Football Trivia (General)/The NFL Shield/a short history
QUESTION: Hi Jim.my question is concerning a NFL felt pennant banner I recently picked up.I was told it was from the late 70's to early 80's era. but I was recently looking online at the history of the NFL shield logo and found some unusual differences. I will include a photo so you will know what I mean.first thing is that it may be from the late 70's to early 80's as it is quite faded.but when I look at the NFL logo history,it shows that this design was from 1961-1982.so this may be possible.but upon further notice you can see differences with the 61-82 design.it actually looks more like the 41-60 design because if you notice,it has the letter "N" with the flat bottom on both sides.as opposed to only one side as with the 61-82 version.but is dissimilar to the 41-60 design in that it does not have red lacing on the football or blue vertical stripes in the NFL portion of the shield. so it seems to have elements of both eras.this is where I am stumped as to the age of this banner. any ideas? thanks-Scott
ANSWER: Hey Scott,
I must say that I have never seen variations of the NFL Shield broken into categories of 41-60 & 61-82. Can you share the URL of the site that you used to acquire the information as you presented in your question?
As far as I have been able to ascertain, the NFL has used three versions of the NFL Shield. I will be happy to tell you a little about the NFL Shield as I have learned …
First, your felt pennant was created anytime between 1970 and 2007. I think the colors were originally navy blue and crimson red. They faded, but the shield you have on the pennant is the NFL Shield used between 1970 & 2007. This “modern” NFL Shield was created in 1970 as the logo of the National Football League, which was a merger of the old NFL and AFL football leagues. The shield on your pennant has 26 stars (shown or implied)which represents a star for each team in the “new” NFL of 1970.
In 2007, the league reduced the number of stars to 8, with each star representing one of the 8 conferences in the NFL. After much fumbling and discordance, the NFL has finally balanced itself with 8 conferences of 4 teams each. It took a long time to achieve this balance. And this is the primary reason why the NFL has not added a team In Los Angeles. How do you create a balanced league with 33 teams?
I will attach a picture of the NFL Shield used from 1960 to 1969. The stars represent the number of the teams in the NFL before the merger.
When considering the history of the NFL and its use of public relations pieces such as the shield, it all begins with Commissioner Pete Rozelle. His was the creative mind that started the public relations and imagery arm that the NFL used to combat their foe, the AFL. The battle took place for 5 years … and then the merger of the two foes occupied minds of the marketing people. One of the great moneymakers created by Pete Rozelle was “NFL Properties”. They produced the programs sold at every stadium, designed and created merchandise that fans could purchase for their own use. I remember buying my first Colts hat in 1983 in Baltimore. I was a trendsetter wearing an NFL team hat!
Before Pete Rozelle, the commissioner Bert Bell (1946-59) made the NFL a credible league where the franchises were on solid financial ground, or hoped to be on solid ground shortly. Under Bert Bell, there was no national television contract. Teams made money by selling tickets. This meant that the good teams were successful and the bad teams lost money (or broke even at best.) Bert had weeded out the cities that were financially unstable, made deals to keep teams like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia afloat, and survived the upstart AAFC football league (1946-49). He was fighting a war with the AFL (who would begin play in 1960) before succumbing to a heart attack at an Eagles game in 1959. Bert was an old-school NFL commissioner who in my estimation was not worried about logos and trademarks.
I hope this answers your question. Please feel free to write back if you have any questions or are unsure of any point that I made.
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QUESTION: OK,thanks Jim.the URL that this information came from is at http://logos.wikia.com/wiki/National_Football_League
. other sites are vague with time and design. the one you show pictured dating 60 to 69 looks like my pennant except for the vertical stripes and red lacing on the ball.the star arrangement is the same.the other variants don't have the same star arrangements or red lacing or vertical stripes or the "NFL" font design with the bottom of the letter "N" showing 2 flat feet. well it is all before my time so I guess I can remain a little confused about this. thanks again.
I just noticed that you are writing from Nova Scotia. I hope to visit sometime in my life.
It helps me to know where you are from ... and your age so I can set the tone of my rhetoric. I have had many questions from Pakistan and India. However, the Canadians are always the nicest, which makes this task far more enjoyable.
I just looked at the website. There are some neat graphics there, but they are not correct. Let me give you an example. The 1941 logo has 22 stars. Why? There were ten teams in the NFL in 1941. The USA had 48 states, so that will not work … there is no logic to this website.
Here is my suggestion. Let me explain where the number of stars comes from on the three shields I used as an example … Forget all of the stuff on that Wackipedia website.
1. 1960-69 has 22 stars … 1 for every team in the NFL (not counting the AFL). Beats me what the stripes stood for, probably just thrown in for decoration.
2. 1970 - 2007 has 25 stars … 1 for every team. Some of the stars are covered by the football. (3 rows of 8 plus 1 on top)
3. 2007 - Current has eight stars … 1 for every conference in the NFL.
NOTE: I used to be in the printing business. One of the goals when they redesign the logo is to make it easier to print. Simplifying the “copy” makes it easier to paint the shield on a crummy field in December or on a pair of fuzzy bedroom slippers.
The best website on logos was created by a Canadian. His name is Chris Creamer and I think I’ve been using Chris as a resource for 15 + years (pre Facebook!) Check out Chris’s site at
His site is considered one of the foremost authorities for many major league sports.
In addition to Chris Creamer’s site, you should also keep “Pro-Football Reference” http://www.pro-football-reference.com/
handy in case you want to check out old football records. It does not include Canadian football.
Speaking of Canadian football, I live in Baltimore, and I attended many Canadian football games played in Baltimore. Baltimore enjoyed the wide open fields and supported the “Stallions” while they were in Baltimore. They would still be here if not for the Cleveland Browns deciding to relocate to Baltimore in 1996. This city had a burning passion to replace the Colts, who left Baltimore for Indianapolis in 1984.
I have bored you enough with all the details.
Baltimore Ravens 1996-2002/Washington Redskins 2005-2010