The Real Reason Why the Super Bowl Uses Roman Numerals
At some point in my childhood, I may have learned about Roman numerals in school, but I can't say for sure.
The truth is, I don't remember learning about it in academia.
I learned Roman numerals from the Super Bowl.
Take, for instance, Super Bowl 44.
When the New Orleans Saints played in and won their only Super Bowl, the Super Bowl XLIV logo became embedded in my head forever.
I'll never forget it.
When I think back to other Super Bowls growing up, I remember the design of each logo, along with the Roman numbers.
It gets a little fuzzy after Super Bowl XLIV.
I discovered why thanks to Chris Vannini.
Why did the Super Bowl ever get away from the unique logos?
One thing the NFL has never gotten away from is using the Roman numerals. So why exactly do they do it?
Why does the NFL use Roman numerals for each Super Bowl?
According to Mia Zanzucchi of NBC Sports, it goes back to the AFL/NFL merger in 1970.
When the best teams in the league faced off in the Super Bowl, it was taking place in a different calendar year than what the season was designated.
For example, the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV on February 7th, 2010. However, they are the 2009 NFL Champions.
Owners needed to designate a number for the Super Bowl, rather than the calendar year like other sports do.
The Atlanta Braves won MLB's World Series last year, but does anyone know what World Series it was?
They are referred to as the 2021 World Series Champions, not World Series 117 champions, or if they used Roman numbers, World Series CXVII champs.
AFL and Kansas City Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt first made the suggestion to other owners to use Roman numbers rather than traditional numbers because it added more authoritative gravitas to the league's biggest game.
Mr. Hunt was right.
The first Super Bowl took place on January 15, 1967, as the Green Bay Packers became the 1966 NFL Champions.
The NFL Merger came 4 years later, and with it, Roman numerals.
Super Bowls one through four did not have a Roman numeral logo attached to it when it took place but were added retroactively once the league went to Roman numerals for Super Bowl V. (That's 5 for those who don't know Roman numerals)
Why is the championship game called the "Super Bowl"?
According to Zanzucchi, Hunt said his kids were playing with a toy dubbed "Super Ball" at the time, leading to his suggestion for Super Bowl.