Before Super Bowl XLV in “North Texas” the NFL announced that going into the future, the Super Bowl will have a standardized logo with only minor changes from year to year.

Now that we have come to the third Super Bowl under this design regime, I really hope that this comes to an end soon.

The standard super bowl logo features the Lombardi Trophy as the visual focal point. The trophy sits on top of the roman numerals for the game, with the stadium that the game is held at in the background. Oh, and the whole thing is in grayscale zzz…

The only thing that changes annually is the Roman numeral for the game and the profile of the stadium in the background. Even these changes are pretty unnoticeable because  football stadiums really don’t look all that different from one another, especially when rendered in black and white and hidden in the background.

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Can you really tell the difference between these at first glance?

I don’t want to say that Super Bowl logos were perfect before, because there certainly were some clunkers out there some that were boring and others pretty generic. Even with these less than perfect logos, more often than not the logos told you about where the game was played and a bit about the design aesthetic of the era.

With the Super Bowl logo playing a prominent part on merchandise for the winning team, I think it would be nice if you could tell these things apart without spending a minute examining the details.

Take a look at this logo from Super Bowl XII:

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This is a very simple, maybe even understated logo by today’s standards, but with the colors and the playful typeface for the Roman numerals you can fairly easily tell that the game took place in New Orleans. When compared to this year’s logo, the contrast is obvious. The futuristic, post-apocalyptic style of the current logo feels foreign and has none of the character of the lovely town that is hosting the event.

Take a look at some of the old logos, it is fun to see the uniqueness of the different host cities, from the native american inspired motif from Super Bowl XXX, to the nautical themes of San Diego or Jacksonville, or probably my all-time favorite — the geometric rose from Super Bowl XXI.

With the NFL’s heavy handed attempt at controlling and dictating every little thing possible, we have lost these unique logos. Perhaps in the future we will look back on these top down imposed logos as just a reflection of the Roger Goodell era.