Super Bowl L…so does that mean the losers are actually the winners?

Yes it has been a couple weeks since the Super Bowl but I just can’t help that football is always on my mind.  Because of this, I ran across an article in The Wall Street Journal that really caught my attention.  Now normally you would think of a 50th anniversary as being epic and huge celebration or achievement but for the Super Bowl, the 50th anniversary is causing more problems than joy at this point.  For years Roman numerals have become iconically linked to the Super Bowl adding to its uniqueness and mystery but these lovely little numerals are causing the NFL big time woes when it comes to the biggest game of them all…the Super Bowl’s 50th game.

Now you may be asking yourself, “What Roman numeral could cause so much trouble for the NFL that they would even think of getting rid of the Roman numerals altogether?”  Well it’s probably the only Roman numeral that can do the trick because the Roman numeral that correlates with 50 is none other than a big fat “L”.  Yes that’s right “L” as in the same “L” that has been come to mean loser over the several years.  Now how in the world is that going to work for one of the biggest games of the year let alone the century?  This is what the NFL is trying to figure out.

Thankfully the NFL realizes this marketing fiasco long before it is set to be played because the 50th game is still 4 years away giving them enough time to figure this whole loser of a situation out.  Some people could say, “So what if they use an L?  It’s part of the Super Bowl tradition to use the Roman numerals.”  But these people aren’t the ones who are going to have to sell thousands upon thousands of t-shirts and paraphernalia with the words “Super Bowl L” plastered all over them.  How in the world is the winning team going to put on a t-shirt that has a big L on it right after they won the biggest game of the year?  That probably wouldn’t sit to well with them because I know I wouldn’t want a t-shirt with a big L on it.  Here’s a taste of what we could be seeing thanks to Bob’s Blitz

So what’s the league going to do?  Well, that’s what up for debate right now.  Some have said get rid of the Roman numerals altogether.  Bob Dorfman of Baker Street Advertising suggested to switch over to Arabic numerals.  That’s not going to happen in my opinion but to each his own I guess.  Others have said they may try to somehow incorporate it and sell it as being the largest Super Bowl ever.  Another idea suggests choosing a host city in which they can incorporate the infamous “L” into.  There are even talks of the game possibly being held in London, England and incorporating the “L” into that according to CBS News.  As to what they decide upon, only the future will tell.

Personally, I think they should just get rid of the numerals for that year or figure out a way to incorporate them into the host city.  I don’t think they’ll be able to sell merchandise with a big fat “L” all over them but I could be wrong.  I’m very interested to see what they end up deciding because this decision could almost be a make or break one since the popularity of the Super Bowl keeps going up every year.  London would be a very unique and out-of-the-box venue but the British don’t appreciate football like we do since their football is our soccer making the games popularity over there questionable.  Seems like the NFL has a very “L”arge issue to handle…

Here’s a little tasting of other awkward years correlated to Roman numerals…

Awkward Numerals

Past and future Super Bowls

IV (1970)

XXX (1996)

XXXVIII (2004)

L (2016)

LIX (2025)

C (2066)

DI (2513)

MD (3466)

And just a look back at what they’ve done in the past for logos…

Evolution of the Logo


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