Did you get thrown off when the NFL decided to go with regular numbers, rather than Roman ones, for Super Bowl 50? Change is a scary thing.
But it's all good. Things will go back to normal in 2017, which is appropriate since Roman numerals are the perfect way to mark the passing of an event that bears a resemblance to those spectacles that went down centuries ago in the famed Colosseum.
The NFL decided to go with "50" this year because, according to NFL creative director Shandon Melvin (via the San Jose Mercury News), the league hates the letter L. There were serious design issues that sprang up the last time a Super Bowl had an "L" in it ... Super Bowl XL (or 40).
"L immediately brought up so many negative connotations," Melvin told the Mercury-News. The formation of an L with thumb and forefinger had become a universally accepted, derisive gesture for "Loser." And unlike most of the Roman system's other block numerals, L had such a vertical shape it nearly disappeared into the equally upright Lombardi Trophy, awarded to the winning team every year.
"It's very asymmetrical," Melvin went on. "And three-quarters of the letter is negative space. It's like, what do you do with this thing to make it look attractive? I'll take an X any day of the week. Or any other letter for that matter."
Wow, it's amazing how much thought goes into something like this. And even though 2017's Super Bowl LI will still feature the letter in question, the league apparently doesn't have a problem with it. So, it's back to the Roman numerals for them!
"They're part of us," Melvin said. "Such a strong icon for the game. We just wanted to do something a little different for once."
Huh, OK then!