The Super Bowl game will soon be here and it looks like there may be an unfamiliar champ as regular contenders, New Orleans and New England, have already been knocked out. I recently came across four vintage NFL pennants most likely from the 1960’s and wondered about their origins.
A pennant is a triangular flag that tapers to a point and was first used as a signaling or identification device in the navy. As a commemorative flag a pennant is used to show support for a particular athletic team and is designed using the team’s official colors and mascot. Some pennants commemorate a special victory and old ones are considered very valuable since they were not mass produced in as great a quantity. Online research unearthed athletic pennants going back to 1910.
Sportscasters talk a lot about the annual baseball pennant race. Every season the National League team that wins the pennant (championship) receives the Warren C. Giles Trophy named after the league president from 1951-1969. They then go on to face the champions of the American League in the World Series. The National League pennant has been awarded since 1876 (America’s first Centennial) except in 1994 when a player’s strike put the kibosh on the postseason. The trophy is now presented by his son 85-year-old Bill Giles, the honorary league president and former part owner of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Because pennants are made of felt you can easily create one yourself. Felt is made by matting, condensing, and pressing fibers together so there are no threads to fray or edges to turn under and hem. You can make a pennant without picking up a needle. So, whether you are rooting for your favorite sports team, speech team, marching band or class, you can be at the ready with a custom pennant to cheer them all on! RAH-RAH!