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NFL Logo History: Detroit Lions vs New England Patriots

Thank you for joining us as we take a look at some NFL logo history!   Each week we will examine two different NFL team logos.  We will explore old NFL logos, colors, and history.  This week we are looking at the Buffalo Bills logo history and the Cleveland Browns logo history.  Let’s dive in!


Buffalo Bills

The original logo for the Buffalo Bills was created in 1960, the first year that the team played in the NFL.  The logo was a blue football with a herd of buffalo running alongside two football players.  Above the runners, in all capital, white letters, read the words, “Buffalo Bills”.  That logo lasted only one year.

NFL Logo History: Detroit Lions vs New England Patriots
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 In 1962, the logo changed.  It became a brown football with one brown buffalo in the background.  In the bottom, right-side of the football was one player, carrying a football.  He was wearing a blue jersey and a white and red helmet. 

https://sportslogohistory.com/buffalo-bills-primary-logo
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In 1970, the logo was changed again.  I wish I could include a lot more exciting information about that logo, but honestly, there isn’t much.  It was a single, red, buffalo.  The buffalo was standing.  That’s it.  They used that logo until 1973.

https://sportslogohistory.com/buffalo-bills-primary-logo
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 In 1974, the logo was changed to the logo that is still used today.  The logo was designed by an aerospace engineer named Stevens Wright.  It is a blue buffalo that is outlined in white.  The buffalo is charging forward and is on his hind legs.  It has a red stripe that is slanted and starts at the horn and continues past the tail.  This final logo includes all three of the Buffalo Bills colors – navy blue, red, and white.

https://sportslogohistory.com/buffalo-bills-primary-logo
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Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns started in 1944, in Cleveland, Ohio.  They were named after the team’s first coach and general manager, Paul Brown.  Their first logo was an elf, nicknamed, “Brownie” and was designed in 1948.  The elf wore a brown and white outfit and had a hat.  He was holding a football in his hand.  He had a playful, happy look on his face.  He was created by Dick Dugan.  Dugan later went on to become the sports cartoonist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a newspaper in the area.

browns
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In 1959, Brownie the Elf was altered.  His stance changed slightly, basically becoming a mirrored reflection of the previous elf.  The color changed to a white, orange, and black combination.  They used that logo until 1969.

https://sportslogohistory.com/cleveland-browns-primary-logo
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In 1970 the team decided the elf looked childish and took the logo in a completely different direction.  The logo became the profile of a red helmet.  It had a small, white grille and a black and white stripe on the top.  It had no designs on the helmet, which was a direct reflection of the actual team helmets.

In 1986 they changed the color of the helmet to orange and shifted the helmet to a ¾ turn.  The grille became larger and was gray and white to look more realistic.  The grille changed, again, in 1992, and white protection was added to the back. 

In 2006 the colors changed to orange and gray, and then finally, in 2015 to a brighter orange and black.  That is still the logo that is used today.  The Cleveland Browns are the only team in the NFL to not have anything on their helmets.  In most cases, not having a symbol on the helmet would be a step in the wrong direction, but in this case, it makes the team stand out.  It shows its uniqueness in a completely unconventional way.

https://1000logos.net/browns-logo/
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If you’re looking for graphic design projects, here’s a free NFL logo history worksheet that goes along with this article. Click the button below and enter your email!