NFL Logos Ranked Worst to First

This article is a light-hearted look at all 32 NFL team logos, and count down to the best helmet logos in the NFL. See how your favorite team’s logo holds up to our critical takes, and whether you agree or disagree.

And, if a logo doesn’t spark joy? You know what to do with it.

NFL Logos Ranked Worst To First image

The Worst Logos

32. Carolina Panthers

panthers helmet logo image

The problem with this logo is the panther is unartfully cut off at the shoulders. Also, the cat’s head is awkwardly turned toward the viewer, where a better solution would be to show it in profile or head-on. It’s time to refresh this one.

31. New Orleans Saints

saints helmet logo image

Fluer de Lis? Really? Webster’s tells us this is French for “flower of the lily.” Opponents are not trembling in fear.

30. Cleveland Browns

browns helmet logo image

In logo design, simplicity rules. The Browns take this old adage to its extreme. Their logo is no logo, or rather, orange – as in the color orange. We suggest a return to the impish “brownie” of the 1940s.

browns brownie image

29. Washington Redskins

redskins helmet logo image

Beyond the problematic objectification of Native Americans, this design doesn’t make sense. The proud warrior and his two feathers are encased like a nesting doll within a circle and repeating an almost identical set of feathers.

28. New England Patriots

patriots helmet logo image

Let’s be honest, the Patriots won six Super Bowls in 18 years in spite of their logo. The logo features a stone-faced man wearing a tricorn hat (some say he’s the doppelgänger of politician John Kerry). Here’s the problem: the forced swoosh lines are not believable. Let’s face it, the forefathers of our country were old white men wearing powdered wigs. They never moved that fast.

Meh…

27. Arizona Cardinals

cardinals helmet logo image

The cardinal logo on Arizona’s helmets somehow lacks personality and pizzazz. For more interesting examples, we prefer the Louisville Cardinals or baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals logos.

26. Detroit Lions

lions helmet logo image

The lion on its hind legs harkens back to the look of medieval heraldry. But even after its 2017 update, the Lions logo is uninspiringly flat.

Not Bad

25. Miami Dolphins

dolphins helmet logo image

Miami updated their stodgy, jumping dolphin in 2013. The design is cleaned up (no more helmet) and is a quicker read—a nice modernization of the earlier logo.

24. Tennessee Titans

titans helmet logo image

This logo is sometimes derogatively called “the flaming thumbtack.” That being said, the design is solid and colors work well. What would make this a better logo? A hulking, titan superhero worthy of his own comic book.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers

steelers helmet logo image

The corporate mark of the steel industry on one side of a football helmet seems odd. Especially since the logo was originally designed for U.S. Steel’s marketing purposes in 1960. But after more than 50 years of use, we no longer question it’s representation of the Steelers football team.

22. Baltimore Ravens

ravens helmet logo image

Edgar Allan Poe wrote The Raven and lived and worked in Baltimore. It would be hard to find inspiration for a football team more disparate than a 19th century poem. Well done, Baltimore. Well done.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars

jaguars helmet logo image

The Jags pull off the angry cat logo better than their fellow 1995 NFL expansion team, the Carolina Panthers. For a realistically-rendered logo of an angry cat, this is about as good as it gets.

20. Los Angeles Rams

rams helmet logo image

The swirling horns representing a bighorn sheep fit nicely on the Rams football helmet. They represent the brutal game about as well as any logo. However we prefer the yellow and blue color combination of the 1980s which was much more striking.

In Need of a Makeover

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

buccaneers helmet logo image

You can’t go wrong with a pirate’s menacing Jolly Roger flag, featuring a grinning skull. But scale that flag down a bit. It’s too large for the helmet. Someone said, “Supersize it,” too soon.

VIDEO: How NFL logos have changed over the years

The Classics

18. New York Jets

jets helmet logo image

The Jets logo remains largely unchanged since it’s first use in 1964. (Except for 1978-1997 when a more streamlined version appeared.) The simplicity is appealing: J-E-T-S and a football. It worked then and it works now.

17. Green Bay Packers

packers helmet logo image

The Packers “G” is overly simple, somewhat dated and not-at-all intimidating. But what are they going to do, put Acme Packing Company on the helmet? So solid that the University of Georgia copied it.

16. San Francisco 49ers

49ers helmet logo image

Much like the Packers, the 49ers just use initials to represent the team on their helmets. Was the original logo of a handle-bar-mustachioed 49er firing his revolvers in celebration of a gold strike much more interesting and cool? Yes. Yes it was.

49ers original logo element image

15. Indianapolis Colts

colts helmet logo image

The old bucking colt logo – with his helmet flying off – from the team’s days in Baltimore can’t be beat, even if it is stylistically out-dated. The horse shoe is the next best thing. Simple, classic and iconic.

Old colts logo image

14. New York Giants

giants helmet logo image

The Giants “NY” logo is strong and simple; it doesn’t try to do too much. The team was right to resurrect this classic look from its 1961-1974 seasons.

The Good

13. Atlanta Falcons

falcons helmet logo image

The falcon logo on Atlanta’s helmets doesn’t look much like a real falcon. But it captures the spirit of a conquering raptor. And that’s all that matters.

12. Denver Broncos

broncos helmet logo image

Denver updated their upright, snorting bronco logo from the 1970s and 80s, making it more streamlined and aggressive. The horse’s head with its mane flying looks strong and fast, just like it should.

11. Philadelphia Eagles

eagles helmet logo image

What better way to let the eagle soar than the perfectly-placed wings on the Eagles helmet.

10. Minnesota Vikings

vikings helmet logo image

The horns on the Vikings helmet are supposed to look like three-dimensional horns protruding out. Even though the 3-D illusion is unconvincing, the resulting logo is the perfect size and shape for a football helmet. Like the Nike swoosh.

9. Buffalo Bills

bills helmet logo image

The buffalo charging with the single red swoosh line is perfect. Don’t mess with it. This logo is a vast improvement over the older version showing a buffalo that seems to have just been shot with a tranquilizer dart.

old Buffalo bills logo image

8. Seattle Seahawks

seattle seahawks logo image

The Seahawks logo features a striking horizontal design that fits well on a football helmet with a stylistic nod to the native culture of the Seattle area.

The Best

7. Kansas City Chiefs

chiefs helmet logo image

They say red represents action and courage. The white arrowhead design plays off the Chiefs red helmets and faces the opponent like 11 spears ready for battle.

6. Chicago Bears

bears helmet logo image

The Bears “C” hasn’t changed much since the early 1960s. It stands alone in its simplicity on a field of dark navy blue. Teamed up with burnt orange, it makes for a striking combination.

5. Oakland Raiders

raiders helmet logo image

The Raiders score points for having a great logo and not messing with it over the years. Could it be modernized? Yes. Should it be modernized? No.

4. Houston Texans

texans helmet logo image

The Texans began in 1999 after Houston lost their hometown Oilers (another great team logo from the past) in 1996. The Texans logo captures the essence of the state: longhorn cattle and the lone star. An artful, yet simple solution for a team from Texas.

3. Cincinnati Bengals

bengals helmet logo image

There are detractors to the full-helmet-design solution to branding a football team. We are not one of them. These cats look cool in their orange and black stripes.

2. Dallas Cowboys

cowboys helmet logo image

Dallas wins the award for simplest logo in the NFL. Whoever got paid for this design should be arrested for stealing. But the truth is, someone had to claim ownership of the iconic star, and there is no better choice than the Cowboys from the lone star state.

1. San Diego Chargers

NFL logos: chargers helmet image

Lightning bolts arcing across the dome of the NFL helmet are just plain cool. Good choice, San Diego.

—————

There you have it, all the NFL logos ranked from worst to first. It’s a tougher task than you think as many of the selections are similar in style.

The NFL Logo

The NFL logo image

Sometimes referred to as the “NFL Shield,” the NFL logo is practical and functional. Wrapped in the colors of the American flag, and with white reversed stars out of blue, this design links the National Football League very tightly with the good, old U.S.A. And, with attendance and revenue figures supporting its claim as America’s #1 sport, the look seems very appropriate.

So, you know how the NBA has “The Logo” modeled after Jerry West. Shouldn’t the NFL have a logo design with a silhouette of a player to complement The Shield? Who should the model for the NFL be? Jim Brown? Walter Payton? Dick Butkus? Tom Brady? I’ll leave you with that question and the rankings of helmet logos to ponder over until the season begins.

— Designer X

With a world of design and art direction experience, Designer X is well-qualified to comment on these matters. However, as he or she has learned not to burn bridges, the decision to remain anonymous was an easy one.

Extra Points

You’re on our NFL Logo Rankings page.

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