History of the National Football League (NFL) Logo

As the association itself grew since first founded in 1920, so did the National Football League (NFL) logo. Over the years, as it expands into more teams, the NFL logo became one of the most recognizable logos in the world.

Logo Design Elements

Behind the fame of the football league lies the critical importance of the logo. It played a massive tole is forming the reputation and credibility of the NFL.

The National Football League (NFL) logo is unlike any logo in other football leagues. It displays noticeable sporty features and designs that underlines the excellence and glory of the league in its entirety. The shield-like shape of the logo, as well as its combination of colors, are compelling in the eyes, leaving a long-lasting remark from both football players and avid fans of the sport.

Shield-Like Shape

The shape of the National Football League (NFL) logo is like a shield, which displays the proud identity of the NFL. It is a traditional personification of the NFL’s promise towards the sporting entertainment. The shield design of the logo also helps identify the league’s prowess with a more superior outlook.

White, Blue and Red Hues

The color of the National Football League (NFL) logo comprises of white, blue, and red hues. It features a glowing NFL font engraved that portrays the supremacy of the emblem. The white stars and the football in the logo also help promote the NFL’s authority in the league. The shield in the background is colored blue, which makes other elements in the front have a much bolder and dominating appearance.

Logo Design Inspiration and Influences

The league created the first-ever National Football League (NFL) logo, and they only wanted it to have a football-themed crest and depicts the patriotism of the NFL. It’s the conventional design and inspiration for a lot of sports teams, which is why some logos in other sports leagues are quite identical. Although the first logo was simple, it was well-received, so the NFL has since been extra careful with any massive changes in the logo.

Lisa Baird headed the most recent update on the National Football League (NFL) logo. She is the senior vice president of marketing for the league and helped explain the inspiration behind the recent logo update.

Ms. Baird explained that the league wanted the NFL logo to evolve, but only gradually. She said that with the number of stars in the logo and the darkened colors, they aim to make it look much better in phone screens. Ms. Baird also said that the recent update should make the NFL logo easier for small prints like those in accessories and hats.

She also explained that they altered the angle of the football in the logo slightly to look similar to the ball featured on the Vince Lombardi trophy.

National Football League logo

National Football League Logo: Then vs. Now

The original National Football League (NFL) logo was in 1921, with the emblem or the shield-like shape built around the colors of the flag of the United States. The design features two fields with a white background and red vertical stripes at the bottom. On the top part, there is the “NFL” letter in bold yellow over the blue background.

The NFL logo got its first update in 1940. The wordmark was a bit lower by then, and they added stars at the top division of the logo. The NFL also changed the color of the stripes, turning it to pink with red borders. The color of the “NFL” letters turned red as well. Overall, the colors for the logo went a bit darker for a more refined look. They also added an oval shape depicting a football placed at an angle at the top portion.

However, less than a year from the first update, the NFL changed the logo again. They replaced the previous pink colors with white for the stripes and changed the border from red to blue. These innovations prove worthy in the end as the finished logo grew more visible, especially the NFL wordmark.

Between 1961 and 1982, some changes for the logo happened. However, the updates were mainly on the shades of the colors for the logo. The overall look stayed the same.

From 1983 to 2007, the NFL logo got another update. Although it mostly looks the same with the previous design, the border width of the emblem was thicker. The position of the football in the logo also got a bit of tweaking.

Lastly, the recent update on the NFL logo happened in 2008. From the previous logo featuring 25 stars, the NFL reduced it to eight, with each of them made to represent every division of the league. They also turned the football slightly upward to make it more three dimensional instead of looking like a hamburger.

Another significant change is the font. NFL changed the previous intricate typeface with a more sophisticated and straighter serif font. All the letters in the logo for the current version are capital and features varying heights.

The NFL logo used the three standard colors of the US flag for decades. It has been the standard hues you can find in the logo, except for their stint with the pink stripes. And while they used the same coloring throughout the years, NFL tried around with the shades to get the much darker and bolder look it has now.

NFL Logo Trivia

  • Every player in the league has their shirt collar, waistline, and helmet printed with the National Football League (NFL) logo. It means that whenever the league changes its logo, all players need to get new uniforms as well.
  • The NFL logo in the 1980s features 25 stars, and no one knows why. 25 doesn’t relate to the total number of teams in the league or the states they represent.
  • In the current National Football League (NFL) logo, there are eight stars, which represent each of the divisions in the NFC and AFC.


There weren’t any massive changes when you look at the NFL logo from the original one in the 1920s and its current one. They were cautious of making sudden changes too soon, only going for more subtle changes throughout the decades.

But overall, with the National Football League (NFL) logo, the league was able to establish its superiority in the sport through symbols of patriotism, pride, tradition, and history.

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