This week we are looking at The Chicago Bears logo history and the Philadelphia Eagles logo history. Two very different logos with some pretty interesting histories to go with them!
The Chicago Bears actually started as the Decatur Staleys. They were based in Decatur, Illinois in 1919. They were sponsored by the A.E. Staley’s Company. They used the company’s logo as their team logo. It was a circle with orange on top with a Blue “S” and blue on the bottom with “Staleys Decatur” in white lettering.
They moved to Chicago in 1921 and became the Chicago Staleys. Their new logo read, “Staleys”, in red lettering, outlined with blue. Above the word, was a brown football, with black outlining.
In 1922, the team joined the NFL and were renamed the Chicago Bears. In 1940, the team created their first logo. It was a black bear, running with an orange football. In 1945, the logo changed to a black bear, who was crawling on top of an orange football. The bear looked tougher and more dangerous than the previous logo’s bear. That logo lasted until 1973. During that same time period, 1962, the Bears created a logo that was just used on helmets. It was a prototype of their currently used logo. It was white with a thin black outline. It was known as a “wishbone C”.
The current logo, created in 1974, was a complete redesign on the “wishbone C” that had previously only been used on helmets. The shape of the “C” was changed to make it look more modern. The color also changed. The Chicago Bears colors have remained orange, white, and black.
During the 1930s Great Depression Era, the New Deal Stimulus Program used a blue eagle as a logo. This is where the Philadelphia Eagles got their name from. This was also the inspiration for the Eagles’ logo. The new deal logo showed an eagle gripping items in its talons. The Eagles’ first logo was made in 1933. It was a blue eagle in flight with a football in its grip. In 1936, the eagle shape was altered slightly and was changed to green and white.
The 1940s brought some changes, as well. In 1941 the shape of the eagle and football changed once again, but only slightly. The figures became a solid, darker, green. In 1943, WWII made it difficult for teams to get enough players, so Philadelphia Eagles partnered with the Pittsburgh Steelers and became known as the “Steagles”. Their logo was a black eagle grabbing a black helmet.
1948 brought another green eagle, carrying a football, but this time, he was only carrying the ball with one claw, not two.
They redesigned, again, in 1969. Their new logo was similar to the Apollo 11 emblem. The team wore the flight’s mission patch on their jerseys that year. The new logo showed a green eagle carrying a white football. The wings had a similarity to wings of a jet airplane, with one being green and one being white.
From 1973 to 1986, the Eagles’ logo was a green football helmet, with a gray wing, that was outlined in white. To date, this is the only logo that has not included the head of an eagle.
In 1987, the team returned to the eagle. This time the logo showed the eagle flying in a different direction. It was a green and white eagle, with an orange beak, and it was carrying a brown football. The entire logo was outlined in black.
In 1996, the logo changed drastically. The eagle was reduced to just a head. The eagle is facing downward with its beak and eyes positioned in a way that could be described as an aggressive way. The Philadelphia Eagles colors have remained white, silver and green. The eagle is supposed to represent the team’s spirit and ingenuity, and just like football, is undeniably a symbol of America.
And that wraps up this week’s NFL team logos history! What are your thoughts? Bears or eagles? Which do you consider superior? (Try not to be biased based on favorite team…think design!)
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!