The Miami Dolphins logo has remained a fixture in the team’s existence since their founding in 1966, depicting an aqua dolphin leaping in front of a sunburst.
It’s one of my favorite logos in football and even the current one isn’t half-bad. But I’ll admit, I do prefer the classic.
Anyway, what may not be known is that the logo has gone through several changes since the team’s founding, much of which had gone unnoticed.
In fact, there have been at least four major changes over the course of the team’s history, and given the popularity of their throwback uniforms, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another change.
Alright, let’s get snapping on this iconic look for one of the NFL’s more recognizable franchises. The team’s first logo consisted of the familiar helmet-bearing aqua dolphin leaping into a sunburst. its head was positioned into the sunburst’s center. The team switched out of this briefly before it became a mainstay until 1973 when the dolphin’s body moved to the center and its head protruded out of the upper-righthand corner of the sunburst.
This logo hung around until 1989, when the shade of aqua was darkened, as was the shade of coral. This logo lasted until 1996.
Related: Miami Dolphins Uniform History
In 1997, the logo was radically redesigned. The sunburst was now simpler, lacking the sun rays of the previous logo. The dolphin now bore an actual facial expression and for the first time, navy appeared in the logo. It’s appropriate to note that many teams darkened their colors during the 1990s, particularly during the latter half – with the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers following suit while the Baltimore Ravens debuted in dark uniforms and the Philadelphia Eagles darkened theirs just one year prior in 1996.
The logo saw another radical redesign in 2013, with the dolphin now positioned horizontally in front of a redesigned sunburst. The colors were lightened to new shades and navy remained in the look. The dolphin now lacked a helmet and held a realistic facial expression. It was also sleeker than past logos.
In 2018, this logo was updated – sort of – to the team’s original color scheme, or a variation thereof, combining a new look with older elements.
The Dolphins’ alternate logo came in 1997 lasted until 2012. It consisted of a leaping dolphin with no sunburst. The dolphin resembled the one on the team’s helmet, except it carried a football as well.
Related: History of the Miami Dolphins Jersey
The team has also seen several anniversary logos – a 25th-anniversary logo in 1990 to commemorate the franchise’s 25th season. A second one came in 1997, commemorating 25 seasons since the team’s perfect 1972 season. A 30th-anniversary logo also commemorated the team’s perfect season.
The 2013 version of the leaping dolphin – I guess gliding dolphin would be more appropriate, wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and it only improved in 2018 when the Dolphins upgraded their colors. I like it, but I’m not in love with it. Now, the 1966-1973 logo I can go for all day – ditto for the 1974-1988 logo.
Again, this team has arguably a more iconic logo than many teams – talking about the classics, of course! And it wouldn’t surprise me if the team ditched the 2013 look and made a full-time return to the classics.
Related: The Miami Dolphins Helmet History
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