Thursday, August 8, 2013

CFL Logos, Past and Present

By Kevin Beane

As regular readers know, I try to promote the CFL in this column as an outstanding holdover for those sad football-less summer months. Regular readers also know I like to write about logos. So let's combine the two and look at a little history of CFL logos. All logos courtesy sportslogos.net.

BC Lions — Simple, clean, good, understated without being boring, basically unchanged for 33 years, a solid logo. I also like how their alternate "paw" logo actually includes claws, which bafflingly (I'm looking at you, Clemson), many teams using paw prints do not.

Calgary Stampeders — I'm going to catch flak for this, but y'all can't handle the truth. Compare their logo with SMU's, which debuted five years previous. There are some minor differences, sure. But look at the legs and especially the tail. That goes beyond being "inspired by." That's straight-up plagiarism. The alternate logo does nothing for me, either. Too much neck shadow and not enough face. But their word mark from 1993-2004 is wonderful. I will never understand why more teams do not use multiple animals/warriors/entities/whatever in their logo. So of course, they got rid of it.

Edmonton Eskimos — I think I know enough about the CFL to say this is considered a "classic" franchise with looks and colors that largely shan't be trifled with. And I imagine that's why the polar bear you see from 1996-97 only lasted one year. But come now ... that's one awesome polar bear, ripping it open like Superman and all. You should've given it a chance, Eskimo fans!

Hamilton Tiger-Cats — The Canadian Nazi Front really hated their 1967 logo. Their current logo also gets a high grade from me, particularly for using the entire tiger's body. I have to chuckle at the ridiculous amount of detail that existed in their logo prior to 1995.

Montreal Alouettes — Just okay. I'm sure that this is to give a slight patina of resemblance to an actual skylark, which is what "Alouette" is French for, but I call their present logo "Super Eyebrows." The condition is writ even larger in their alternate logo. I can't say enough about their 1970-1974 logo. I absolutely love abstract logos like this, and I think red and green is an underutilized combination in sports.

Ottawa Redblacks — This is a team that will start play next year, hence no history. They should already have an alternate logo if you ask me. As it is, I can hear the buzz-saws being played on the stadium PA on first downs and yelling "TIMBERRR" after touchdowns already (yes, I know you wouldn't use that kind of saw to cut down a tree).

Saskatchewan Roughriders — I like the subtle nod to Saskatchewan's farming industry, but what I like most of all is simply: green.

When I was a kid, green was my favorite color, and this was represented well in the NFL by the Jets and Eagles (and I'll throw in Michigan State for good measure). Now, almost every American program has decided, "Bright green is is for wusses! Green needs to be dark!" And they all have followed suit. Not Saskatchewan though, and bless them for that.

Toronto Argonauts — They belong in the same jail as Edmonton and Calgary, convicted of "getting rid of great logos," but they get a longer sentence than those two teams combined. LOOK AT THE 1995-2004 LOGO! LOOK AT IT! And the football-as-ship logo from the '50s to the '80s! "Bleargh, let's just do a shield with an 'A' on it. Bleargh."

Winnipeg Blue Bombers — The football on a zigzag is awesome, and they made it far in the "Best Logo in Sports" contest run on the Sports Central Message Boards many, many years and ... what's this? Of course they got rid of it last year.

Conclusion: the CFL is, aesthetically speaking, slippin'.

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