Here at sportslogohistory.com, we’re always fascinated by the origin and evolution of sport team logos. They can embody so much about a team, inspiring players and fans alike. Yet a team’s choice of name and logo can also have an unusual negative effect, as a close look at the Super Bowl statistics shows.
This year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers broke one of the longest-standing curses in the NFL. In beating the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, they became the first team to make it to a Super Bowl held in their own stadium.
However, there is a second curse that is just as strong, which went largely unnoticed in the NFC Championship game this year, as the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills. That is the curse of the animal name or logo.
What is the curse about?
There are no less than sixteen teams in the NFL with creatures of some kind in their name or logo. These include birds like the Philadelphia Eagles, the Seattle Seahawks, the Baltimore Ravens, or the Arizona Cardinals, and big cats like the Detroit Lions, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Jacksonville Jaguars, or the Carolina Panthers. Add in horses, such as the Denver Broncos or the Indianapolis Colts, and of course the marine animals of the Miami Dolphins, and you find that exactly half of the teams in the NFL have some sort of animal association.
However, when you look back down the years, you find that animal-based teams have won just thirteen out of fifty-four Super Bowls, that’s only 24% or less than a quarter. Of course, such a frivolous theory is no way to decide on your online gambling strategy, but if it comes to a toss-up between two teams, it could be a useful tie-breaker for you.
In the last ten years, only 40% of Super Bowl winners have featured animals, while a statistically expected 50% of animal teams have lost.
Extend that back 20 years, however, and it drops to just 30% of the Super Bowl winners and 60% of losers, while in the nineties, animal teams also comprised just 30% of the winners and 60% of the losers, with the ill-fated Buffalo Bills losing a record four Super Bowls on the trot to non-animal teams. Neither of the record Super Bowl winners – the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, both with six wins – has any association with animals, unless you count the humankind!
The curse goes even deeper than this, with eight out of the twelve teams who have never won a Super Bowl carrying an animal name. What’s more, three out of the four teams that have never even made it to the Superbowl – the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Detroit Lions, and the Houston Texans with their steer-head badge – have an animal name or logo.
Even if you do make it to the big game, your chances are slim, with animal named teams losing 29 out of fifty-four Super Bowl matchups.
As Washington Football Team begins the process of changing their name to something less controversial, perhaps they should bear the above figures in mind. It would seem that the Washington Senators would have a much better chance of success than if they adopted their state bird, and became the Washington Goldfinches.
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