Say what you want about sports, most people become fans of specific teams based on one of two things: geography or inherited fandom. If you root for the Detroit Lions, the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Los Angeles Clippers, chances are it’s because you live in those cities or because your parents hate you.
There’s a small percentage of rebels who eschew both of these general guidelines. More often than not, their only rationale for rebelling is simply to rebel. So how do they choose who to root for in times of such rebellion? Many go by the logo.
Sidelines is taking a look at the teams we would have begun rooting for if our parents hadn’t brainwashed us early.
20. Ft. Wayne Pistons (1942-48)
If I was able to make one complaint about team logos, it would be that there aren’t enough robot-like machines representing our favorite squads (Bill Belichick excluded). I’m not sure why the Pistons got rid of this elbow and knee-less mascot, but it probably had something to do with original owner Fred Zollner selling the team. Yeah, that explains the “Z” in the middle Pistonman’s chest.
19. New Jersey Devils (1992-present)
Many cities and universities try and fail to arrange their representative initials into both a clever and appropriate fashion. The Devils are among the few teams that really get it right.
18. Chicago Bulls (1966-present)
I totally think “Jalen Rose” whenever I see this logo. Is there any player more associated with Bulls basketball than Jalen Rose? As if that weren’t reason enough for the logo to make the list, this logo is the only one that subliminally feeds you pro-robot subtexts. Look at the bull again. Do you see the hidden robot? No? It’s so obvious. It’s a robot sitting on a bench reading a book (probably the Bible). No, I’m not crazy. Click the Bulls logo for a clearer view of the Bible-reading robot.
17. Notre Dame University Fighting Irish (1973-83)
They’ve since punched up (pun!) the iconic leprechaun logo, but he’s facing left in the current rendition of it. An odd choice considering that logos should always favor the right. Look at the rest of these logos and tell me it’s not true.
The Pat the Patriot logo is a bit busy, sure, but how tough must ol’ Pat have been to get in the huddle without taking off either his buckled shoes or his puffy-sleeved shirt?
True story: New Englanders never had “Pat the Bunny” read to them as children, they had “Pat the Patriot.”
Bulldogs, American-Indians, Roman warriors, weather disasters and birds are all over the sports landscape. You know what isn’t? Fightin’ turtles. Name another turtle-sponsored team? You can’t, can you? Okay. Now name another mascot that looks like he’s flashing you. Still nothing, right? Ladies and gents … the UMD Terrapin.
Have you ever sung a specific lyric of a song incorrectly for years, then one day realized suddenly that you’ve been singing it wrong all that time? It blows your mind, right?
Yeah well, it took me over a decade to realize that there was an “m” and “b” in this logo. One of the best designed logos of all-time.
The 90s Falcons logo looks like it belongs on the hood of an old Bentley or hanging off the ledge of a building designed in the art deco era. It’s sleek and crisp and classy.
There are a handful of ram-based logos in the sports world, but none resemble Princes Leia as much as this one. The horns on this sucker (the oldest logo to make the list) look like they have the ability to fly out and gore someone standing 20 feet away … which would be awesome.
There are a tragic amount of huskie mascots out there, but this is the only one that gives the animal any dignity (I’m looking at you UConn). Excellent use of negative space and, uh, light purple. This is among the best “simple” understated logos out there. Very sleek and … I won’t say “sexy” because that would be weird, but just know that I was thinking “sexy.”
The Houston Colt .45s, the Baltimore Bullets and this prophecy of Mike Singletary illustrate that we’ve really changed as a nation in the last few decades. Of course that change is into a mass of sissified peaceniks looking to remove guns out of our sports, but I digress.
The Niners old mascot motivates and pumps me up with the same fervor that listening to my “Fired Up Workout Jam” iPod playlist does. Yeah, one look at this mascot is equal to 45 minutes of Fergie. Deal with it.
I’ll be honest, Maxie the Miner just reminds me of Yukon Cornelius from “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” But that’s more than I can say for any other NBA mascot, so here’s the logo. Coming in at No. 9.
The only explanation for the Nuggs ridding themselves of Maxie, is that by 1981, the NBA finally got around to outlawing pickaxes on the court, therefore rendering the miner’s appearance mildly ridiculous. Had Photoshop existed back then, Maxie would undoubtedly still be with us.
Ever see a Shaman bear? No? This bear is a shaman bear. A Shaman bear with a heart-shaped head, a keg-shaped nose and eyes that say, “Don’t you dare mess with me or in eight years, I’ll only put together three winning seasons and compile a .401 franchise winning percentage all over your butt!”
Yeah. That’s a bear you don’t want to mess with.
Heck, I like this guy. He can come to my town and date my sister.
Since 2006, this confederate has had a little of the curl taken out of his ‘stache and he’s wearing a black hat now, but he’s still the same ol’ runnin’ rebel. He becomes more likable if you imagine his voice being really, really high-pitched.
Most people never put together that buffaloes and sabres have little to do with one another. Would it be that terrible to call them the Buffalo Buffaloes? They obviously want to. This logo was designed so that everything about the buffalo was sharp, angular and serrated, making it feel as if both “buffalo” and “sabre” were represented.
Taylor Swift, no disrespect and imma let you finish, but the Sabres have the best NHL logo of all-time.
The O’s went to the World Series six times between 1966 and 1983 and haven’t been back since. What years did the franchise run this logo? Ah.
If the symbol on the Orioles’ hat is the Baltimore Orioles logo, then is the bird just wearing a hat of himself in that exact same pose? Does it just keep repeating like two mirrors facing one another?
It seems a little alarming that it took the Red Sox over 100 years to settle on such a simple design. A lot of fancy “B” letters and baseball outlines had to be rejected before a literal representation of the team’s name settled into place.
Somewhere Don Draper is emotionlessly shaking his head and drinking a scotch in disgust.
03. University of Illinois Fighting Illini (1989-03)
This is the best of the non-cartoony, detailed logos. Chief Illiniwek is still around on a lot of merchandise, but took a backseat to a more simpler, less Indian-y logo six years ago.
The image is mildly offensive, the color scheme is ugly. I shouldn’t give this logo the time of day, should I? It’s like the plain girl in school that you’re embarrassed to admit you have a huge crush on. You “don’t mind” her great attitude. You can see how someone else might be smitten with a person who likes old T-Rex albums. And it’s not the worst thing in the world that she can beat you in a few video games. Then you realize one day that her inner beauty attracts you more than her outer beauty ever could. So you marry the plain girl and head off into the sunset.
… Then you buy a cap with the swingin’ friar logo on it. ‘Cause that’s just the kind of man you are.
This is the longest-tenured logo on the list, which shows that people know a good thing when they’ve got it. What makes UT’s logo so awesome?
1) It’s easy to replicate with your hand, which is convenient when your clothes can’t help you support your school because you’re running through the quad naked.
2) It’s a relatively easy shape to get tattooed.
3) UT’s particular shade of orange happens to match the color students turn after fake-baking, so if they have second thoughts about that tattoo, it can easily be blended back into the skin.