Autumn … leaves changing beautiful colors, pumpkin spice, cooler weather, and FOOTBALL! This time of year is a favorite for all the wonderful things from hoodies to Oktoberfest beer, but perhaps the most anticipated event is the kick-off to the football season. Every fan nationwide pulls out their favorite team’s shirts, hats, bobble heads, flags, and colors to show their love for the home team.
Fans can be fanatic about their teams, whether because they grew up watching them or because of an emotional tie to the team name and colors. Some of the NFL teams have been around since the 1920s, back when the league was known as the American Football League. Rooted in history, some of these franchises have changed names, cities, and owners over time, but their logos remained a part of the fabric of the team.
The San Francisco 49ers are among the top ten original teams of the NFL, playing since 1946. They are one of the few teams that can claim to have never moved cities and to have kept their team name intact for over 70 years. The meaning of their name is pretty obviously a nod to the 1849 gold rush. It was meant to pay homage to the influx of pioneers who migrated to California in search of gold.
Interestingly, the massive discovery of gold occurred just days before the treaty between Mexico and the U.S. was signed, effectively ending the Mexican-American War, leaving California as part of the United States. Over 750,000 pounds of gold were found over the course of the ‘49 gold rush – probably why the 49ers have gold as one of their main colors!
While San Francisco might be one of the original NFL teams, certainly one of the most notorious franchises is the Dallas Cowboys. Their infamous history began in 1960 as an expansion team, and they are the only NFL team to have a record 20 straight winning seasons from 1966-1985. Jerry Jones has made them into the wealthiest team in the League, with five Super Bowl wins.
Did you know they don’t even play in Dallas? Their current stadium is in Arlington, Texas. The team boasts so many incredible players to have been a part of the alumni. Players such as Mike Ditka, Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Emmet Smith, and many more who hold records and places in the hall of fame. The logo clearly represents their home state nickname: ‘The Lone Star.”
The oldest team in NFL history is named the Chicago Bears. They began as the Decatur Staley’s, named after their owner, and when the Chicago Cardinals (the other oldest team) moved to St. Louis (finally landing in Arizona), they became the Chicago Bears. While the city doesn’t have a bear problem, the football team played at Wrigley field, home of the Cubs. Instead of keeping the name “Staley,” they changed their name in honor of their host.
The Bears trademark “C’ logo was first worn on their helmets in 1962, then redesigned to incorporate the team’s primary colors of red and blue in 1974. The fun fact about the “C” is that it was the exact same logo that the Chicago Cardinals used from 1920-1947, but since they were such a defunct team, the Bears repatriated their logo.
No discussion about football can be complete without mentioning the incredible dynasty of the New England Patriots. Fans who suffered through the challenging beginnings and the devastating loss in the ‘86 Super Bowl are now savoring the legacy Bill Belichick has bestowed on New England. The Brady/Belichick power-packed combo has reigned supreme since 2001, winning the first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Throughout every controversy, every accusation of cheating, the New England Patriots have risen above it all. Belichick has created an organization of well-disciplined players who have more sportsmanship than most franchises. No wonder fans are eager to don their #12 jerseys!
The logo has changed throughout the years, from Pat Patriot snapping the football, to a modernized Patriot head lovingly known as “The Flying Elvis.” Having a Minuteman as the logo pays homage to the deep history of the region, where the Revolutionary War began and was primarily fought.
There are many reasons that football has replaced baseball as America’s sport of choice, not the least of which is the excellent marketing by the NFL with team gear. From clothing to mugs, lanyards to blankets, and so much more, you can show your colors for your favorite NFL team all year round. Are you ready for some football?