When it comes to iconic logos in the NFL, one seems to think of the Dallas Cowboys star or Oakland Raiders crest. Rarely does the Detroit Lions logo fit its way into the conversation among the best or most notable logos among NFL franchises.
However, a recent study shows that it’s actually the second best logo in the league per a fan poll ran by FanJuicer.com.
The poll wasn’t any ordinary “rank these NFL logos” type of poll. Instead, Fan Juicer tapped the NFL reddit page and gave each participant a foursome of logos. They were then asked which of the four logos was “most appealing” and which was the “least appealing.” This polling technique—called MaxDiff—they argue, “yields much more rich and accurate data.”
And using their data of nearly 1,500 participants, the Lions’ logo came in only behind the iconic New Orleans Saints golden fleur-de-lis symbol.
The Lions have fiddled with their logo in recent history. The biggest alteration came in 2009, when the Honolulu Blue lion was given a significant amount of detail, to clearly outline the edges of the lion that had been fondly called “bubbles” for its cartoonish simplicity. Since then the Lions have made a few alterations, including changing the outside trim from black to grey.
While the alterations have certainly made the logo better since its outdated look of the early 2000s, it’s still surprising to see it ranked so highly. The study does note that there was a slightly higher number of Lions fans polled (five percent to the average of three percent per team), but that does not account for much in the grand scheme of things.
Even the graphic designer interviewed for the Fan Juicer article seemed puzzled by the Lions’ ranking. “There is a great organic shape here with some great subtle details that give it a bit of depth and interest. It isn’t just a silhouette,” Eugenie Mclellan wrote. “Still, I’m not sure if I would put this one in my top ten. I don’t think it is that exciting. I like the ones with a little more depth.”
Perhaps it’s that lack of excitement that actually helped out the Lions in this poll. The logo doesn’t take a lot of chances and is therefore pretty easy to get along with. Its simplicity is probably the best thing about it, and make it a much more palatable logo than the cluttered nature of logos like the Buccaneers’ (17th) or the Titans (27th). That being said, it can’t all be about simplicity. The Cleveland Browns’ logo—a plain, orange helmet—placed dead last in the poll.