The Cincinnati Bengals logo is sort of atypical, as it has never appeared on the sides of the helmet, with the team instead preferring to use tiger stripes rather than a helmet logo itself. This became especially true in the late-1990s when a new primary logo was introduced to the team yet they retained the striped helmet. This would occur again in 2004.
This brief article provides an overview of the team’s logo history since its founding in 1968 until the present day.
The Bengals have had six primary logos throughout their existence – the first of which was a cartoon-like tiger sprinting with a football. This logo lasted during the team’s years in the AFL – from 1968 to 1969.
The second primary was a drawing of the team’s helmet complete with an orange facemask which bore the ‘BENGALS’ wordmark. This accompanied the team while they still held onto their Cleveland-like uniforms from 1970 until 1980.
In 1981 the team rebranded to their own unique uniform identity and also changed the logo, which now featured the tiger-striped helmet and black double-bar facemask. A similar logo was introduced a year after, simply including an updated helmet – which lasted until 1996.
In 1997, the Bengals tweaked their uniforms again, this time adding a snarling tiger head as the primary logo which remained in primary status until 2003.
Finally, in 2004, the tiger-striped ‘B’ logo was introduced and has been the team’s primary logo ever since.
The team has had three secondary/alternate logos since the 1990s – the first of which was the helmet – much like the team’s primary logo at the time, except it rested diagonally instead of horizontally. As the 1990s morphed into the 2000s, these helmet logos became more of a thing for all thirty-two teams.
The leaping tiger logo was introduced in 1997 as an alternate to the tiger head logo. This logo actually contained the primary logo on it, except it was a full-body logo – much like what the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers also did at the time.
The final secondary logo consisted of the same tiger head logo from the 1997 upgrade, now relegated to alternate status.
The team has seen four anniversary logos – the first of which came about in 1992 to celebrate the team’s 25th anniversary. The second one recognized the Bengals’ 30th anniversary in 1997, and the third one to date celebrated 40 seasons in 2007. Finally, in 2017, a 50th-anniversary patch was released.
Everyone who knows me will realize that I’m not a fan of logos with letters unless it’s historic – which the Bengals’ primary logo isn’t. While I’ll take the bland tiger-striped ‘B’ over other the helmet primary logos which I can’t stand even more – even my Browns’ – I’ve always been a fan of the tiger logo – both the primary tiger head and the alternate full-bodied leaping tiger.
If the Bengals ever rebrand again, I’d love to see these logos take centerstage once more.