adam j. sontag

slightly more like a website than before

lead my team to victory, to the super bowl

When I grow up I will play football. I want to lead my team to victory, to the super bowl, and the super bowl title.

With the Super Bowl and all its palpable intensity bearing down on me, my resolve had deepened. Becoming a professional football player – an aspiring MVP to boot! – has here evolved from would like to will.

If, say, you didn’t want to be a professional football player growing up, you might not recognise that egg-on-a-pedestal-slash-martini-glass as my hurried rendition of the Lombardi Trophy, the grandiose bauble awarded to each year’s NFL champion. Since the league decided to standardise in 2010, the trophy has become a central, required element of every Super Bowl logo.

Super Bowl XLIX logo
The logo for this week’s upcoming Super Bowl XLIX. They also show the stadium, because people totally identify with the shapes of stadiums.

For 45 years, the Super Bowl logo was an largely typographic reflection of and reaction to a shared, evolving visual vocabulary.

Super Bowl 1-44 logos Bowls, Super, one through forty four

Even without knowing which game corresponds to which year (or peeking at the tiny text), it’s possible to figure out when they’re from, give or take 5 years, just by looking: the throwback serifs from the 70s, the overt patriotism of the Gulf War and post-9/11, the sudden appearance of teal in the 1990s, and the shameless exploitation of every nifty perspective feature in Adobe Illustrator during the 2000s.

The league will inevitably trudge on with its formulaic Super Bowl logo for some indeterminate number of years until they realise it’s hopelessly dated and boring to be serving up the warmed-up leftovers of the 2010 NFL Championship logo over and over again. Like the all-grey, all-the-time color palette of the “standardised logo,” however, the the prospects of that happening are bleak.

Say what you will about my barebones depiction, at least it was a product of its time.