We’re in the middle of the NFL Playoffs, but turn to some corners of the internet and they’ll tell you it’s already been decided. The latest hot conspiracy theory is roaring across the internet, and is being promulgated by Aaron Rodgers, among others.
The theory is nested inside a wider, time-honored belief that the NFL is rigged. The conventional conspiracy stops short of the notion that the league is scripted, but posits that the NFL wants certain outcomes to occur for ratings, and refereeing (along with other variables) help them achieve that goal. This one is a little different though, because the Super Bowl logo conspiracy is allegedly hiding in plain sight.
It’s not the image of the Welcome To Las Vegas sign, or the high-rise casinos — but the colors. This logo, unveiled in February of 2023 features the primary colors of the hottest teams in the AFC and NFC respectively.
We have purple and black for the Baltimore Ravens, and red and gold for the San Francisco 49ers. The design decision was to evoke the sun setting over the desert, using colors the league hasn’t used in recent history.
It’s easy to hand-wave this away as a coincidence, but even steel-nerved logic is tested when faced with the reality that this exact same coincidence has happened in each of the last two Super Bowl games.
In Super Bowl LVII we had the Philadelphia Eagles play the Kansas City Chiefs, with the logo released a full year before the game having strong green and red tones to it.
The year before it happened as well, with the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals facing off — this time with a logo that was predominantly orange and yellow
The shared DNA between all three logos is the idea of a sunset, and this is part of where the problem arises, and why it would spawn these conspiracy theories. If take a step back from these logos in isolation and think about the color pallet of the NFL logically, then we see just how easy it becomes to read into the coloring of the logo.
If we think about the general colors that would be used in a sunset theme it leaves a lot of room open to interpretation. A total of 29 teams could theoretically be fit into a color scheme that involves the predominant colors of a sunset.
NFL teams inside the sunset color family
The only teams that don’t fit into this theme are those using white as their only secondary color, or lean on lighter shades — so in this case the Colts, Eagles and Jets are the only three teams that couldn’t theoretically fit into a sunset color scheme (though green was featured in Super Bowl LVII).
To be fair to those who are proponents of the conspiracy theory: The NFL is owed zero benefit of the doubt. Unclear, often uneven officiating, the concerted effort to hide the dangers of CTE, and suspensions that feel like they’re often handed out on a whim naturally creates a breeding ground for rumor and conspiracy theory.
That said, there are two key reasons why the Super Bowl logo theory falls apart:
- Too many people would need to be in on this, and remain absolutely quiet about the league’s plan.
- It makes zero sense for the NFL to leave little breadcrumbs like this if they were in fact rigging the league to get two specific teams in the Super Bowl.
At the end of the day the NFL loves money more than anything else on this planet. There is no way they would risk their gambling affiliations, the perception of their product, and the faith of the public over something as trivial as getting specific teams into the Super Bowl —especially those from fairly small media markets like Baltimore and San Francisco.
It’s fun to quip about, but this conspiracy theory doesn’t have much merit.