Several years ago, the University of Iowa, convinced that Southern Miss’s eagle head logo was too similar to Iowa’s abstract representation of a dead bird skull, sued Southern Miss for copyright infringement.
Based on the two universities’ respective endowments, Iowa suing Southern Miss was something akin to eliminating an anthill with a nuclear weapon, so Southern Miss chose to redesign its logo rather than bring a knife to an ICBM fight.
Yesterday, two contenders were released. They are almost identical, with one dramatic exception: The two eagles have very different eyes.
Initially, both B&G’s Ryan and Bradley were members of Team Traditional Eye, but Bradley turned traitor after a good night’s sleep, and now supports Team Dynamic Eye.
Here are their arguments.
Team Traditional Eye is clearly the winning camp here. In my initial review of the two proposed logos, I showed the options to my fiance, and her initial response to seeing the Dynamic Eye?
“Eww, that’s creepy.”
Now, I’m not sure that I’d go that far in my assessment of the Dynamic Eye, but there is something unsettling about it. It’s as if there’s a tiny shield nesting in the eye of our beloved eagle. I have no idea what the eagle is protecting; perhaps it is an attempt to block us, the USM alumni, from peering too deeply into its soul. Perhaps it is a shield designed to deter pesky NCAA investigators from looking too closely into our finances, or scholarship allotments.
Or, hell, maybe it’s a shield to protect the bastion of Hattiesburg from greater Mississippi. Maybe it’s a shield against Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and even LSU. Maybe it’s a stand against those spoiled fan bases. It is there to say:
YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.
Or maybe it’s just a weird and unnecessary focal point in an otherwise glorious design, an “evolutionary” design that improves upon the old logo in nearly every way. The new golden eagle is fierce. It is sleek. It scoffs at your puny bulldog or rebel, or whatever. You look into the Traditional Eye and it says:
DON’T TREAD ON US.
The steely resolve of the Traditional Eye is throwing shade at arrogant SEC schools. It throws grenades, daggers, bombs at anyone who dare overlook the majesty of the University of Southern Mississippi. It makes you remember the days of Mississippi Normal College, because you can not look into the Traditional Eye and think that there’s anything normal here.
For here is tradition with an edge.
Here is Southern Effing Miss To The Top.
Declare your membership on #TeamTraditionalEye. Click to tweet!
At first, I was all aboard the Traditional Train. I’m the guy who thinks good uniforms are classic uniforms, and the best uniforms are probably the ones that involve leather helmets.
But here’s the thing: Southern Miss, despite its tradition and its legitimately good football history, has never had a logo as specific as, say, the Saints’ fleur-de-lis. You can go a lot of directions with the concept of “eagle” and, since adopting the Golden Eagle name in 1972, the university has indeed gone a lot of directions.
The problem with new logos is pretty much everybody has a new logo. As slick as the Traditional Eye design is — and it is, it’s great! — it’s still just another contemporary sports team bird logo. What’s unique about it? Does anything stand out?
Look: Recently, the New Orleans Pelicans (whose logo was designed by the firm behind the new Southern Miss logo) released a new mascot into the wild. Pierre the Pelican, in his original form, was a terrifying nightmare creature from some realm beyond imagination. Horrifying Pierre became a phenomenon known across the Internet, a living legend, the stuff of myth — and then he was redesigned to be a benign and forgettable pelican costume.
The Dynamic Eye design isn’t Pierre the Pelican. It’s not kitschy, or nearly so horrifying. But it is different. It stands out. You notice it. Is it, maybe, a little creepy? Yes. But you embrace that sort of thing; you don’t run from it.
Southern Miss should choose the Dynamic Eye logo, and then it should create wall posters that are designed in such a way that the Dynamic Eye follows you around the room. When people come over, they slowly begin to realize they’re being watched by a scary disembodied eagle head that they wouldn’t have even noticed otherwise, and then they’ll never confuse the University of Southern Mississippi with freakin’ Iowa.
You want something with impact, not something that’s just there. I want a giant Dynamic Eye on the 50 yard line of M. M. Roberts Stadium that makes direct eye contact with the soul of every visiting player, fan, and coach. I want people to feel not like they’re staring into the void, but that the void, coalesced into the form of the Dynamic Eye, is staring back.
Declare your membership on #TeamDynamicEye. Click below to tweet!