Miami Dolphins at 50: logos


Every time a fan turns on a sports news broadcast, if the fan is lucky, they’ll get some interesting tidbits on their favorite team, and when that happens there is a 100 percent chance of seeing the team logo.

While discussing logos does absolutely nothing in terms of discussing the sport, fans really do need to enjoy their team’s emblem. If they don’t, then fans could be dissuaded from purchasing merchandise and other apparel until something they like comes along, and merchandise is a huge money maker for professional sports organizations.

The Miami Dolphins have only produced a few logos in the history of the franchise. For the most part, they were pretty much the same with some slight variations until the last two renditions. So let’s travel down memory lane and take a look at the evolution of the Miami Dolphins logs through the past 50 years.

1966 to 1973

This is the logo of the franchise’s initial futility and then its rise to a Super Bowl powerhouse.

As you can see the dolphin’s head and helmet are the center of the logo. This makes the dolphin look like it’s at the initial stage of its jump with the sun off in the distance.

The dolphin has a few white streaks to give it some facial features and detail. The “M” helmet, obviously stands for Miami, but acts as a nice touch because why would a dolphin have another dolphin as a logo?

The sun has hashmarks in between the sun bursts adding some detail to the backdrop. This would be the basis for most of the logos going forward.

1974 to 1989

Can this be the Dolphins logo again? Please?

Immediately, you can tell that there have been some slight changes to the logo. Most noticeably, the dolphin is now centered with the head and helmet to the upper right blocking out a piece of the sun bursts.

Some extra white streaks have been added to give the dolphin some extra detail. Other than these changes, the logo doesn’t stray much from the original.

This is the logo where the Dolphin seems to have reached the apex of his jump into the sky. It’s also tied for the longest tenured logo in the team’s history and definitely the best looking one of the group.

1989 to 1996

The most interesting thing about this rendition of the logo is the more pronounced tail fin and the sleeker looking dolphin. In the previous logos, the head and body were more in focus with the size of each.

This logo attempts to add more and more to the picture with the additional white streaks and bolder orange on the helmet and sun.

This was likely an attempt to make the dolphin look more realistic, but you’ll learn if you search for dolphin pictures that they all look different. Some of the body shape of this logo and others like the previous rendition. However, the additional white streaks make the logo too busy especially around the dolphin’s face.

All in all, just a quick redesign that doesn’t stray too much from the previous logos, but doesn’t seem to add much to the design either. So, a typical 90s redesign that didn’t quite appeal to disgruntled members of Generation X.

1997 to 2012

The most substantial change to the logo at the time, many things were tweaked here.

For starters, the dolphin is now larger, the white streaks are gone, and navy blue was implemented. Instead of steaks, white is used to fill out certain areas of the Dolphin like the side, mouth, flippers, flukes, and dorsal fin.

Both the navy and white attempt to give the dolphin a more third dimensional and realistic look. The hashmarks between the sun waves were removed and the helmet received some more detail in color and an ear hole.

Lastly, the Dolphin was given a facial expression that is supposed to make it look menacing, but makes me think more that it ate the wrong mackerel. Better finish this jump, don’t want to go on the helmet!

This logo lasted for 15 years matching the time the previous longest tenured logo amassed. However, this logo seems to be the symbol of the franchise’s dark ages – a cartoony reminder that when this was on the helmet, the Dolphins didn’t win much.

Mandatory Credit:

2013 to present

Your current Miami Dolphins logo is a departure from another departure. Gone is the dolphins’ constipated facial expression and in its place is a singular white eye, solid white and navy detail, and the sun waves are of varying length, but again without hashmarks.

The most notable departures are the forfeiture of the helmet and the Dolphin’s posture. The loss of the helmet became something of a joke because of rules put into place by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The posture is odd. Some like it because it’s a dolphin in attack position. But if that’s the case, why is it jumping? It is attacking a seagull? If the dolphin is jumping into the air with the sun in the background, it’s going to land back into the water in a very painful way.

Detractors don’t care for the current rendition as some have jested that it could sub in for a Sea World logo or that it appears as if the dolphin is dying in the sun. However, like it or not this is your Miami Dolphins logo.

The logo has already been through some tough times such as the Richie IncognitoJonathan Martin harassment scandal and a few disappointing seasons. But there’s always hope this symbol can see better days.

What’s your favorite Miami Dolphins logo from the past 50 years? Which logo would you like to never see again? Sound off in the comment section below.