1980′s Sports Logos We Wish Would Come Back

Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

There are some sports logos that are iconic.

The interlocking NY of the Yankees, the LA that the Dodgers have had since moving west, the St.L that the Cardinals have. In football there are the Raiders, the Chicago Bears’ “C” and, of course, the Packers. The Lakers, Knicks and Bulls have had their logo – or some very close variation of it – forever.

What makes these teams similar?

Well, for the most part all are, or have been, extremely successful franchises. And with success comes attention and therefore their logos are ingrained in our minds. But, they also know not to mess with something that works, that identifies them even at a glance. Some franchises seem to change logos every few years. Maybe it’s an effort to sell new apparel, or there is a new owner or marketing guy, or something. Change isn’t always good.

Lately teams have been embracing their past and bringing back logos that were pretty damn good and appealing to a fanbase. The Orioles brought back the cartoon bird last season; the Astros are back to the “H” with the star behind it this season; the 76ers have gone back to something similar as have the Blue Jays. It’s nice to have the retro return full-time, but not every team has embraced it.

Here are 10 professional teams who we’d like to see bring back a great logo from the 1980s for more than just a celebratory “turn back the clock” evening:

10. San Diego Padres

The swinging’ friar, which lasted from 1969-84, has become an alternate logo, giving way to a few different versions of a Padres sweeping logo across a wave background or now a circular logo that takes in the Padres’ SD from their hats.

The blue hue color scheme is far superior to the brown and yellow taco jerseys, but the SD has always remained. Something about a man of the cloak loosely swinging a bat is a little comical, but it somehow fits with the team’s name.

While we’re a fan of representing your home city (i.e. the S.D. for San Diego) the friar needs to return in a bigger way.

9. Montreal Expos

Can’t we just bring back the Expos for the sake of their logo?



8. New York Jets

The simplicity of it was probably what we enjoyed the most. It certainly wasn’t Ken O’Brien.

While the Jets ultimately ended up embracing their Joe Namath years with their current logo, the small jet flying over the team’s name on the helmet added just the right amount of accent to an otherwise boring color scheme (no secondary colors!) and jersey.


7. Atlanta Hawks

I don’t know if it was the mystique of Dominique Wilkins or the love so many kids had for a guy their size in Spud Webb, but that old Atlanta Hawks logo always made me look at it twice. It was almost like one of those 3D posters from the mall where you had to stare at it for 30 seconds, then blink, then you’d see it. That was the Hawks logo, smartly designed into the circle that encompassed it with the squinty eye and the outline of the head and beak.

If you look at it now, the red doesn’t necessarily mean it’s outlining the white. It could be a 3D logo with the white bird sitting inside of the red one, almost casting a long shadow or actually two Hawks ready to bring the pain. Kind of like ‘Nique and Spud.

6. Utah Jazz

Sure, Jazz represents Utah like Lakers represents Los Angeles. Just go with it.

(Point of record: we know The Jazz moved there from New Orleans).

Rather than trying to – ahem – jazz up the Jazz and give it a sleeker look, we kind of liked having a musical note also represent the J in Jazz. It was a nice way of putting a part of your name in your logo.

Now the team has fully gotten away from it, going more Utah with the mountains, than Jazz with the music. Why not incorporate both?

5. Indiana Pacers

While we cannot endorse pinstripes on basketball uniforms, the logo of a hand gripping a basketball formed the outline of a P, which has since morphed into the current Pacers forward-motion logo.

The logo lends a form of imagination in the sense of “what is the hand doing with the basketball?” you want to believe it’s going up for a dunk. But perhaps it’s making a long pass. Or catching a pass while posting up. Maybe it’s something cool that we haven’t seen before.

Giving you something to think about is what makes a logo fun. A “P” with a basketball? Eh.

4. Cincinnati Reds

How can anyone hate a guy whose head is a baseball?

Mr. Redlegs sported one of the best mustaches in logo history, looked like he was stealing a base or scoring an important run and rocked a painter’s cap on top of his enormous Charlie Brown noggin.

What wasn’t to like?

Besides, the Reds have used the “C” that looks like a greater than logo for years and still continue to do so … so why get rid of one of the best logo mascots in sports history?

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I had a friend who loved the old swashbuckling Bucco Bruce so much he dressed up as the old Tampa logo for Halloween. Twice.

Other than the horrid creamsicle colors that looked pinkish in Tecmo Bowl, the winking pirate is way better than the flag with the generic skull and crossbones Tampa trots out now.

Bucco Bruce, with the knife in his mouth and winking eye, was almost like Westley from the Princess Bride. A complete badass who had a way with women.

2. New England Patriots

The current, sleek logo almost completely wiped out the old one of the Revolutionary War soldier hiking a ball because it came about around the time the Patriots went from terrible team to dynasty.

It’s nice to see the Pats bring back those unis and logo every once in awhile, but the logo and the color scheme just seemed to say “America.” And we liked that.

The sneer of the soldier and the nod to a man in the trenches were two things you don’t see in logos or celebrating players. While some logos have sneers, they’re not all that common – more screaming and yelling logos or downright ill-tempered logos have taken over – while you’d be hard-pressed to find a team celebrating a player who never gets any love: the center. 

1. Milwaukee Brewers

The moment I found out that the gloved logo was comprised of an “M” and a “B” I felt like someone had shared The DaVinci Code with me.

How was it right under my nose all these years yet I’d never noticed it? Sure, I liked the idea and simplicity of a glove with a baseball. It just seemed so fundamental to me. Which is what baseball is really about.

Then, to see that there was a hidden code inside of the glove that represented both a city and the team’s name … wow.

How the Brew Crew could ever move away from that as their primary is bizarre.





  1. I agreed with every single one of these. I’d only add that I’d like to see black taken out of the Cincinnati Reds’ color scheme — the white “C” on a plain red cap worked; why mess with it? The Mariners’ old trident “M” was kind of cool, too, and I dug the derrick that was on the old Houston Oilers helmets. And then there’s the Denver Broncos’ old “D” with the snoring horse, which the Durham Bulls (of minor league baseball fame) mimicked with their animal mascot (go back and watch “Bull Durham” to see what I mean). The one I’d really like to see come back, though, is the Philadelphia Phillies’ old “P” — the one that looked like an unfurling scroll, which Mike Schmidt had on his cap and uniform in his heyday, when the Phillies wore maroon (or was it burgundy) and had those powder-blue road uniforms.

  2. I really liked the Hawks and Bucs logos. I wish they would come back.