Why Aren’t the Right Teams on the Cover?

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One of the most frequent questions or comments I get from my Twitter or Facebook feed, after posting a program cover, is something along the lines of, “Hey, the teams on the cover aren’t the ones playing!” This happens, of course, when the program in question shows some sort of game action shot of different teams than that day’s game. For example, here’s a program from a 1970 NFL contest between the Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals:

Green Bay Packers vs. Cincinnati Bengals (September 5, 1970)

This pretty clearly is a picture of a Packers vs. Vikings game, so why is it being used for a Packers vs. Bengals game? And why does this happen so often?

Well to be honest, the answer is “I don’t know.” I can make some guesses, however. Most likely, the person or department responsible for producing the covers just wants to find a good action shot and doesn’t care if the opponent matches. Or maybe they produce the covers in advance and don’t know what games they’ll be used for.

What I do know is that at least back in the day, this was a very common practice. It happened in college football, soccer, basketball, and hockey alike. So when you see it, don’t be alarmed. It’s just the way things are often done. Although as with many aspects of classic cover design, computers have rendered that mostly obsolete as well.