Arizona Cardinals are a professional American football team that competes in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the league’s National Football Conference (NFC) West division. The Cardinals play their home games at State Farm Stadium, which opened in 2006 and is located in the northwestern suburb of Glendale, Arizona. A cardinal bird perched on the laces of a football has been a symbol of Arizona Cardinals since 1947.
The Cardinals were founded as the Morgan Athletic Club in 1898 in Chicago, Illinois. And they joined the NFL in 1920. The club then moved to St. Louis in 1960 and played in that city through 1987 (sometimes referred to as the “Football Cardinals” or the “Big Red” to avoid confusion with the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball).
Before the 1988 season, the team moved west to Tempe, Arizona, a college suburb east of Phoenix, and played their home games for the next 18 seasons at Sun Devil Stadium on Arizona State University. In 2006, the club moved to their current home field in Glendale, although the team’s executive offices and training facility remain in Tempe.
The primary colors of “Arizona Cardinals” are white and red. The Cardinals moved to Arizona in 1988, and the flag of Arizona was added to the sleeves the following year. The Cardinal head – a symbol of the team – is on the helmet and the emblem Arizona Cardinals.
Meaning and History
Arizona Cardinals eventually became a charter member of the American Professional Football Association (APFA) in 1920. Throughout the team’s existence, the Arizona Cardinals logo was changed eight times and had major changes until 1970, when it started to feature a team symbol – red cardinal.
The evolution of the Arizona Cardinals logos happened as the team changed names, moved to new cities, and moved from one league to another. What began with a monogram in the form of combined letters “CC,” and then became the inscription “CARD-PITT,” eventually turned into a red cardinal.
The bird has always been drawn in different ways. One of the earliest emblems featured a detailed cartoon illustration of the cardinal; then, he was introduced as an anthropomorphic muscular character. Over time, the artists began to depict only the head, refining the option once proposed by the Verlander Design studio.
1920 – 1934
The first Arizona Cardinals logo was unveiled when Arizona Cardinals was named Chicago Cardinals. The 1920’s Chicago Cardinals logo had an interlocking “CC” logo with a wishbone “C” and a regular “C” in red.
In 1944 the Steelers merged with the Chicago Cardinals and were known as “CARD-PITT” and informally known as the “Car-Pitts” or “Carpets.” The logo features the wordmark “CARD-PITT.” The Steelers went solo again for the 1945 season.
1947 – 1959
Starting in 1947, the cardinal’s logo is a brown and black cardinal perched on the stitches of a white with black outline football.
1960 – 1961
For the first time on the logo appears a character who has received a human image (arms, legs) but with the head of a bird a cardinal. The character is in motion as if to bring the ball into the goal.
1962 – 1969
In 1960, the team moved to St. Louis, which also impacted its logo. In 1962, the Cardinals logo changed to a red muscled Cardinal carrying a football in football uniform running past the St. Louis Arch.
1970 – 1987
In 1970, the logo came to be what is today the streamlined version of the cardinal head with an attitude. Verlander Design designed the Cardinals logo. All subsequent modifications were based on the version of 1970.
1988 – 1993
There was a slight variation of the cardinal head angle in 1988 for the move to Phoenix. That was the only thing in the Cardinals logo that was changed.
1994 – 2004
Slight changes as the city of Phoenix changes to the state of Arizona in 1994. The Cardinals become the “Arizona Cardinals” so they changed the logo too.
2005 – present
Currently, the Arizona Cardinals use a simple emblem that contains a bird’s head without additional elements or inscriptions. It was adopted in 2005 but is based on a version presented back in 1970. It is the result of three modifications of the original drawing. Over a decade, the Arizona Cardinals logo was almost the same, but in January 2005, it unveiled its first major changes in a century. The red cardinal head logo was updated to look sleeker and meaner than the previous cardinal head. The beak was changed from gold to yellow, heavier black outlines were added, and this bird is significantly more aggressive-looking than the previous bird. Numerous fans had called the previous version a “parakeet.”
It differs from previous versions in clearer lines, wide contours, and harmonious proportions. Due to high-quality graphics, the style looks modern. This is especially noticeable when compared with the previous logo because it was created in 1994 without progressive digital technologies.
Font and Color of the Emblem
The hallmark of the professional football team from Arizona is associated with its mascot, the red cardinal. It was his head that the designers portrayed, adhering to a simple but distinctive style. The bird looks angry because of the semicircular shape of the eyes and the low-hanging imaginary eyebrow line. Also, the artists added a sharp beak to make the cardinal appear dangerous.
The only inscription on the Arizona Cardinals logo was in 1944 when the club was officially called Card-Pitt. In all other cases, the designers did not use text elements, so they could avoid working on the fonts.
The color scheme is pretty conservative too. It is dominated by a red-pink color, which became the basis of the team’s visual identification back in 1920 and is present in almost every emblem, except for the version from 1947-1959, which depicts a brown bird on the background of the ball. The palette also includes gold and black. The first color is used for the beak and the second for the eye and outline.