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NFL Logo History: Miami Dolphins vs. Green Bay Packers

Today we are starting a new series!  We are going to take a look at NFL logo history.  Each week we will examine two different NFL team logos.  We will explore old NFL logos, colors, and history.  Hopefully, there will be football to watch this season while we go through this...we'll see! Let’s get started! 

The Miami Dolphins became part of the American Football League in 1965.  They were awarded an expansion franchise that enabled them to join.  Their name was chosen in a contest that had nearly 20,000 entries.  In 1972, the Dolphins became the first, and currently, only, team to have a perfect NFL season.  They won every regular season game, two play-off games, and Super Bowl VII.  Their logo is one of the most recognizable in the NFL, and for very good reason.  Let's take a look at how it has evolved over time.

Dolphins logo 1
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The first logo lasted from 1966-1973.  It was an aqua colored dolphin, leaping through an orange sunburst.  The dolphin wore a white football helmet with an orange “M” on it.  In 1974, the dolphin was slightly moved to the center of the sunburst and the dolphin head was now sticking out the top right-hand edge.  This lasted until 1989.

 

Dolphin 1
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Dolphin 2
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 In 1989, the logo changed slightly.  The dolphin became a darker green and the orange sunburst was brighter.  The dolphin became a slimmer version of itself.

 

Dolphin 3
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1997 saw a very drastic change.  The sunburst became more defined by having fewer sunbeams and the dolphin became more animated by adding eyes, a nose, and a mouth.  The lines of the drawing are thicker and darker, making the outline more noticeable.

 

Dolphin 4
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Another logo change took place in 2013.  This was the most drastic change since the inception of the team.  The dolphin became a more realistic version of itself, and less cartoonish.  The motion has changed from jumping to swimming.  The sunburst has different size rays, and the colors are much brighter.  A change in sunburst color took place in 2018.  Although many changes have occurred, the starburst has remained the constant that has held the logo together through the years.

 

Dolphin 5
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Dolphin 6
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Up next, is the Green Bay Packers.  The Packers became a team on August 11, 1919.  Curly Lambeau, one of the founders, asked his employer, The Indian Packing Company, for money to purchase uniforms and equipment.  The team was given $500 on the condition that they be named after the company.  They joined the American Professional Football Association in 1921.  The Packers are the only professional sports team in North America that is completely owned by public shareholders.  Any sale of the team would result in any profits being donated to charity.  This pretty much guarantees that the team will stay where it is. 

In 1949, Lambeau was forced to leave the team.  In 1950, the “New Packers”, along with a new coach, released their first official logo.  The logo was an orange football between two goal posts, with “Packers” written in green in front of it.  During that year, they experimented with many different color combinations before finally deciding on hunter green, and mustard yellow.

 

Packers 1
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Coaches changed, again, in 1954.  Lisle Blackbourn, the new coach, premiered another new logo.  The logo showcased a quarterback with a number 41 on his jersey.  Behind the player was a football and an outline of a map of Wisconsin.  Green Bay was marked on the map.

 

Packers 2
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In 1959, Vince Lombardi became the head Coach and general manager of the Packers.  He redesigned the uniforms, basic design, and colors.  He also had a logo created just to be put on the helmets.  The helmet logo was designed by Gerald Braisher, the equipment manager.  That logo is the “G” we are used to seeing, in the shape of a football.

 

Packers 3
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Packers 4
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In 1969, Lombardi left and the helmet “G” logo became the official team logo.  

 

Packers 5
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So that ends this week's match up! What is the verdict: which design do you think is superior?

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!