With the 2011 NFL season frustratingly behind us, I thought it would be fun to have a little bracket tournament to pass the time while we wait for the 2012 draft (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD please get some defensive lineman who can get more than 4 centimeters off the line of scrimmage while rushing the quarterback). The competitors for this tournament will be the NFL team helmet logos.
At some point this past season I began paying attention to how some teams' helmet logos need to be reversed depending on which side of the helmet they are located. This got me thinking more generally about which teams' helmet logos I found appealing and not so appealing, and I thought it would be fun to have a competition where we would determine which team's helmet logo we like best. So I proudly present you with the APC helmet logo bracket tournament.
Now since the majority of regulars on APC are Packer fans, and since we're all pretty blatant homers about all things Packer-related, it didn't seem to make much sense to include the Packer's helmet logo in this tournament. Whenever I see an article written by an (allegedly) objective writer, the Packers' unis and helmets always seem to get ranked consistently high compared to the rest of the league, and I don't think that many of us would feel very differently. I was more curious to see which team's helmet logo we find the most appealing other than the Packers'. So this will be a 31 team tournament.
As with any bracket tournament, the competitors need to be seeded. And since I am the organizer of the tournament, the committee for assigning the seeds consists entirely of me. So there. The teams are seeded as follows:
1. Rams - The Rams were the first team to ever put a logo on their helmet in 1948, and other than some minor tweaking, the design has remained the same for 64 years. The Rams were the helmet logo originators and should be proud to carry that distinction. Sure they made a mistake when they swapped out gold hues in 2000, but their helmet logo is still the class of the league.
2. Colts - A classic helmet logo. Readily identifiable. Laden with history. When you see the Colts helmet logo, there's no way you cannot picture this photograph of Alan Ameche scoring the winning touchdown in the 1958 Championship game. Just try. See? It can't be done.
3. Steelers - Just because modifying the Steelmark was a no-brainer doesn't mean this isn't a great helmet logo. The uniqueness of only having the logo on the right side of the helmet scores bonus originality points, too.
4. Cowboys - Hate the Cowboys all you want, but there's no denying the quality of their helmet logo. A single, simple star to represent The Lone Star State. There's no possible way to improve this logo.
5. Vikings - There are many, many reasons to despise everything about the pooptastic franchise known as the Minnesota Viqueens, but their helmet logo is not one of them. I suppose the concept of the logo was stolen from the Rams, but really, was there any better option for them? With very little winning taking place on the playing field for the Queens these days, at least they can take some pride in the logo on their helmets.
6. Eagles - I've always been a fan of their eagle wing helmets. I know some people favor the nostalgic silver wings on kelly green helmets that the team featured from 1974-1995, but I think the updated wing design is an improvement.
7. Texans - I suspect I may generate some controversy by having the Texans ranked this high since they're the newest kids on the block, but man, they nailed this one. They didn't make it any more complicated than it needed to be, but still made it look tough, and I love how they refused to yield the star symbol exclusively to the Cowboys.
8. 49ers - Is there a team in professional sports with a more cumbersome name than "San Francisco Forty-Niners?" With a name that long, better to keep the helmet logo simple. It looks clean and classy. Although if they had chosen to put their original prospector wearing plaid pants on their helmets, that would have been pretty awesome too.
9. Lions - The side profile lion is another helmet logo which was a winner from the start. With all of the hoopla leading up to the changes implemented before the 2009 season, you'd have thought the new helmet logo was going to require some 3D movie theater glasses for proper viewing or something. Turns out they just added a few "action lines" and discernible teeth and eyes. Personally I'm glad those were the only changes; the essence of the lion does not need to be messed with.
10. Chiefs - Another clean and simple logo that looks great. They get ranked lower than the 49ers since they stole their interlocking letter design from that team. Placing the letters inside of a jagged arrowhead was a nice touch, though.
11. Dolphins - Putting an old-timey leather helmet on an aqua-colored dolphin and making that your helmet logo? That's just silly. But it works. The sunburst flare in the background really brings the whole image together.
12. Saints - The Saints really had no choice but to make some iteration of the fleur-de-lis their helmet logo. They made a smart choice by making theirs a variation with a sharp upper point and overall less flowery than a traditional fleur-de-lis.
13. Redskins - Blatantly derogatory and racist nickname aside, the Redskins helmet logo looks pretty good. It's certainly an improvement over the "R with feathers" helmet logo they briefly had during 1970 and 1971. The spear logo they had in the 60's looked good too, but I always associate the spear with Florida State, even though the Redskins wore it first.
14. NY Jets - I like this helmet logo, but I can't really put a finger on a reason why. Maybe I'm just glad they reverted to an older design after featuring this puke stain of a helmet logo for two decades.
15. Bears - This helmet logo has simplicity and longevity going in its favor, and I wouldn't expect or want the Bears to ever change it. The downside is that the Reds came up with it first, and the Bears' version is pretty much a carbon copy of the Reds' version with a color change.
16. Raiders - Now we're getting into the bottom half of the helmet logo barrel, but the Raiders' logo is still one that I like. Once again we have a logo that features an old-timey leather helmet, this time on a marauder who apparently failed to keep his guard up during a sword fight. Don't play with knives, kids, you'll poke your eye out! (I wonder what logo would they have come up with if the team had remained the Oakland Señors? Maybe this one?)
17. NY Giants - There isn't anything to especially dislike about this helmet logo, but there really isn't anything to brag about, either. The biggest problem is that it's really quite boring: two white letters on a blue background. Maybe if they included a red border along the edges of the letters it would look better. Personally I'm partial to the underlined GIANTS script they had on their helmets from 1976-1999.
18. Cardinals - Fear the mighty angry cardinal! This helmet logo got upgraded in 2005 to make the angles a little steeper, and I guess therefore make the bird fiercer. This one has just never been one of my favorites.
19. Bills - Another helmet logo which I place firmly in the "meh" category. Nothing especially objectionable about the blue buffalo with the zoomy red stripe, but nothing especially remarkable either. I wouldn't mind if they went back to the older red buffalo, although I suppose they changed since he looks rather lethargic.
20. Falcons - Another bird that underwent modifications to make it more angular and aggressive. My objection to the modification is that it kind of made the falcon's wing look like a Japanese hand fan.
21. Buccaneers - Why oh why did you change your helmet logo, Bucs? C'mon, a creamsicle-colored swashbuckler wearing a plumed slouch hat and holding a dagger in his teeth? That's just flat out BALLSY! I mean, I know you stole it from Beloit College, but still, it was freakin' awesome! Now you've swapped it out for a generic looking pirate flag that serves no purpose other than to not blatantly copy anything the Raiders have already done.
22. Chargers - Our nickname is the Chargers. Charging can imply electricity. See the two yellow lightning bolts on our helmets. Wheeeee.
23. Ravens - The Ravens were forced into a helmet logo change when a court ruled that they had pilfered this logo from Frederick E. Bouchat, an amateur artist who had submitted his logo design by fax to the Maryland Stadium Authority when he learned that a team was coming back to Baltimore. Even though he had copyrighted his logo, the Ravens just said "thank you very much" and started using a slightly modified version of it without any credit to Bouchat. So when they had to make a change after a lawsuit, they rolled out yet another angry bird. This angry bird has a "B" spray painted on the side of his head.
24. Browns - What to do with the Cleveland Browns in this contest. They have no helmet logo, so should they be disqualified? Should I just assess the orange canvass on the sides of their helmets? I guess the Browns deserve some props for sticking with tradition to the extreme; "We don't need any new-fangled helmet logo! Now get off my lawn!" I can respect tradition, but it's a very boring tradition. Even though the Browns have no helmet logo, their helmets still look better than the 7 remaining teams on this list.
25. Titans - It's like, a pointy "T" dagger thing with three stars and some kind of blue and red flames. Maybe it's a comet. Or maybe the flames are supposed to be a petroleum spill. This logo looks like it was designed by an aspiring graphic design high school student, so perhaps it's fitting that a certain high school in my region - a high school featured in a well-known movie - currently showcases this logo on their helmets as well.
26. Seahawks - Have you ever seen a real osprey? Their necks are not especially long. Certainly not unusually long compared to any other bird. So I'm not quite sure why the Seahawks decided to make their helmet logo accentuate the bird's neck over everything else. ("I start with the best part - the neck!" Anyone, anyone?). The original Seahawk helmet logo was made to resemble the Native American art one might see on a totem pole in the Northwest. It wasn't a very happy looking bird to begin with, but when the pissed-off bird craze hit the NFL, the Seahawks decided to make it even angrier. Neither one looks very good.
27. Broncos - We've reached a crucial line of demarcation with the Broncos' helmet logo. You see, when the Patriots changed their logo in 1993 - we'll get to them in a minute - they started an unfortunate trend of what I call "swoopy logos". These logos have a curving top ridge which tails off on the back side. I suppose they're meant to convey a sort of ninja-like striking pose. BLAH! SNEAK ATTACK! Apparently swoopy logo design was all the rage in the 90's, because after the Pats changed theirs, the Jags and Panthers came into the league and debuted their own swoopy logos (did the same person design the logos for all three teams?). Shortly thereafter 3 other teams (Broncos, Cardinals, and Ravens) all changed or modified their helmet logos to look swoopier too. The Eagles and Rams also changed their team logos to look swoopier. I don't have as much of a problem with swoopy bird designs, since birds are actually capable of swooping, but I have no respect for swooping cats, horses, or minutemen. To the Broncos' credit, at least they didn't put this horse on the sides of their helmets.
28. Patriots - Offending swoopy logo #2. Just bad. They need to go back to the minuteman center pronto, no matter how silly he may be.
29. Bengals - Now here's a helmet logo that I'm sure seemed like a good idea at the time, but looks worse and worse with each passing moment. I hate this helmet more each year. If I had waited another 2 or 3 years to make this list, the Bengals may very well have been at the bottom. These helmets are the equivalent to wearing a gaudy animal print garment out in public and thinking it makes you look cool.
30. Jaguars - Offending swoopy logo #3. "Rawr! I'm a scary jaguar with a teal tongue and two enormous whiskers!"
31. Panthers - Offending swoopy logo #4 and ultimate helmet logo fail. "Rawr! I'm a scary panther with no tongue and an awkwardly truncated steroid neck!"
With the number 1 seed in a 31 team field, the Rams get a bye into the sweet sixteen. That means your matchups for the round-of-30 will be:
Panthers; Steelers vs. Jaguars; Cowboys vs. Bengals; Vikings vs. Patriots; Eagles vs. Broncos; Texans vs. Seahawks; 49ers vs. Titans; Lions vs. Browns; Chiefs vs. Ravens; Dolphins vs. Chargers; Saints vs. Buccaneers; Redskins vs. Falcons; Jets vs. Bills; Bears vs. Cardinals; and Raiders vs. Giants. (There is no added meaning to the bolded matchups, just something to make it easier to differentiate the matchups from one another.)
Of course, in reality the seeding is almost entirely meaningless (the only team with any real advantage is the Rams). Perhaps you all hate the Rams' helmet logo and you think the Panthers have the best helmets in the league. If that's the case, then the voting will sort itself out and the seeds won't mean a thing.
You can vote by posting your choices in the comments. To make tallying the votes easier, please post your votes as a new comment. Then feel free to add additional commentary as replies to the votes. Remember that you are voting on the teams' helmet logos, which is not necessarily the same thing as their team logo.
Advancing to the sweet sixteen were:
Rams vs. Raiders; 49ers vs. Lions; Saints vs. Vikings; Falcons vs. Cowboys; Steelers vs. Bills; Eagles vs. Chargers; Chiefs vs. Texans; and Bears vs. Colts.
Advancing to the elite eight were: Raiders vs.
49ers; Saints vs. Cowboys; Steelers vs. Chargers; and Texans vs. Colts.
Advancing to the final four were: Raiders vs.
Saints and Chargers vs. Colts.
**UPDATE** CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
It's an all Cali final as the Raiders take on the Chargers for the crown. A poll has been added for your final round votes.
The championship voting will begin now and continue until the thread dies. If I were a betting man I'd place my money on the Chargers for the championship, but we'll see. You can see the full bracket here.
Thanks for participating and have fun debating!