NFL team logos: Your guide to every National Football League logo
What comes to mind when you think of NFL team logos? Chances are your brain is flooded with images featuring brightly colored mascots and bold lines. However, there’s often more to NFL logos than meets the eye. These emblems aren’t just distinctive, they’re meaningful too.
While the National Football League logos are quite different from the symbols you might expect to see in other sporting tournaments, they serve a similar purpose. Each attractive design aims to provide an insight into the club’s history, values, and goals.
These football team logos are steeped in evocative visual messaging, designed to capture the attention of fans, and ignite their passion, interest, and loyalty.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at every NFL team logo in circulation today, providing an insight into their meanings and unique components.
The power of NFL team logos
NFL team logos are by far the most powerful identifier of each distinct club. In fact, with 32 teams currently playing in the league, the modern emblems of NFL clubs can often be easier to recognize and remember than the names of the teams themselves.
Since the National Football League launched in 1920, it has grown into one of the most recognizable sporting groups in history. The league, and its approach to branding, is quite different to many of the football and sporting groups we see elsewhere in the world.
In the NFL, football team logos generally consist of boisterous cartoon-style characters, intended to grab attention when placed on shirts and marketing materials. Elsewhere in the world, it’s more common to see traditional crests, circular badges, and shields.
Though many NFL team logos share similar styles, they all have their own distinctive meanings. Some have remained consistent for decades, while others have evolved to address the changing tastes of football fans throughout the US.
National Football League logos: All NFL logos and their meaning
Notably, the NFL has updated its roster of clubs a number of times over the years. Initially, the league started with only a handful of teams. Today, there are 32 official clubs participating in the league, and some sources indicate that additional teams may be added in the future.
Here’s your guide to every NFL team logo used today.
First established in 1898 as the Morgan Athletic Club, the Arizona Cardinals first appeared in the NFL in 1920, as a charter member. They’re now the oldest continuously run football franchise in the US. Plus, they’re one of only two charter franchises still in operation since the league began.
Starting in 1947, the Arizona Cardinals embraced the image of a cardinal bird in their logo design. Over the years, the design became sleeker, bolder, and more refined. Today, the mascot is a daring and dauntless character, presented in only 3 colors.
Founded in 1965, the Atlanta Falcons joined the NFL in 1966 as an expansion team. Atlanta first began competing in American Football when the American Football League emerged in 1962. Since then, they’ve become one of the better-known teams in the NFL.
Like many NFL team logos, the Atlanta Falcons emblem is a stylized mascot image. It features a falcon, consisting of bold, aggressive lines, to showcase power. The design also looks a little like a capital “F”, inspiring name recognition.
The Baltimore Ravens were first established in 1996, and joined the NFL as an expansion team. The Ravens are the 33rd most valuable sports franchise in the world, and they’re also one of the most successful clubs in the NFL. Their name is inspired by the Edgar Allen Poe poem, the Raven.
The Baltimore Ravens have experienced some controversy with their logo in the past, after a previous design was found to infringe on copyright. Today, the current logo is a bold image of the head of a raven, embossed with the letter “B” in gold.
First established in 1959, the Buffalo Bills joined the American Football League as a charter league, and entered the NFL after the AFL-NFL merger. The team is named after an All-America Football Conference franchise from Buffalo.
For years, the Buffalo Bills team has used the image of a bison as the primary element of its logo. Originally, the mascot was red, before the team switched to a blue, charging bull, with a red stripe stemming from its horn.
Initially established in 1993, the Carolina Panthers are one of the younger teams in the NFL. They joined the league as the 29th franchise, and began playing in 1995. Interestingly, the shape of the Panther’s logo was designed to represent the shape of North and South Carolina.
In 2012, the Panthers were the first team to change their logo type and logo in the NFL. They wanted to give the image a more aggressive, and contemporary look. The new design features the team colors of teal and black, with white accents.
One of the more unique NFL logos in the US today comes from the Chicago Bears. The team was founded in 1920, and is one of two of the remaining franchises in the NFL which joined the league as a charter team. The Bears have had two unofficial mascots, Rocky, and Bearman.
Despite experimenting with numerous mascots, the Chicago Bears are one of the few clubs that don’t use an animal image in their logo. Instead, the emblem features a stylized letter “C” in the team’s official colors, with a pointed element on the back.
One of the many teams to join the NFL from the American Football Conference, the Cincinnati Bengals were first established in 1967. The Bengals have achieved some major wins in recent years, winning their first playoff game in 31 years during 2021.
Like the Chicago Bears, the Cincinnati Bengals have avoided using a mascot in their logo, and instead utilize a bold letter “B” adorned with stripes similar to a Bengal tiger.
Find out more about the Cincinnati Bengals logo here.
The Cleveland Browns were introduced during 1944, and began playing in the All-America Football Conference as a charter member, dominating the championships. After the Browns stopped playing for a short time, they re-entered the league during 1999, and have struggled to find success since.
The Cleveland Browns logo is one of the most traditional-looking NFL team logos on this list. It features a detailed football helmet, in the team colors of brown, orange, and white.
Perhaps one of the most iconic, yet simple NFL logos on this list comes from the Dallas Cowboys. The team was launched in 1960, and joined the NFL as an expansion team. The club has a record number of consecutive sell-outs for its games, demonstrating its popularity.
The Dallas Cowboys logo is a simple five-pointed star, intended to represent the state of Dallas. It’s currently one of the most well-known logos in professional sports.
The Denver Broncos began playing in American football during 1960, as a charter member of the American Football League. Though they didn’t achieve a winning season until 1973, they gradually became one of the NFL’s most successful teams, with only 11 losing seasons.
The Broncos logo follows the NFL trend of using an animal design, featuring a stallion with flaming orange hair. The image features various lines and sharp edges to demonstrate speed and power.
Founded in Portsmouth Ohio as the “Portsmouth Spartans”, the Detroit Lions joined the NFL in 1930, and were relocated to Detroit in 1934. The name the “Lions” was a reference to the Major League Baseball franchise, the Detroit Tigers.
The Detroit Lions haven’t changed their logo or uniform much since their inception. The image of a lion has always been a consistent element since the company chose its new name, depicted in the two of the club’s colors: blue and white.
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are the third oldest franchise in the NFL, with an inception dating back to 1919. It’s also the only non-profit and community-owned major professional sports team in the United States. The Packers have won the most championships in NFL history.
Though simplistic, the NFL team logo used by the Green Bay Packers is still eye-catching. It features a large “G” in white, placed inside of a green oval with a yellow border.
First established in 1999, the Houston Texans replaced the city’s previous NFL franchise, the Houston Oilers, who eventually moved to Nashville. The team first sound success in the league during the 2011 season, and have gone on to win five championships over the years.
The modern NFL logo used by the Houston Texans is an abstract depiction of a bull’s head, split to resemble the flag of Texas, and the state. There’s also a lone star in place of the bull’s eye, with five points representing tradition, independence, strength, courage, and pride.
Based in Indianapolis, the Colts were established in 1953, and have competed in the NFL since their founding. They were one of 3 NFL teams to join the American Football League and form the AFC, following the merger in 1970.
The Colts use a relatively straightforward logo, featuring a horseshoe in blue, with tiny white dots throughout the image. The design originally had stripes before it was updated to a simpler image.
Introduced alongside the Carolina Panthers in 1995 as an expansion team, the Jacksonville Jaguars have achieved significant success throughout their time with the NFL. They’re also the youngest NFL expansion club to play at a conference championship.
Initially, the Jaguars used a leaping jaguar as their logo, but this sparked controversy with the automaker Jaguar. The decision was eventually made to update the image to just a Jaguar’s head.
Kansas City Chiefs
Initially founded as the Dallas Texans in 1959, the Kansas City Chiefs relocated to Kansas in 1963. The Chiefs joined the NFL as a result of the merger in 1970, and were the second AFL team to defeat an NFL club in a championship game.
The current Kansas City Chiefs football logo is based on an image of an arrowhead sketched by Lamar Hunt on a Napkin. Within the arrowhead, we see an interlocking “KC” similar to a traditional monogram, inspired by the “San Francisco 49ers”.
Find out more about the Kansas City Chiefs logo here.
Las Vegas Raiders
Originally based in Oakland, California, the Las Vegas Raiders were founded in 1960, and joined the NFL during the AFL-NFL merger. The team experimented with the name the “Oakland Senors” initially, before settling on the Raiders.
Currently, the Raiders have one of the most complex logos in the NFL, featuring a detailed image of a man with an eyepatch, with two crossed cutlasses.
Los Angeles Chargers
Competing as a member of the American Football Conference west division, the Los Angeles Chargers are one of the two NFL teams to come from LA. They also have one of the simplest logos in the league, since updating their traditional crest.
The arched shaped lightning bolt in gold and blue represents the official team colors of the club, and is intended to showcase speed and tenacity.
Los Angeles Rams
The second LA team to compete in the NFL, the Los Angeles Rams were founded as the Cleveland Rams in 1936, before moving to Los Angeles after winning a 1945 NFL Championship game. The Rams are the only NFL franchise to win championships for 3 different cities.
The football logo of the LA Rams is relatively straightforward, featuring the letters “LA” with a curved element on the “A” intended to represent a ram’s horn.
Established in 1965, the Miami Dolphins are another team to join the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL merger. They’re the only club to achieve a “perfect season” in the NFL, culminating in a Super Bowl win, 3 play-off wins, and 14 regular season wins.
The Dolphins have quite a unique NFL logo. The mascot of the dolphin is placed above a large, orange, and white sun, designed to represent the sunny location of Miami.
The Minnesota Vikings joined the NFL in 1960 as an expansion team, and began playing the following year. They’re named after the Vikings of Scandinavia, in reference to the Scandinavian American culture in Minnesota.
Unlike other NFL team logos, which feature an animal mascot, the Minnesota Vikings use the image of a Viking with a golden helmet as their emblem.
New England Patriots
Based in the greater Boston area, the New England Patriots were founded in 1959, and were initially named the “Boston Patriots”. The Patriots currently hold the record for the most Super Bowl wins of all time, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The design of the New England Patriots logo is called the “Flying Elvis”, featuring a man with long, flowing hair, in the colors of the American flag.
New Orleans Saints
Introduced to the National Football League in 1966, the Saints were one of the least successful franchises in the league for a few decades. However, the team’s fortunes did start to improve during the 21st century.
The team’s logo is a fleur-de-lis, a common symbol of the city of New Orleans, as well as the Royal Family of France. It’s depicted in a combination of white, black, and gold.
New York Giants
Another relatively simple example of NFL team logos comes from the New York Giants. This club was one of the five teams to join the NFL in 1925, and they’re the only one of that group that still exists today. They’re also the longest-established team from the Northeast.
For a number of years, the New York Giants experimented with logos featuring a quarterback preparing to throw a ball. However, today, the emblem is a simple “NY” monogram in lowercase.
New York Jets
Another NFL team based in New York, the Jets were founded in 1959, as the Titans of New York. They’re one of the only NFL teams to win their lone Super Bowl appearance, and they’re one of four teams to never win an AFC championship.
Relatively simple, the New York Jets logo features a stylized wordmark on a green oval, intended to represent an American football. The image also includes a football superimposed over “Jets”.
Established in 1933 as a replacement for the Frankford Yellow Jackets, the Philadelphia Eagles have appeared in the playoffs 29 times and won 16 division titles. The team has one of the biggest rivalries in the NFL, with the New York Giants.
Like many NFL logos, the emblem of the Philadelphia Eagles features an animal head, in this case, an Eagle, facing towards the left and down, with sharp components and thick lines symbolizing power.
Founded in 1933, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the seventh oldest franchise in the NFL, and the oldest club in the AFC. The team has earned a robust fanbase over the years, nicknamed “Steeler Nation”, they’re also well-known for having the second most Super Bowl appearances.
Known as the “Steelmark”, the Steelers logo consists of a circular badge, with the colored “asteroids”, representing the ingredients used in the steel making process.
San Francisco 49ers
Introduced in 1944, the San Francisco 49ers joined the NFL in 1949, and became the first major league professional sports franchise in San Francisco. They’ve won five Super Bowl championship, and are now the 6th most valuable team in the NFL.
The logo of the San Francisco 49ers is reasonably straightforward, featuring an oval shape in red, with a black and golden outline. The “SF” in the center is a monogram similar to the one used by the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Seattle Seahawks joined the NFL in 1976 as an expansion team. They’re colloquially referred to as the “12s” and the club’s team has set the Guinness World Record for the loudest crowd at a sporting event.
The Seahawks have redesigned their logo a few times, however the “Seahawk” mascot has remained a consistent part of the team’s identity. The image of the Hawk is extremely streamlined, intended to represent speed and precision.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Based in Tampa, Florida, the Buccaneers joined the NFL in 1976 as an expansion team with the Seattle Seahawks. They’ve won two Super Bowl championships, and are one of only two NFL franchises who have been undefeated in their Super Bowl appearances.
The Buccaneers have changed their official logo five times, usually making subtle alterations. The design features a standard flag, with a sword on the right, and a skull and crossbones.
Originally known as the Houston Oilers, the Tennessee Titans were launched in 1959, and have only played in the Super Bowl once. They have changed their logo and uniforms a number of times over the years, particularly since updating their name.
The current logo represents the flag of Tennessee, with a sharp letter “T” in the center, intended to look three-dimensional, with various gradients.
Launched in 1932, the Washington Commanders were one of the first NFL franchises to have their own “fight song” played by a marching band at home games. The logo of the Washington Titans, and their color palettes haven’t changed much over the years.
The image today features a relatively simple letter “W” intended to look three-dimensional with the placement of various yellow lines.
What is the oldest logo in NFL?
Looking at NFL team logos, we can see a few commonalities. Virtually every logo in the NFL today is a simple, modern emblem, featuring either a bold letter, monogram, or streamlined image. Most include mascots connected to the name of the team.
The Arizona Cardinals logo currently stands as the oldest logo in NFL, as it was first developed in 1901 by the Cardinals owner Chris O’Brien. However, the design, like many NFL logos, has been altered over the years to adapt to modern preferences.
If you’re inspired by the different logos mentioned above, reach out to Fabrik today to discover how we can help you produce the ultimate emblem for your brand.
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