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Detroit Lions and 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 Detroit Lions logo history and the New England Patriots logo history.  Here we go!


Detroit Lions logo

The first Detroit Lions logo was made in 1952.  It was a football player, who was wearing a red jersey and blue pants.  He was also wearing a blue helmet.  The player held a football and was running alongside a yellow and black lion. 

https://sportslogohistory.com/detroit-lions-primary-logo
image source

In 1961, the team developed a new color palette and changed the logo to go with it.  The colors became Honolulu blue, silver, and white.  Honolulu blue is a hue that was inspired by the waves that hit along the coast of Hawaii.  The logo became a white lion with a blue outline.  Behind the lion was a blue line next to a silverish gray line.

https://sportslogohistory.com/detroit-lions-primary-logo
image source

1970 brought the first variant of the logo we are familiar with today.  The blue lion is standing on its back legs.  The lion has no facial features.  It is outlined in white and then blue.

https://sportslogohistory.com/detroit-lions-primary-logo
image source

 

2009 brought refinement of the blue lion.  The blue outline became black and the lion gained facial features.  He was given eyes and teeth.  The final changes were made in 2017, although the changes were very slight.  The black outline changed to silver.

https://sportslogohistory.com/detroit-lions-primary-logo
image source
https://sportslogohistory.com/detroit-lions-primary-logo
image source

New England Patriots Logo

The New England Patriots’ first season was played in 1960, but at the time, they were known as the Boston Patriots.  Their logo was a three-point, blue hat, with white detailing on the front.  After only one year, they saw that other teams had more intricate designed logos, and decided that they needed something different.

https://sportslogohistory.com/new-england-patriots-primary-logo
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 In 1961, Phil Bissell, who was a cartoonist for the Boston Globe, designed a new logo.  He created a logo that consisted of a “minuteman” soldier from the Revolutionary War.  The soldier was wearing a red tri-corner hat and a red, white, and blue, uniform.  He was bending down, in preparation for hiking a football. He was nicknamed “Pat Patriot”.

https://sportslogohistory.com/new-england-patriots-primary-logo
image source

The team became the New England Patriots in 1972 and made some alterations to the logo.  They made it look less cartoonish and gave it a more realistic skin color.  The size of the eyes became smaller and the image contained fewer detail lines.  The colors became more vibrant.  In 1989, it was slightly altered, again, by removing the skin color.

https://sportslogohistory.com/new-england-patriots-primary-logo
image source
https://sportslogohistory.com/new-england-patriots-primary-logo
image source

In 1993, the logo took a completely different look.  It became the profile of a gray face, wearing a minuteman hat.  The hat was royal blue and had a white star on it.  The hat had a trailing red tail that looked like a flowing flag.  This image was nick-named the “Flying Elvis”.  In 2000, the logo was slightly changed.  The blue was made into a dark navy shade.

https://sportslogohistory.com/new-england-patriots-primary-logo
image source
https://sportslogohistory.com/new-england-patriots-primary-logo
image source

 The “Pat Patriot” logo was liked by many people, but it was hard to reproduce it for different mediums.  For example, the logo was difficult to use in commercials, and TV productions.  The “Flying Elvis” was created to be easily reproduced in any circumstance.  This enabled the team to reach their fans all across the nation, in a more economical manner, with a symbol that was easily recognizable.


What are your thoughts? Do you prefer the smooth curve of the New England Patriot or the fierce look of the Detroit Lion?

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!