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Phinsider Mailbag: NFL team records after logo change

Yesterday, we took a look at Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline's reaction to the new logo and uniforms. It led to one Phinsider community member asking how teams' records change when they change their jerseys.


The Phinsider Mailbag opens today thanks to a question FishNFinz asked yesterday in the comments of Brian Hartline's statement about the Miami Dolphins' new logo and uniform. He asked:

I would like to see a record of teams that do a uni revamp
Do they usually do better that year?

Well, here's a look at all 32 NFL teams, with the last time they changed their logo (jersey changes are harder to figure out, because does adding an outline on the names on the back of the jersey count as a uniform change? - so, I went with logos). In most cases, I ignored coloring changes in the logo, if it was simply changing a color to a different shade (e.g., the Patriots changed the shade of blue in their logo after the 1999 season), instead going to when the logo itself changed. And, I only considered the primary logo. Every team has multiple "alternate" logos that the have used.

Here's the breakdown:

Arizona Cardinals:

1994-2004 Cardinals_1994-2004_medium
2005-Present Ari_logo_away_medium

The Cardinals updated their logo to a more modern look, with sharp outlines, after the 2004 season. They were 6-10 in 2004 with the previous logo, then opened the new logo in 2005 with a 5-11 season.

Atlanta Falcons:

1990-2002 Falcons_1990-2002_medium
2003-Present Atl_logo_away_medium

The Falcons, like the Cardinals, modernized their look with an updated logo, adding red into the look, sweeping the wing back some, and tightening up the talon. The team ended the reign of the old logo with a 9-6 record in 2002, winning the Wildcard round of the playoffs, but losing in the divisional round. The 2003 season, however, saw the team christen the new look with a 5-11 record.

Baltimore Ravens:

1996-1998 Ravens_1996-1998_medium
1999-Present Bal_logo_medium

After just three years as a franchise, the Ravens radically changed their look. The team had a losing record in all three of those first years, including their 1998 season with a 6-10 record. After changing the look to the raven head, the team finished 8-8 in 1999, then went on to win the Super Bowl the following year.

Buffalo Bills:

1970-1973 Bills__1970-1973_medium
1974-Present Buf_logo_away_medium

The Bills changed their logo from a buffalo that was red, to one that was shot in the head. (You like the rhyme, admit it). Both the 1973 and 1974 teams finished 9-5, but the new log did manage to get the Bills into the playoffs as the willcard, losing in the first round.

Carolina Panthers:

1995-2011 Panthers_1995-2011_medium
2012-Present Car_logo_away_medium

Last season marked the first time the Panthers changed their logo, and the really just updated that they already had, getting rid of the bulky outline and changing some of the detailing. The change brought with it a one game increase from 2011's 6-10 record to last year's 7-9.

Chicago Bears:

1954-1973 Chi__1954-1973_medium
1962-1972 Bears_1962-1972_medium
1974-Present Chi_logo_2_medium

The Bears are the first of our teams that actually had two primary logos at the same time. The bear on the football and the all white "C" overlapped, before they both went away for a "C" logo with some color in it. The white C, which ended in 1972, finished with a 3-11 record. The bear on the football completed its run the next year, with a 4-9-1 record. And the orange C debuted with a 4-10 season.

Cincinnati Bengals:

1997-2003 Bengals_1997-2003_medium
2004-Present Cin_logo_medium

The Bengals changed from a tiger's head to the tiger striped "B" logo in 2004. They repeated their 2003 8-8 record with the new look in 2004, again finishing 2-8.

Cleveland Browns:

1959-1969 Browns_1959-1969_medium
1970-1985 Browns_1970-1985_medium
2006-Present Cle_logo_away_medium

The Browns started their NFL presence with the elf log in 1948. He was changed in 1959 to the version you see above, essentially flipping him in a mirror image, changing his coloring from brown to orange, and changing some of the detailing. Then, the swapped that for the orange helmet logo after the 1969 season. That 1969 season saw the Browns go 10-3, claim the Century division championship, win the division round of the playoffs, but lose in the conference championship. In 1970, with the helmet as their logo, the Browns went 7-7. Since 1970, the helmet logo has been updated, and modernized a few times, most recently to the version pictures above, in the 2006 season, when they went 4-12.

Dallas Cowboys:

1960-1963 Cowboys_1960-1963_medium
1964-Present Dal_logo_medium

Starting in 1964, the Cowboys' star had a white line added inside of it. Before that, it was a solid blue. Massive change, right? That one little line added to the logo also accounted for one little win in the team's record, going from 4-10 in 1963 to 5-8-1.

Denver Broncos:

1993-1996 Broncos_1993-1996_medium
1997-Present Den_logo_away_medium

The Broncos changed their logo, then went on to win two straight Super Bowls, so it must have done something for them. In 1996, the last year with the bronco in the D, Denver posted a 13-3 record, winning the division but losing in the Divisional round of the playoffs. With the horse head in 1997, the team would go 12-4, earning a wildcard berth, and, ultimately, their first Lombardi Trophy.

Detroit Lions:

2003-2008 Lions_2003-2008_medium
2009-Present Det_logo_away_medium

The Lions really just added detail in their logo when the changed it after the 2002 season and again after the 2008 season. Other than that, the team has had the same basic logo since 1970. The most recent update could not have come at a better time, as the 2008 Lions were 0-16 on the year (and making everyone forget about the Dolphins' 1-15 season the year before). The 2009 Lions were not much better, only posting a 2-14 record, but it is a huge difference to at least win two games versus winning none.

Green Bay Packers:

1956-1961 Packers_1956-1961_medium
1961-1979 Packers_1961-1979_medium
1980-Present Gb_logo_medium

In the "They had a different logo?" category, we put the Packers. They actually had another logo, the word "Packers" with a football find it, for their first five seasons, then went to the football on its end up above from 1956 to 1961. For that 1961 season, the team actually had both that logo as well as the more familiar "G." To get an idea of what the new logo did in 1961, the Packers were a lowly 8-4 in 1960, then used the mixture of the two logos to go 11-3, win the division, and, ultimately, claim the NFL Championship. After a 5-11 season in 1979, the team updated their logo, adding yellow around the oval for the 1980 season. However, it did not have the same magic as the last change, with the 1980 Packers claiming a 5-10-1 record.

Houston Texans:

2002-Present Hou_logo_away_medium

Houston's pretty simple. They haven't changed their logo since the city came back into the league in 2002.

Baltimore Colts / Indianapolis Colts:

1961-1978 Colts_1961-1978_medium
1979-Present Ind_logo_medium

The Baltimore Colts changed their logo after the 1978 season, going from a bucking colt, wearing a helmet and holding a football, to the currently used horseshoe. The 1978 season ended with the Colts owning a 5-11 record. The 1979 season ended exactly the same. Since moving from Baltimore to Indianapolis, the team has kept the horseshoe emblem with just one minor shade change to the blue in 2002.

Jacksonville Jaguars:

1995-2012 Jax_logo_away_medium
Present Jaguars_logo_away_medium

The Jaguars have used the same logo since their inception in 1995. They will introduce a new look this season.

Kansas City Chiefs:

1963-1971 Chiefs_1963-1971_medium
1972-Present Kc_logo_medium

The Chiefs switched from an indian making claim to a six state region to the arrowhead logo we all know starting with the 1972 season. The Chiefs in 1971 would be division champions, claiming a 10-3-1 record before losing to the Dolphins in the divisional round of the playoffs in the longest game ever played in the NFL. The 1972 campaign for Kansas City would see them only reach 8-6 and miss the playoffs, despite the new logo. (Interestingly, when the Dallas Texans moved to become the Kansas City Chiefs, they wore the arrowhead on their helmets, despite it not being the "official" logo. So, the logo change after the 1971 season did not change anything to do with the uniform.)

Miami Dolphins:

1989-1996 Dolphins_1989-1996_medium
1997-2012 Mia_logo_away_medium
2013 Mia_logo_small_medium

The reason we are all reading this right now is because of the change from 2012 to 2013 in Dolphins' logos. The last time the team changed was after the 1996 season, when the team went to a more cartoon dolphins with fewer sunburst rays. That change saw Miami go from 8-8 in 1996 to 9-7 with a wildcard berth in 1997, losing the wildcard game.

Minnesota Vikings:

1961-1965 Vikings_1961-1965_medium
1997-2012 Min_logo_away_medium
2013 Min_logo_new_medium

The Vikings have always used the head of a viking to be their logo, and have only made minor modifications over the tears. That includes the changes coming in 2013, as Minnesota becomes the third team with a new look this year. As for their previous change, in 1966, after going 7-7 with the logo with golden horns in 1965, the white horned logo went 4-9. (Like the chiefs above, the Vikings' helmet has never been the team's official logo. Instead, the team uses vikings horns on their helmet.)

New England Patriots:

1965-1992 Patriots_1965-1992_medium
1993-Present Ne_logo_away_medium

One of the most mentioned, and remembered, logo changes in recent years was the Patriots change from the Revolutionary War Soldier playing center into the current look. Yet, it actually has been 20 years since the change. Both logos had color adjustments during their time, most recently in 2000 the team made the blue on the current logo darker, but the basic logos are these two. In 1992, the Patriots were 2-14 with the old logo. The team switched to the new look and picked up three wins, finishing 1993 at 5-11.

New Orleans Saints:

1967-1999 Saints_67-99_medium
2000-Present No_logo_medium

The Saints' logo change in 2000 had a big impact on the team. In 1999, the team was a dismal 3-13. With the logo change going from a black fleur-de-lis to a gold one, the team would find success with a 10-6 record, wining the division and the wildcard game in the playoffs, before losing in the divisional round.

New York Giants:

1976-1999 Giants_1976-1999_medium
2000-Present Nyg_logo_medium

The Giants made their last logo change at the same time as the Saints. In the Giants' case, the team shortened their logo from a written out "Giants" to a shortened "ny." The change had the same impact as the Saints' logo change, with the 1999 Giants having a 7-9 record, while the 2000 edition of the team went 12-4, winning the division, and making it all the way to the Super Bowl, though they did not win it.

New York Jets:

1978-1997 Jets_1978-1997_medium
1998-Present Nyj_logo_medium

The Jets change after the 1997 season swung the team's logo back toward the team's traditional logo from 1964-1977. The oval around the 1998 logo differed from those earlier versions, which had a football point on either end, and the football was rotated to see the full strings, rather than the strings being on top of the ball (and only being able to see half of them). The color also changed into the darker green we see now. The on-field result from the change matched the changes from the Saints and Giants, with the 1007 Jets going 9-7, while the 1998 team went 12-4, won the division, and made it to the AFC Championship game before losing in the playoffs.

Oakland Raiders / Los Angeles Raiders / Oakland Raiders:

1963 Raiders_1963_medium
1964-Present Oak_logo_medium

In 1964, the Oakland Raiders were entering their fifth season, and they already were working on their third different logo. The 1963 logo only lasted one year, before the introduction of the classic logo that has been the same since 1964 - despite the team moving from Oakland to Los Angeles and back. In 1963, the team was 10-4, where as, with the new logo in 1964, the team would only tally a 5-7-2 record.

Philadelphia Eagles:

1987-1995 Eagles_1987-1995_medium
1996-Present Phi_logo_away_medium

The Eagles abandoned the full eagle logo tradition they had maintained since their formation in 1948 when they changed to just the eagle head in 1996. The change did not have any impact on the team's play, though, as they went 10-6 in 1995 and 1996, with a wildcard playoff berth, and win, in '95, and a division championship, but loss in the Wildcard round, in 1996.

Pittsburgh Steelers:

1962-1968 Steelers_1962-1968_medium
1969-Present Pit_logo_medium

Another one of those teams that you don't realize had a logo other than the one they currently use, the Steelers have actually had three logos (along with a slight adjustment to colors in the one we all know). The 1962-1968 logo was the second for the team, and ended the '68 season with a 2-11-1 record. The new logo did not get off to a great start in 1969, with the team going 1-13 on the year.

San Diego Chargers:

1988-2001 Chargers_1988-2001_medium
2002-2006 Chargers_2002-2006_medium
2007-Present Sd_logo_away_medium

From 1974 until 2001, the Chargers copied the Browns with the helmet as a logo option, with a shift in helmet design between 1987 and 1988. The 1988 version lasted until 2001, when the team went 5-11. The next season, the team switched to just the lightning bolt as their logo. The 2002 Chargers would improve to 8-8 on the year. After a 14-2 division champion 2006 season (losing in the division round of the playoffs), the team dramatically changed the color scheme of the lightning bolt. The 2007 season saw the team drop in record to 11-5, but make it further in the playoffs, claiming a wild card berth, then winning the first two games before losing in the AFC Championship game.

San Francisco 49ers:

1946-1967 49ers_1946-1967_medium
1968-1995 49ers_1968-1995_medium
1996-Present Sf_logo_medium

From the crazy panhandler chasing gold and trying to shoot himself in the foot to the famous "SF" logo, the 49ers made a big jump when they switched logos after the 1967 season. That year, they were 7-7, before going 7-6-1 with the new logo. In 1995, the team modernized the logo, adjusting the colors in it, as well as the font. The 1995 49ers were 11-5 winning the division but losing their one playoff game in the divisional round. With the new version of the logo, San Francisco would win the division at 12-4, win the wildcard game, then lose in the divisional round again.

Seattle Seahawks:

1976-2001 Seahawks_1976-2001_medium
2002-2011 Seahawks_2002-2011_medium
2012-Present Sea_logo_away_medium

Having not changed their logo since they were founded in 1976, the Seahawks made a major modernization of the logo after the 2001 season. The new look did not see immediate improvement, however, as the team dropped from a 9-7 record in 2001 to a 7-9 record in 2002. Last year, Seattle again updated their logo, changing the blue bottom half of the hawk to a gray (and, much more dramatically, changing their uniforms), to a much bigger impact than the previous change. In 2011, Seattle was 7-9; 2012 saw the team go 11-5, earning the wildcard berth and winning the Wildcard round before losing in the Divisional round.

St. Louis Rams:

1995-1999 Rams_1995-1999_medium
2000-Present Stl_logo_away_medium

With their move from Los Angeles to St. Louis, the Rams also changed their logo away from the helmet image to the team's name, with a representation of the Gateway Arch. They kept that logo for five years, before swapping it for a ram's head in 2000. That change, which also changed the team's colors from blue and yellow to blue and gold, came after the team went 13-3, winning the division and the Super Bowl during the 1999 season. In 2000, with the new look, would see the Rams repeat as division champions with a 10-6 record, but fall during the Wildcard round.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

1976-1996 Buccaneers_1976-1996_medium
1997-Present Tb_logo_away_medium

Sadly, the Buccaneers got rid of the winking with a dagger in his mouth pirate logo after the 1996 season. The team also altered their colors from the creamcicle orange to pewter and red. With that change, the Bucs went from 6-10 in 1996 to 10-6 in 1997, claiming a wildcard berth and winning that round before losing in the divisional round.

Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans:

1980-1998 Oilers_1980-1998_medium
1999-Present Ten_logo_away_medium

The Titans changed not just their logo, but their city and name as well. The Houston Oilers left Texas after the 1996 season, to become the Tennessee Oilers until 1999, when they became the Tennessee Titans. With that change also came the logo change. In their final year as the Oilers, Tennessee went 8-8. In the 1999 season, as the Titans, Tennessee went 13-3 to claim a wildcard berth, then made a run to the Super Bowl before losing.

Washington Redskins:

1982 Redskins_1982_medium
1983-Present Was_logo_away_medium

The Redskins changed to a new logo in 1982, changing the feathers on the circle. A year later, they changed back to the previous logo. In 1982, the team would go 8-1 in the strike shortened season, winning the division and carrying it all the way to a Super Bowl championship. With the change back to the old logo, the team would go 14-2 in 1983, again appearing in the Super Bowl, but losing this time. (The change in 1982 was designed to make placing the sticker on the helmet easier, but when a new material was used in 1983 to make the stickers, the logo was changed back - and it wasn't used by all the players/on all the helmets.)

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