Ranking the CFL American Expansion Logos

Oh, the good old days when the CFL decided they needed to try to get into the U.S.A. to grow the league. Back before I was even alive, the league headed across the border to grow something special. Sounds like something that is going on today.

Unfortunately for the CFL, the whole American expansion thing didn’t work out to0 well for them. Even more unfortunate is the logos that they came up with for this expansion. I wish I could rank them all last. Yikes.

7. Sacramento Gold Miners

For a team called the Gold Miners, there seems to be something lacking in this logo. Gold! There is a serious lack of gold on this logo. On top of that, green and gold don’t go together very well and yet they decided to roll with it.

What makes this logo even more confusing for me is the uniforms that it was paired with. The colours are almost entirely different as the team wore jerseys that looked teal and gold rather than the green and yellow in the logo.

Sacramento Gold Miners Logo

Apart from the colours, the logo still sucks. A poorly designed pickaxe hitting a gold nugget (or are those sparks?) with the words “Gold Miners” behind is pretty boring. Quite simply, it was the easy way out.

A theme you are going to see here is comparing these logos to generic teams on Madden, and it doesn’t get any more generic than this. Logos like this make me happy that the American expansion failed.

6. Shreveport Pirates

I really can’t figure this one out, so I checked one of my favourite websites, Sportslogos.net for an explanation.

“Pirate with orange bandana coming from a purple triangle”

Sportslogos.net’s description of the shreveport pirates logo

Alright, so that answers none of my questions regarding this logo. What is the massive orange circle on the pirate’s ear? Is it supposed to be an earring or something? What’s the point of the purple triangle? It makes no sense to me.

Shreveport Pirates Logo

It’s just a weird-looking logo that would have likely been better had they not slapped a triangle on it. There’s nothing special about any element in this logo, and to say that I hate it would be an understatement.

5. Memphis Mad Dogs

The Memphis Mad Dogs logo actually isn’t too bad if it was designed for a little league or high school team. The dog on the top of the logo is alright but putting the wordmark in a bone and making it such a large portion of the logo is not a great choice.

Can we also just take a second to talk about the name, the Memphis Mad Dogs. The name more so than the logo belongs in high school, but the whole concept of the team is pretty bad.

Memphis Mad Dogs Logo

Eventually, we are going to be doing a jersey ranking of the American expansion teams, and if you thought there could be a chance that the Mad Dogs climb the ranking there, that won’t be the case. There is just about nothing about this defunct teams’ branding that I think should have been part of a professional football franchise.

4. San Antonio Texans

The Dallas Cowboys, I mean San Antonio Texans are here! This is clearly some kind of attempt to relate to the people in Texas who are already Cowboys fans and might be interested in San Antonio’s new football team. The big star behind the head of the Texan (you can tell he’s a Texan because of his big hat, I guess) is copy-pasted from the Cowboys, just with a colour that makes me want to bleach my eyes.

The person in the logo has about as much personality as a park bench outside of his absolutely amazing big hat. The handlebar moustache is also pretty cool, but the logo as a whole is pretty meh and leans closer to bad than it does good.

San Antonio Texans Logo

One thing I will credit the Texans for is using the pattern on the hat on the jerseys even though it looked pretty bad. The colour scheme is ugly and typical of the ’90s. There just isn’t too much good with this logo, except for the big hat of course.

3. Birmingham Barracudas

The Birmingham Barracudas use a colour scheme that is nearly identical to the San Antonio Texans and is just as terrible. The main difference between the two logos as far is how they are ranked is one of them features a man with a big hat and handlebar moustache while the other one features a much cooler barracuda. But wait, what exactly is a barracuda you ask?

“A large predatory tropical marine fish with a slender body and large jaws and teeth.”

Definitions from Oxford Languages

There’s your answer. It is a real thing that I actually knew existed. I found that out when the San Jose Sharks moved their American Hockey League team to San Jose and also named them the Barracudas.

Birmingham Barracudas Logo

But back on the topic of the logo, it’s bad. The wordmark style logos never really do much for me and the only reason it is this high on the list is the barracuda. Had it just been the fish, it likely would be a little better, but it wouldn’t have been higher. The two logos that come next are the only two that I actually think a pro football team should ever consider using.

2. Las Vegas Posse

What’s special about the Las Vegas Posse logo? Well, nothing, but it doesn’t suck and that’s more than what can be said about the rest of them. I can actually picture this one being on the side of the helmet of a current-day CFL team. It’s classic and timeless, two things that the team will never be considering they are long gone and forgotten about.

Las Vegas Posse Logo

Gold and black are good colours to use, especially when you are in Las Vegas. The ‘LV’ with the six-pointed star in the background works well. I don’t have many negative things to say about this one. Congrats, you’re the first one to get it right!

1. Baltimore Stallions

Most of the American expansion logos have sucked, Las Vegas was okay, but the Baltimore Stallions are special. Not only are they the only non-Canadian franchise to ever win the Grey Cup, but they also have by far the best logo of the bunch. The blue and white stallion with a flowing mane is a logo that could have been touched up slightly and looked good today.

Baltimore Stallions logo

The Stallions moved to Montreal but the CFL considers them to be a different franchise. Technically, the Baltimore Stallions are no more and it has been that way for quite some time, but on a technical level, they still stand. A Grey Cup, a great logo, and technically still standing, kinda. You cant ask for much more

There we have it. The American expansion was an interesting time to look back on for sure. Who knows, there could be another American division coming soon to the CFL, but we’re going to have to wait and see on that front.

Published by Frankie Benvenuti

Co-owner of 13th Man Sports and co-host of the 13th Man Sports live show. Working on making this my career

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