one time thing. This same logo showed up again, and again, and again. The rationale behind the change was that instead of promoting the cities that would host the Super Bowl, the league wanted to promote the Lombardi Trophy. I guess they thought maybe they could make it their Stanley Cup? They can’t, and it’s an absurd thing to even attempt, but I really think that’s what they were going for.
So in short, the league did this for branding purposes. Okay, let’s play a game. Tell me what happened during this Super Bowl. Don’t look it up, just see how long it takes for the memories to come back to you.
Barf, right? I mean maybe you don’t love the Steelers, and I can’t blame you for that, but the Cowboys getting their third ring in four years. Fucking sucks.
Now how about
Take your time. Don’t worry, you will get it eventually. Work out the roman numerals. We’re waiting, waiting, waiting, and times up.
Don’t pay attention to the confusing logo in the thumbnail, it was SB 46, and that was one of the biggest plays you’ll ever see, featuring the Giants once again knocking off a seemingly unbeatable Pats team.
How about this
Ah yes, it’s one of the most boring Super Bowls of all time. I swear to God, I wanted to fall asleep watching this game. Steelers over Seahawks. A lot of Hawks fans got pissed about what might not have been a touchdown. Antwaan Randal El found Hines Ward for a nifty little TD, but on the whole it was pretty bad. BUT, I can instantly recall this boring ass Super Bowl in Detroit just by looking at these plain ass red and blue letters.
Now how about
What Super Bowl was this? I’ll help you out, it was Super Bowl 47. Really quickly, what happened? Again, you should get this, it was only five years ago. And it was a damn good Super Bowl. Ravens over 49ers. Blackout. Ray Lewis finally going away. Kaepernick not kneeling but leading his team to the goal line for a game deciding stand. But you had to think about it a lot harder than you should have had to, right?
Again this happened 20 years ago
Broncos beat the Packers. Elway gets over the hump. AFC breaks out for their first Super Bowl in essentially forever. Packers blow what they were already starting to hype as a dynasty.
This happened three fucking years ago
And I need a second to remember this:
I SHOULD NOT BE FUZZY ON THIS LIKE THIS.
Here’s my point, growing up the stupid Super Bowl logos kind of stuck with me, and I can remember the games that happened before I was born. Go look at those simple designs. They all had personality, they usually had some reflection of where they were being played like the Rose Bowl
or New Orleans
or fucking Georgia
Now lets take a look at how they promoted Super Bowl 48, the first ever Super Bowl to be played in the New York Metro Region, in an open air cold weather stadium. A lot of things happening there, so I’ll give you the full, game day version of how the branding wizards really pitched it to the masses
Wow. That’s really fucking great, guys. There’s some buildings in the background. No, I really feel like I’m right there. You’ve truly captured the enormity of the event.
Just a few years ago, the league decided that they didn’t want to be made fun of for a year, and switched to the arabic numerals of 50 rather than slap up a big L, and you know what? Aside from being a pretty forgettable game, I can totally look at this
And go off into 100 “Cam Newton doesn’t really want it” takes for treating the football like a live grenade.
The last two Super Bowls were really compelling theater, and we remember them clear as day right now, but their logos are
And my sneaking suspicion is that in a few years, you are going to look at those designs and feel nothing. You’re not going to see an epic choke job, you’re not going to see the Philly special. You’re going to see the Lombardi Trophy and a bunch of letters. And hey, guess what this year’s logo is going to be?
Really setting yourself apart, SB 53.
So here it is, in a nutshell. The Super Bowl had absolutely no problem embedding itself into our collective consciousness. But the league saw that the game was getting more attention than the league, and decided that people really needed to be reminded of the trophy. Only now, they don’t really remember the actual fucking games as clearly as they did before. And only some of us have CTE.