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Pantone Milestone: The Most Successful Colors in Sports History

World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play - Round Two

On today’s Pardon My Take, Mr. Cat and Mr. Commenter made a special request. With Super Bowl LIV being the first one where both teams prominently feature red in their logo, they wanted me to figure out which colors are the most successful. Not just in the NFL, but in all four major pro sports, plus college football and college hoops. So, here we go. Which colors have the most success in the wide world of sports?

*NOTE: Only tracking minimum of three titles for the sake of my own sanity*

NFL Super Bowl Winners:

New England Patriots (6): Nautical Blue (PMS 289 C), Red (PMS 186 C), New Century Silver (PMT 8180 C)

Pittsburgh Steelers (6): Steelers Gold (PMS 1235), Black (PMS 6 C)

Dallas Cowboys (5): Blue (PMS 282 C), Silver (PMT 8240 C METALLIC)

San Francisco 49ers (5): 49ers Red (187 C), Gold (PMT 872 C)

Green Bay Packers (4): Dark Green (PMS 5535), Gold (PMS 1235)

New York Giants (4): Dark Blue (2758 C), Red (187 C), Gray (429 C)

Denver Broncos (3): Broncos Orange (PMS 1655 C), Broncos Navy (PMS 289 C)

Las Vegas Raiders (3): Raiders Black (PMS BLACK), Raiders Silver (PMS 8180)

Washington Redskins (3): Burgundy (195 C), Gold (1235 C)

Takeaways: A pretty well-balanced attack here. Blue, Red, and Gold each seem to come in play with a lot of these teams. With this year’s Super Bowl being the Red Bowl, too, that color looks to be the clear favorite to take over.

NBA Finals Winners:

Boston Celtics (17): Celtics Green (356 6), Celtics Gold (874 C)

Los Angeles Lakers (16): Lakers Purple (526), Gold (123 C)

Chicago Bulls (6): Bulls Red (200 C), Black (PMS Black)

Golden State Warriors (6): Warriors Blue (7687 C), Golden Yellow (123)

San Antonio Spurs (5): Silver (877), Black (PMS Black)

Detroit Pistons (3): Red (186), Royal (7687)

Miami Heat (3): Red (PMS 202 C), Yellow (PMS 137 C), Black (Black)

Philadelphia 76ers (3): Blue (PMS 293), Red (PMS 199)

Takeaways: Gold, gold, and more gold. The Lakers and Celtics combining for 33(!) titles officially makes this one a no contest. The Warriors occupying Golden Yellow is just icing on the cake, given their recent success.

MLB World Series Winners:

New York Yankees (27): Blue (PMS 287), Red (PMS 185)

St. Louis Cardinals (11): Cardinal Red (200 C), Navy (PMS 289)

Boston Red Sox (9): Red (PMS 186), Blue (289)

Oakland Athletics (9): Green (PMS 3308), Gold (1235)

San Francisco Giants (8): Orange (172), Black (PROCESS BLACK)

Los Angeles Dodgers (6): Dodger Blue (294), Silver (877)

Pittsburgh Pirates (5): Black (PROCESS BLACK), Gold (123)

Cincinnati Reds (5): Red (PMS 199), Black (PROCESS BLACK)

Detroit Tigers (4): Navy (289), Orange (PMS 172)

Chicago White Sox (3): Black (PROCESS BLACK), Silver (PMS 877)

Minnesota Twins (3): Twins Navy (PMS 289 C), Scarlet Red (PMS 200 C)

Baltimore Orioles (3): Orange (PMS 1655), Black (PROCESS BLACK)

Atlanta Braves (3): Scarlet (200), Navy (PMS 289)

Chicago Cubs (3): Blue (294), Red (186)

Takeaways: Hello, PROCESS BLACK! I had absolutely no idea there were different shades of the color black, but here we are. These teams certainly trust the PROCESS, and a combined 19 World Series titles later, I might just be sold on that being the color of the future.

NHL Stanley Cup Winners:

Montreal Canadiens (24): Red (187 C), Blue (2758 C)

Toronto Maple Leafs (13): Blue (281 C), White (No Pantone)

Detroit Red Wings (11): Red (186 C), White (No Pantone)

Boston Bruins (6): Gold (1235 C), Black (BLACK C)

Chicago Blackhawks (6): Red (PMS 186 C), Orange (PMS 165 C), Green (348 C), Yellow (109 C), Tan (PMS 131 C), Blue (PMS 2747), Black (No Pantone), White (No Pantone)

Edmonton Oilers (5): Blue (282), Orange (PMS 1655)

Pittsburgh Penguins (5): Black (BLACK C), Yellow (1235 C), White (No Pantone)

New York Islanders (4): Blue (PMS 287), Orange (PMS 1655)

New York Rangers (4): Blue (PMS 286 C), Red (186 C), White (No Pantone)

New Jersey Devils (3): Red (186 C), Black (BLACK C), White (No Pantone)

Takeaways: BORING! Wayyyyy too much white here. You’re telling me FIVE of the top 10 Stanley Cup Champions have white in their logos? Come on, there needs to at least be a Pantone for that. Also, Blackhawks, what are we doing here? Just because you’ve won six titles doesn’t mean you get to pick every single color available. Make up your mind.

NCAA Football Championships (Minimum of 5):

Princeton Tigers (28): Princeton Orange (PMS 165 C), Black

Yale Bulldogs (27): Yale Blue, White

Alabama Crimson Tide (17): Crimson (PMS 201), Gray (PMS 430), White

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11): Blue (PMS 289), Standard Dome Gold (117)

Michigan Wolverines (11): Blue (PMS 282), Maize (PMS 7406)

USC Trojans (11): Red (PMS 201C), Yellow (PMS 123C)

Pittsburgh Panthers (9): Game Royal (PMS 661 C), University Gold (PMS 1235 C)

Ohio State Buckeyes (8): Scarlet (PMS 200), Gray (PMS 424)

Harvard Crimson (7): Crimson (PMS 187 U/1807C)

Oklahoma Sooners (7): Oklahoma Crimson (PMS 201)

Minnesota Golden Gophers (7): Gopher Maroon (PMS 202 C), Gopher Gold (136 C)

Tennessee Volunteers (6): Tennessee Orange (PMS 151), Smokey (PMS 151), White

Michigan State Spartans (6): Green (PMS 567), White

Miami Hurricanes (5): Orange (PMS 1665 U), Green (PMS 3435 U)

Auburn Tigers (5): Auburn Blue (PMS 289 C), Auburn Orange (PMS 158 C)

Nebraska Cornhuskers (5): Husker Red (PMS 186 C)

Illinois Fighting Illini (5): Navy Blue (PMS 2767C), Orange (PMS 7417C)

Cornell Big Red (5): Carnellian (PMS 187 C), Brown, Light Brown

Takeaways: Big shoutout to the Ivy League for getting the majority of their championships before all these Power Five schools came along for the ride. As much as I hate to say it, Alabama deserves some props here. They are very proud to represent their dominant color, as it is smack in the middle of their team name. Tough.

NCAA Basketball Championships:

UCLA Bruins (11): Powderkeg Blue (2386 C), Westwood Gold (PMS 130 C)

Kentucky Wildcats (8): Wildcat Blue (PMS 286 C (286 U)), White

North Carolina Tar Heels (6): Carolina Blue (PMS 542)

Duke Blue Devils (5): Blue (Duke Athletics) (PMS 287), White

Indiana Hoosiers (5): Crimson (PMS 201), Cream (No Pantone)

Connecticut Huskies (4): Navy Blue (289), Grey (430), White

Kansas Jayhawks (3): KU Blue (PMS 293), Crimson (PMS 186), Jayhawk Yellow (PMS 116)

Villanova Wildcats (3): Navy (PMS 281 C), Light Blue (PMS 298 C), White

Takeaways: Powderkeg Blue! Westwood Gold! This one is a blowout, folks. With names like that AND having the most NCAA hoops titles ever, UCLA wins this one. Hopefully recurring PMT guest Mick Cronin can get the Bruins headed back in the right direction.

CONSENSUS: After “COMMAND + F” -ing my way to the bottom of this blog, a total of 27 teams mentioned in this piece have blue featured in their logo. So, while 2020 is an early frontrunner to be the Year of the Red (21 mentions), sabermetrics, history, and all this counting have led us to the conclusion that BLUE is the most successful color in American sports.

Final Tallies:

Blue: 27

Red: 21

Black: 15

Gold: 14

Orange: 12