The big question is, will I get it right again this year?
As with last year, I’ll be using the following factors to determine not only the winners, but the scores: the name; logomark/iconography; logotype/typography; colors; and helmet graphics.
First up, the NFC. Packers vs. Bears:
NAME: Not unlike the Steelers, who are playing in Sunday’s other game, the name “Packers” references the city’s history. Unfortunately, that connection isn’t as relevant as it once was, and let’s face it, it was pretty unsavory to begin with. Bears, on the other hand, kick ass, even if they have nothing to do with Chicago per se. The Bears win the toss and opt to kick. An unexpected choice. But their defense causes a turnover during the very first down of play and easily jogs it into the end zone. Ouch.
LOGOMARK/ICON: Chicago has a badass “wishbone” C, and a ferocious bear (with big f*cking teeth). Green Bay has a vaguely football-shaped G. It’s got old-school cred, but can’t really compete. The Packers can’t seem to get it together on defense, and the Bears eat up the clock as they work their way to another touch down.
TYPE: Both teams have some pretty horsey type. But at least the Packers’ has some character to it. And I’ll take condensed type over extended almost any day of the week. Undaunted, the Packers find their rhythm and put up 7 just as the half ends.
COLOR: That very dark blue paired with that rich orange. Yes please, Chicago. Regardless of the history, the Packers colors are just weird to me. Bananas anyone? The third quarter starts a little slow, but the Bears rock the Packers with a long bomb down field and chalk up another TD.
HELMET: All things being equal, these helmets employ essentially the same design. But since the Bears have their C and colors, and the Packers have their G and colors, all things are not equal. The Bears are relentless, and score another touchdown in the fourth. Even with half a quarter left to play, the Packers fail to produce, and many seats left are left empty by Green Bay fans who decide to get an early start on the drive home.
FINAL SCORE: Bears: 28 – Packers: 7
Next up, the AFC. Jets (for the second year in a row!) vs. Steelers:
NAME: As was pointed out to me last year the name “Jets” originated when the team played near LaGuardia Airport. But that connection is long gone, and while jets are cool and manly, the “Steelers” name maintains a closer connection to the city in which they play. Also, the team’s reputation for toughness and strong defense, is consistently embodied by the name. The Steelers win the coin toss and fight their way down field after receiving. They manage to put up a field goal for their efforts.
LOGOMARK/ICON: Once again the Jets appear to be at a deficit, since they have no icon to speak of. The Steelers, on the other hand, have a very iconic mark that’s been around for decades. The trouble is—and this will likely be an unpopular assessment—they took the Steelmark logo from the AISI. Appropriate maybe, but lazy! The teams battle back and forth, but a series of turnovers on both sides leaves the score unchanged until the half.
TYPE: The Jets have a typographic identity system that extends well beyond the mark you see here. It is rooted in the history of the team, and it works well. The Steelers typography is decently rugged, but used half-heartedly and often half-assedly. The Jets come out of the locker room fired up and put up a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half. They promptly stun everyone by going for and getting the two-point conversion in lieu of the extra point.
COLOR: Green and white. Jets aren’t green, but football fields are, I suppose. Black and “gold.” While I have no particular objection to the Steelers’ colors, I do take issue with the notion that yellow is gold. The Saints know the difference, it seems. And the Steelers muddle it up by having multiple colors of astroids thrown in. The Steelers fumble the ball. The Jets recover, but only manage a field goal after inching their way down field.
HELMET: That Jets logotype just doesn’t work on the helmet. It’s too much, and feels as if it’s been slapped on there pretty thoughtlessly. The Steelers logo is almost equally ineffective on the helmet. It’s just too many components for a helmet graphic. But I give them kudos for sticking with the unusual and unique tradition of having the logo on only one side of the helmet. The Steelers rally late in the fourth quarter and barrel into the end zone with seconds left on the clock. Left with no other option than to try their own two-point conversion, they fail to do so, and a cold, dark silence washes over Steel Town.
FINAL SCORE: Jets: 11 – Steelers: 9
And that’s that. May the better designs win.