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    Top 15 American Football Logos from Leagues across the World

    Hailey Savona Published: May 3, 2024 12 min read

    Discover the Top American Football Logos with Names Globally, Past and Present

    American football today has become one of the most popular sports in North America, so much so that it has surpassed “America’s favorite pastime” in views and valuation. Now, for a sport that was originally derived from a mix of football or soccer, and rugby, American football has now become a sport that is quite distinct and unique.

    In the early years, it was a sport played by students at college, and thus had no American football logos like we see today. Playing it for pay, or any monetary benefits was considered bad, and was often frowned upon. So how was the concept of a professional American football player born? How did we go from taking a varsity sport, and turning it into a multi-billion-dollar industry?

    Well, that is what we are here to find out.

    Let’s dive in and take a look at the history of American football to understand this transformation, and see the role played by various old American football logos that paved the way for modern leagues.

    Join us on our journey through history, and witness how professional logo design services used by leagues through the years changed their aesthetic according to their fans’ likes and perceptions.

    Origin of Gridiron Football and Impact on American Football Logos in USA and Abroad

    Traditional American football field with markings

    American football, also known as Gridiron football, is a sport that is popular in USA and Canada alike. Now, the evolution of the sport starts with rugby and football, hence the name football. But the sport evolved independently in both countries, resulting two variants of gridiron football that were virtually quite similar.

    The sport sees its origins in the late 1800s, with the first known game being played between the college teams of Rutgers and Princeton in November 1869. Each team had 25 players on the field, vying for control of a ball that was more round than oblong, and which couldn’t be picked up or carried. However, they could kick it, bat it with their hands or head; basically hit the ball anyway they could towards their opponent’s goal.

    Rutgers won that game, and for the next few years, the game was played between different schools, with the rules dictated by the host team. It wasn’t until 1873 that a few heads of teams got together to agree on a standard set of rules. And it was Yale’s player Walter Camp, known today as the “Father of American football”, who got the teams to agree to 11-player teams on field, and inaugurated the snap to replace the scrum in 1880.

    Walter Camp as Yale Football team captain 1878

    The measurement of yardage to calculate progress of a team resulted in the division of the field into a gridiron-like pattern, thus the name of the sport. Over time, the sport evolved further, becoming a lot safer than in the earlier years. The arrival of the NFL on to the scene in 1920 changed the game even more, which resulted in the league instating a rule that no active collegiate student could be a pro player.

    Yet it wasn’t until 1925, when the Pottsville Maroons defeated the Notre Dame All-Stars that pro football was given its due. During the 1930s, an emphasis on passing separated pro players from varsity players. But the true change came in 1958, during the Championship game between Baltimore Colts and New York Giants. It was a game seen by millions on TV, and started the NFL and American football’s meteoric rise to fame.

    1960 saw the arrival of a rival league to the NFL, called the AFL. Although short-lived, it changed the game even more, resulting in long lasting changes that are active even today despite its merger with the NFL. The intense rivalry between the leagues resulted in each team sanctioning better, more assertive American football logos for their franchises. The result is that even today, NFL teams look to outdo themselves in terms of choosing their brand symbol.

    Today, amateur football leagues and even fantasy football logos take their inspiration from the professional football team symbols, due to the impact of the league on American football and vice versa.

    Top American Football Logos from Leagues in North America and Across the World Today

    Now that we have taken a look at a brief history of American football, and the impact it has had on sports logos for gridiron football, you might be wondering what these examples look like. So, let’s take a look at some American football logos for professional and semi-pro leagues currently playing the sport.

    Let’s begin.

    National Football League

    NFL logo

    The NFL logo is the most iconic American football symbol in the world right now. In fact, we can honestly say that any of the NFL logos, whether it’s the league symbol, or the logos for its franchises, would be more popular than entire football leagues not affiliated with the NFL.

    It is the biggest sporting organization in the United States, and is the reason why American football is such a major sport in the USA. Overall, this is a symbol that hardly needs an introduction.

    United Football League

    UFL logo modern

    The United Football League is a new semi-pro football league that is going to play its first season in 2024. It has been formed due to a merger between the XFL and the United States Football League. Although new, it takes its design cues from the XFL, going for a modern, minimalist design with a monochrome color scheme. Moreover, the spartan design allows the league to use some amazing modern sports website design ideas to give their product a fresh, distinctive feel from the NFL.

    Canadian Football League

     CFL logo modern

    The Canadian Football League is slightly different to the American football, and thus has a logo that is remarkably different from the traditional American football logos. It looks like a cutoff image of a football, with the league’s initials written on it in bold letters, and the Canadian maple leaf underneath it. Overall, the design is simple yet aesthetically pleasing.

    Women’s Football Alliance

    womens football alliance logo

    The Women’s Football Alliance is the longest-running women’s football association, with over a decade and a half of gameplay under its belt. Today, it sports around 60 teams from across the United States, following the same full-contact rules as the men’s leagues. Operating since 2009, it was formed by many of the established teams from then-defunct leagues. The design of their logo is an interesting shield, featuring a female player in gear, with a blue football overlaid featuring a gray star.

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    Old American Football Logos from Defunct or Merged Leagues

    Now that we have seen the American football logos, let’s take a look at many of the defunct leagues that paved the way for the organizations that came after them in the sport.

    National Women’s Football Association

    NWFA logo

    The National Women’s Football Association is one women’s league whose teams moved to the WFA after it was disbanded. Playing for eight seasons, the league set the standard for full-contact women’s football, paving the way for leagues that came after it. Its founder, Catherine Masters, was inducted into the American Football Association’s Semi Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

    Elite Football League of India

    EFLI logo

    The Elite Football League of India was a short-lived attempt by several American NFL figures including Mike Ditka, and Indian businessmen to bring the sport of American football to the subcontinent. It consisted of teams spread across India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, yet it folded after just one season. The logo for the league was quite different to the other American football logos on this list, yet had a shield-like shape similar to the NFL and other associated leagues.

    Fall Experimental Football League

    FXFL logo

    The Fall Experimental Football League in a defunct pro minor league that had plans to be an NFL feeder series, and had a logo design that seems to take its inspiration heavily from the NFL logo. Featuring similar logo symbols, as well as a color scheme that matches the NFL quite heavily, the league tried to cash in on NFL’s goodwill to succeed. Yet it failed just a few years later.

    American Football League

    AFL logo

    American Football League, or the AFL, was the rival league to the NFL between 1960 and 1970. Following the fierce rivalry, it was merged into the larger and more profitable NFL, with its teams joining the NFL as part of the AFC conference. The color combinations used by the AFL logo were a bright red and blue, a symbol of American patriotism in that era.

    United States Football League

    USFL logo

    The United States Football League was a relatively new semi-pro football league that was merged into the United Football League along with the XFL. The league formed one of the two conferences of the new United Football League, and will play its first season in 2024.

    NFL Europe

    NFL Europa logo

    NFL Europe, also known as NFL Europa, was a short-lived foray of the National Football League to cash in on the popularity of American football logos and teams in Europe. Deciding that it was going to be a distinct yet related league to the NFL in the United States, it was originally named the World League of American Football. However, in later iterations, it was renamed a simpler NFL Europe to highlight its connection to the League.

    World League of American Football

    WLAF logo

    The World League of American Football was the original iteration of NFL Europe. Originally the project was meant to be separate and distinct from the NFL. However, the plan was later changed, with the project being renamed NFL Europe to signal its ties to the American football league.

    XFL

    XFL logo

    The XFL is one of the most popular American football logos in the United States. Originally starting out in the early 2000s, it was shelved after just one season. Then it was refreshed for the 2020 season, which was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, the XFL league was merged into the United Football League, along with the United States Football League, as a separate conference with all the XFL logos and teams from the previous iteration featured in it.

    Alliance of American Football

    Alliance of American Football logo

    Alliance of American Football was a short-lived minor league, with a symbol that could be classed as one of the top American football logos on this list. Formed in 2018, the league played just a single season before declaring bankruptcy in 2019. This signaled the end of a promising football league which could have become a leading figure in minor league football.

    World Football League

    World Football League logo

    The World Football League was a football association that played its first season in 1974. Nearly through their second season in 1975, the league had to fold its operations due to several problems. Although an exciting prospect at the time, it faced a giant that was the NFL in its rise to fame, a feat not even the AFL could achieve despite its success.

    United Football League

    UFL logo 2009 version

    The United Football League of 2009 is the earliest iteration of the modern UFL. Starting out in 2009, the league had very few teams on its roster, and mostly played in markets where the NFL had no presence. However, with the NFL vying for more market share, the league folded just three years later in 2012. The original UFL, with a beautiful logo that had more in common with the metallic-looking Super Bowl logos, is one of the best American football logos on our list.

    FAQs

    What is the oldest of the American football logos known today?
    The oldest of the American football logos known today is the Arizona Cardinals logo from the NFL roster, which was formed in 1901, well before the NFL itself. The logo was an homage to their playing jerseys, which were colored a cardinal red.
    What is the most popular American football logo in the NFL today?
    While the matter is often up for debate, many people believe that it’s the Dallas Cowboys logo that is the most popular symbol in the NFL.

    Conclusion

    In summation, the design of the popular American football logos, no matter where they may belong to in the world, has some elements of commonality. This is dictated by the success of the NFL, the most prominent of the American football leagues, which has dictated a certain aesthetic for all new leagues that came after it.

    Moreover, as the sport is quintessentially American, elements like similar color schemes also serve as a nod to the origin of the sport, making for a neat little nugget of knowledge for those in the know. So, if you too are looking to create a logo design like one of the old American football logos we’ve discussed above, these examples will be sure to help you get inspired.

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