The iconic Spartan helmet used by Michigan State for its sports teams has been named the best college sports logo in the country by the Athlon Sports web site.

It took MSU a while to get it perfect, as demonstrated by this history of the Spartan logo.

The MSU Spartan helmet bested such classic logos as the University of Texas longhorn and the interlocking Notre Dame 'ND', and even the long standing block 'M' of cross state rival Michigan, which finished 25th in the poll.

In naming the Spartans numero uno, Athlon praised its simplicity as well as its stoic appearance:

(The) Spartan helmet silhouette ranks supreme here because it’s everything you want in a logo: Striking but understated, strong but subtle and just all-around awesome. And after years of endlessly toying with the shade of green, Michigan State finally hit the jackpot.

About the Michigan block 'M', Athlon had this to say:

OK, it’s just a block “M.” But the color combination of maize and blue that makes Michigan’s football uniforms the best in the land also makes the school’s logo Top 25-worthy.

Michigan State has received quite a bit of acclaim for their logo and mascot, who won the Best Big Ten mascot honor from ESPN earlier this year.

While Michigan's block 'M' has been a symbol of their school since day one, the Spartans have tinkered with their logo over the years.

The current Spartan helmet logo first appeared in 1977 on their football helmets. Yup, that's Detroit Tiger baseball legend Kurt Gibson on the left (number 23) when he played wide receiver for the Spartans.

MSU Archives

Earlier, in the late '60s and early '70s, the Spartan logo was more of a side view of a Spartan soldier:

MSU Archives

Under Coach George Perles in the 1980, the team went with a block 'S' look, which also became the main logo for the school:

Getty Images

The Spartans alternated between the block 'S' and the Spartan helmet through the '90s and early '00s before returning to the Spartan helemt full time in 2003.

Michigan State University

Here's a pretty look at the helmets worn by MSU over the years.