Super Bowls and Roman NumeralsDid you know that Super Bowl I and II weren't officially branded as the "Super Bowl"? Those two games were officially known as the NFL-AFL Championship Game. Super Bowl III was the first championship game referred to by its trendy new moniker and the first Super Bowl to feature a Roman numeral was Super Bowl V.
I'm too young to remember professional football prior to the Super Bowl era. The first Super Bowl played during my lifetime was Super Bowl VIII. During that game, the Miami Dolphins completed their undefeated season by defeating the Minnesota Vikings 24-7. The NFL adopted Roman numerals to eliminate confusion. Championship games were no longer played in late-December. For example, the Chicago Bears finished 15-1 during the 1985 regular season, but they crushed the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XX in late-January 1986.
But will the NFL continue to use Roman numerals?
Tomorrow's game between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens is Super Bowl XLVII (47). Up until now, all of the Super Bowls featured assorted combinations of I, V and X. When the NFC and AFC champions match up in 2016, they'll be playing in the fiftieth Super Bowl.
Yes, Super Bowl L.
Does that look ridiculous? Honestly, I think the Super Bowl and Roman numerals jumped the shark and became comical when the New England Patriots edged the Carolina Panthers 32-29 on February 1, 2004 in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Let's review: three Xs, one V and three Is.
I understand that Major League Baseball begins and ends its regular season and postseason during the same calendar year. The Chicago White Sox started spring training is February 2005 and won the World Series in October 2005. But all of the other major sports split their season over the course two calendar years. In the NHL, when the Chicago Blackhawks won the 2010 Stanley Cup, they laced up their skates for the first time in October 2009. Same thing in the NBA. The Chicago Bulls won the 1991 NBA Finals and started playing in November 1990.
Will the NFL make a change? If not in time for Super Bowl L, I certainly hope so before Super Bowl LXXXVIII.