A deeper look into the Patriots’ logo that never was, and how we arrived at the “Flying Elvis” being featured in its 8th Super Bowl.
Besides thinking about football, I think about design, marketing, and how brands are presented. Of course, by now, every New England fan knows Pat Patriot and the “Flying Elvis,” but most people don’t know what us fans almost had instead.
There it is, in all of it’s glory. The inspiration of the current Flying Elvis which came via the NFL’s graphics department, sourced out to an intern at a graphic design facility in California, run by Stan Evenson.
The process of the entire logo re-design prior to the 1993 change wasn’t something former owner Billy Sullivan really even supported, but he figured he’d set up his son-in-law, the then marking director for the team, with an opportunity – to let the fans decide. At halftime, in 1979 during a home game, the above logo was presented to the fans on poster boards and received with an enormous negative response. So Pat Patriot stayed around until 1993. In came new owner Robert Kraft, and with him the “Flying Elvis.”
In my youth, I was always told the Flying Elvis was the product of a Boston Globe “logo redesign” contest held by incoming owner Robert Kraft. Instead, the truth revealed that the Globe had been the only paper that documented the helmet in the middle, and reported on how poorly it was received by the fans during the halftime reveal in the late 70’s.
The only actual fan logo submission accepted by the Patriots was the original revolutionary war hat, which served as the logo for one season during 1960, which is on display at the Patriots Hall of Fame in Foxborough, MA.
There you have it, the abridged version of how we got to the Flying Elvis, which will be worn for the 8th time in Super Bowl LII next Sunday in Atlanta, GA. If you’re further interested in the sketching related to the evolution from 1979 and NFL Properties: here’s the link.
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