Angry Birds and Pirates: An examination of NFL logos

Hello, weird pirate.

Since the NFL formed in 1920 there’s been a long history of fantastic logos. Like this musketeer with carotenosis who caught a dagger in his mouth and got sand in his eye. Or whatever it’s supposed to be.

The NFL’s 32 team logos basically fall into one of four categories: pissed-off animals, people, the alphabet, and symbols.

Pissed-Off Animals

Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins. That’s 12 teams. More than any other category. It would be 13 if we included the Bengals, but we can’t. We’ll get to that.

Look at some of these cantankerous creatures.

They look like they want to murder your family and pick at their bones. Is that supposed to be a Bronco? More like a rendering of Satan. It looks like it could shit lava. But we love it right? Heck yeah we do! Like I said, it’s the most popular NFL logo type. Birds especially. There are five different bird teams. Sometimes they even make them angrier.


New England Patriots, Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings.

Mind you these are based on their logos, not team names. Hence why teams like the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys are not included.

The Alphabet

San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs are kind of a combo of the Alphabet and Symbols. But until they take the “KC” off the helmet, it lives here.


Houston Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Oakland Raiders.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the different logo types we can examine them against each other. Because let’s face it, some logos just flat out suck.

Top 10 Worst NFL logos

#10 Kansas City Chiefs

A weird mix of alpha-logo and symbol. It’s just not working. It looks like there were two schools of thought on the logo and they just couldn’t agree, so they combined them into a crappy compromise. Dump the letters and embrace your Native American theme. Here’s a crazy idea, put a Chief on it.

#9 Indianapolis Colts

It’s a horseshoe. …no, no. Take a minute. A horseshoe. Drink it in. Now scroll back up and take another gander at that fire-breathing demon horse the Broncos got. Their horse shoots first and asks questions later. They got Liam Neeson from ‘Taken’. You got Paul Giamatti from any movie he’s ever been in. I understand the logo is old but so is my grandfather and sooner or later he’s gotta die. Time to update your logo partners.

#8 New York Jets

Did you know the Jets were originally the New York Titans. No shit. Why the Titans? Well, Titans are bigger and stronger than Giants. Everybody knows that. But they sucked, fell into financial ruin, and a bunch of guys in suits, I assume, bought the Titans in the ’60s and renamed them the Jets. Presumably because of the jets flying out of LaGuardia Airport went right over them in Shea stadium. Though people debate that’s the reason. What’s not debatable is that there is no jet in this logo. As far as I can see it’s a football inside a football with the team name. Lazy. Lame. Boring. J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets! Oh… even their cheer is lazy.

#7 New York Giants

I’m not a fan of Alphabet logos. I know Chicago, Green Bay, and San Francisco all suffer from the same logo-less affliction, but somehow this one seems the laziest. Two lowercase letters? I realize drawing a Giant as a logo would be tough. But look at what the Patriots did. It’s not great but it works. Hell the Texans logo doesn’t even make sense; unless all Texans are steers. Or the Titans. What the fuck sense does that flamey ‘T’ make? None! But they tried. Get a logo, New York.

#6 Buffalo Bills

First off, they should be the Buffalo Bison. But let’s not get into that. The logo blows. Bison are awesome as hell. Beautiful. Ferocious. This logo is not. Grab a team of artists, force them into a bunker, and don’t let them out until they come out with a killer bison logo. And quick, before the team moves to Toronto and becomes the Maple Syrup Mounties.

#5 Oakland Raiders

Look at this thing. It’s hideous. They’re called the Raiders. You can’t come up with a better logo than this? It looks like an unfortunate clip-art circa 1992. Why not pirates? A sword? A ship? A skull and crossbones? If you need inspiration look to your fans. They’re dressed like rejects from a Mad Max movie. Surely there’s something there. I’m just glad they changed the original team name from the Oakland Señors. I shit you not.

#4 Miami Dolphins

I don’t know how hardcore you can make a dolphin look. It’s just an effeminate shark. But for the love of god take that helmet off him. Rumor has it the Dolphins’ management is pushing to update the logo. My recommendation: put a machine gun in his mouth and cover him in tuna blood.

#3 Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals logo offends me. Not because it’s ugly. But because they actually have a cool team name. Unlike the Dolphins or Jets who never had a chance, the Bengals had an opportunity and they threw it away. They’ve never had great logos, but they didn’t become an Alphabet team until 2004. They could have designed a quality pissed-off animal, but instead, they went with a ‘B’. Great job. Everyone fear the ‘B’. But there’s stripes.

#2 Washington Redskins

Are we about to get serious? Kinda. Because I can’t rag on the Redskins logo without first pointing out that their team name needs to change. The Redskins is an inappropriate team name. It’s the equivalent of calling them the Blacks. Or the Yellowskins. Neither would fly. It’s time for them to update their team name and their logo. Both are ugly. I mean are you gonna miss that logo? It looks like a wanted poster. Have you seen this Indian? However, I wouldn’t want them to abandon their Native American theme. You could call them the Tomahawks. That’s ready-made for a sweet logo: a bad-ass tomahawk with some feathers tied to it. It’s an improvement all around.

#1 Cleveland Browns

My head is about to explode. Not only is there no logo here but the fucking helmet isn’t even brown! They’re called the Browns and their logo is a logo-less orange helmet? Ugh… pain. Cells dying. I feel bad for the Browns. First off, they’re in Cleveland. That’s enough to depress anyone. Unless of course, you love abandoned box factories and the smell of crack. While some teams get cool names like Panthers, Titans, and Saints, they get Browns. You know, brown is the best part of the rainbow. And the closest they’ve come to a logo was Brownie the elf. This poor team. They need their dignity back. The problem is there’s no identity here. How do you create a logo for a Brown? What the actual F is a Brown? They need to rename their team, give their uniforms an upgrade, and create a powerful logo. NFL does not stand for No Fucking Logos.