They answered the call from as far away as San Jose, California. Some as young as six years old. Others accomplished professionals. They are the Miami Dolphins fans who agreed it was time to redesign the team's goofy logo in order to give our boys a little more pride on the gridiron. On August 11, New Times issued its call for entries: Dump This Dolphin! We offered no prizes, though we did appeal to team owner Wayne Huizenga to kick in some season tickets for the top three design winners. Huizenga (no surprise) opted to not get within field-goal range of our civic-minded efforts.
But that didn't stop more than 140 people from submitting their visions for a new, improved dolphin. People imagined dreadlocked dolphins, meat-eating dolphins with jaws dripping blood, and minimalist dorsal fins cutting through the water. An entire middle school class contributed drawings of brawny dolphins ready to flatten the errant buccaneer or patriot foolhardy enough to challenge them. We received polished, computer-conceived logos from some of the region's top design firms, as well as hand-scrawled hieroglyphs from a few of our more ... um ... colorful readers. (Interestingly, most entries did not show the dolphin wearing a helmet.)
The theme uniting them all: The Dolphins football team needs a battle insignia that inspires. "Give 'em helmets, give 'em frikin' lasers attached to their heads," wrote Pedro Borda of Miami, who submitted four dolphins riding a tidal wave. "I don't care. Just get them to the Super Bowl."
But Dolphins Enterprises CEO Joe Bailey insists that reader enthusiasm won't spur a redesign. When the Dolphins, in 1997, tweaked the 40-year-old logo of a merrily leaping sea creature sporting a ridiculous helmet, the franchise conducted an extensive survey, which indicated that fans were fond of the silly sea mammal. Radically altering it, Bailey worries, might "disrupt the team's psychological connection" with its supporters.
Who needs surveys? We've collected a truckload of designs that are flat-out cool, true battle flags for our team and our community. Huizenga and all the others at Fins HQ need to ponder these clever, impassioned images from a fan base that knows the Dolphins must dump their aging, corny image and enter a sleek new future.