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Long Live The Crayon Flag: An Ode to the Best Logo in MLS

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The New England Revolution changing their name and/or logo would be a terrible idea because they already have the best logo in the league.

MLS: New England Revolution at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

With the opening of the wonderful New England Revolution training center at the aptly named 1776 Revolution Way, head coach Bruce Arena, Revs President Brian Bilello and team owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft have put a massive foot forward for their MLS franchise.

Arena and Bilello are already campaigning for another Designated Player to go along with the already successful duo in Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou that were signed in 2019. The Revs might still share their Gillette Stadium home with their NFL big brother in the Patriots, but have moved into their brand new accommodations just in time for the beginning of the MLS offseason.

However, there is talk in The Athletic of other going ons in Revs land, more specifically that SSS in Boston that we’ve been talking about for what seems like 25 years. But also about the worst word in the soccer/sports dictionary:

REBRAND

Don’t do it New England Revolution. Don’t change the best (and only) logo in Major League Soccer. Do not replace the magnificent crayon flag that stands alone as the last icon of the league’s founding in the 90s. And under NO CIRCUMSTANCES are you to add a number or an FC to your team name...no, not even 1776. Update the logo if you must but you leave the name exactly as it is. I can survive a rebrand, but not a name change. Please do not rip out my heart and soul by changing the logo and name at the same time.

I love the Crayon Flag and I wish I could remember where I saw the reference for the first time or who said it, but it remains perhaps the most appropriate name for our glorious club badge that I can think of. Because, let’s be honest, yes, someone copied that US 1994 World Cup logo with a box of crayola crayons 25 years ago and its hard to prove otherwise. I’m okay with that, in fact, I’m more than okay with it because the Revs logo is perhaps the last original thing left from the early MLS days. The last icon of the weirdness of American sports that has long left MLS as it becomes more European in its naming and badges.

And that’s unfortunate, because in a country full of baseball teams named Yard Goats, Jumbo Shrimp, and Rumble Ponies, soccer has become homogenized with Cities, SC, FC, and Uniteds that quite frankly bore me. On top of being very “meh” and unoriginal, I don’t know how much these things do for brand recognition and I say this knowing I champion a logo that well over half the people who ask me about my Revs gear think it’s for the United States national teams.

Yes, the 90s are perhaps not a happy time in MLS history, but the jerseys were just as wild as Carlos Valderamma’s hair and I love it. The Tampa Bay Alien Mutiny, the San Jose Clashing Scorpions, the NYNJ MetroSkyscrapperStars, the Dallas Blazing Horses, the KC Rainbow Wiz, and most importantly The Columbus Hard Hat Crew Guys are all better than their current versions. Except you know the Mutiny who, ya know, kinda just folded.

Why? It’s very simple.

Because when I think of the Colorado Rapids, you know what I don’t think of? A maroon shield. Just like how the LA Galaxy aren’t a navy shield, the Crew isn’t a black and yellow circle, and Dallas is not a bull named FC in a shield. Sporting also isn’t a navy shield and so on and so forth. When I think of the Revolution, I think of the Flag of New England, and tri-point hats, and muskets, and the 2008 SuperLiga. And our glorious crayon flag we’ve had for 25 years.

I understand that some of these rebrands (SKC, Columbus, heck, even RBNY) have actually been well received and successful and I understand that there is a business aspect to running a sports franchise. But that doesn’t me everything has to be based off of a team on the other side of the Atlantic that has no meaning here in the states. Looking at you Inter Beckham Miami United.

Look, at the end of the day the goal is to make money and every so often updating or changing your team brand to sell more team merchandise is part of the routine. My beloved Philadelphia Eagles changed to a darker green and changed from a flying bird logo to a more fierce eagle head. But they kept the wings on the helmets in what was a nice update. The Patriots abandoned Patriot Pat for a flying Elvis head (H/T to TMQ’s Gregg Easterbrook) but in the Darth Hoodie and Golden Boy era, the new logo/jersey scheme is likely wildly successful and accompanied by lots of trophies. It took a few years but the new UConn bunny wolf Huskies logo has grown on me.

We’ve approached the idea of a new Revs logo on TBM before, because you heathens think it’s a good idea to do away with the excellence that is the crayon flag. And honestly, there’s actually a lot of good ideas out there though I will deny having ever written that statement. A reader touched on a few of them in a fan post several years ago, reddit has several solid options if you go browsing around as well as a few designers with well thought out proposals. But if the Revolution are going to change their brand, sticking with a “logo” instead of a circle or shield or other boring shape should be the way to go.

The only other MLS team crests I’d have considered to be “logos” and not Euro-styled whatever badges would have been the Chicago Fire and Vancouver Whitecaps...but the Fire went and ruined that with that stupid oval. But the reflecting mountains on the Whitecaps logo are majestic and a fine example of the outside the shield thinking this league should have. I know the Vancouver Whitecaps logo not because it has the name right in the middle, but because it’s unique and recognizable beyond the realm of sports in my opinion. and I can’t say that about a lot of the current and updated MLS logos if you take the names away from the logos. I admit my bias, I loved the Hard Hat Guys and I want Columbus to bring them back.

When I think of Minnesota United, I think of the Loons and the magnificent bird they have...emblazoned on a shield of sorts but it’s still awesome. I don’t think of anything “united” despite the fact they have a united Twin Cities thing maybe going on there. As much as I hate the United moniker (cause DC had it first and should be the only one), Atlanta and the Five Stripes nickname they’ve developed is pretty cool and yes I’m jealous of the ATL for selling out The Benz for both throwball and soccer. But the cookie cutter circles and shield are tiresome and sadly show no signs of going away.

Listen, at some point the Revs are going to update their logo, as much as I don’t want them to, but I know they will. However, will I die on the hill that says the Crayon Flag is the greatest logo in Major League Soccer, damn right I will. Will I at every opportunity make fun of whatever circle or shield or badge someone will design for the Revs, you better believe it. Will I remind everyone far more often than I should, that we, New England, started and won the war that means we don’t have to name our teams after Manchester or Lisbon or Inter and should have specific cities and nicknames like the rest of America, yup. And for that matter, as a result of our tea-dumping shenanigans, we shouldn’t have partially owned Manchester teams in our league either, but I digress...looking at you NYCFU.

Now if said circle or shield rebrand is eventually designed by Mark Willis you might be able to talk me into it because I MEAN LOOK AT THIS EXCELLENT CHICAGO REBRAND:

That is 100000% better than the drek the Fire actually trotted out in that oval mess earlier this offseason. Listen, Revs, save your money when you, eventually, unfortunately, decide to retire the Crayon Flag and just hire Mark. Trust me on this.

But until that day comes I will root for the day that the Flag of New England flies victoriously over Major League Soccer. And hopefully, in my lifetime, that will happen, where the Revs hoist the MLS Cup surrounded by confetti.

Hopefully the Crayon Flag will be there alongside the Flag of New England when that fateful day happens, because then all will be right in the world.