NFL Announces It Will Be Super Bowl 50, Not Super Bowl L

Super Bowl 50

When the NFC and AFC Champions meet in the not-yet-completed Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California on February 7, 2016, they won’t be playing in Super Bowl L,they’ll be playing in Super Bowl 50, but this change in the use of Arabic instead of Roman numerals for the first time since 1971 will only last one year:

The 50th Super Bowl in NFL history is set for 2016 in the San Francisco 49ers’ new Levi’s Stadium. The big milestone comes with a change in how the game will be presented.

The NFL announced Wednesday that it will be called Super Bowl 50, rather than Super Bowl L. This will be the firstSuper Bowl in over 40 years to not use Roman numerals. The league revealed that news, in addition to the official logos for the game on Wednesday. The national logo is to the right, and there is another regional logo. This will only be a one-time, one-year change away from using Roman numerals.

The NFL will return to Roman numerals for Super Bowl LI, slated for February 2017 at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

This issue has been talked about for some time, especially with the impending approach of the game’s 50th anniversary coming up. From a marketing point of view, I suppose it makes sense to make the change for what will not doubt be a very heavily hyped —- is there anything the NFL doesn’t hype, actually? — 50th anniversary Super Bowl. And the traditionalists will be happy with the return to the Roman numerals tradition the following year. Although they’ll have to deal with this issue again in 2066 for the 100th anniversary. Because Super Bowl C doesn’t seem right at all.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Tillman says:

    So this doesn’t have to do with the L standing in for “loser,” but with an inability to make a compelling logo?

  2. Jon Marcus says:

    Arabic numerals??! The terrorist have already won!!!!11!!!

  3. DrDaveT says:

    C’mon, this is the 21st Century, the Information Age. It should clearly be Superbowl #x032

  4. Moosebreath says:

    I think they wanted to avoid the impression that this one would merely be sized Large.

  5. Pinky says:

    If they can make a Jason X, we can handle a Super Bowl L. And sure, no one went to see Jason X, but that wasn’t because they didn’t understand it. They understood it perfectly, which is why they didn’t go. If they had shown up, that would be an argument against Roman numerals.

  6. al-Ameda says:

    I’m pretty sure that they (the NFL) realized one of two things:

    (1) The American viewing public – those under the age of 55 – thinks that the Roman Numeral “L” is Latin for “LOL”

    (2) The NFL was worried that the advertisers would conclude the “L” was an advertising tie-in to the Levi Company – as the game will be played at the new Levi Stadium in Santa Clara.

    The Super Bowl is bloated beached whale.

  7. Pinky says:

    @Pinky: Sure, a few people went to see Jason X expecting to see Denzel Washington starring in a Spike Lee joint, but they got what they deserved. I wonder how long it took them to figure out that something was wrong. “Huh. There’s more serial killing in space than I would have expected.”

  8. Tyrell says:

    I guess the NFL was worried about offending someone. People who are related to Romans ?

  9. Jeremy says:

    @al-Ameda: Or that some people might mistake it for a new Japanese manga.