Opinion: A Roman numeral-less Super Bowl? Say it isn’t so, NFL.

The Super Bowl logo as it was intended to be, with Roman numerals.
(Doug Mills / Associated Press)

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears: The NFL has gone too far this time.

That’s right, the grand poo-bahs of the National Football League are destroying a sacred tradition: They are dropping the Roman numeral designation from Super Bowl 50, which should be Super Bowl L but won’t be.

ESPN, naturally, was first out of the gate Wednesday with the news, but word quickly spread.

Here’s what ESPN reported:


“It’s a one-year break, said Jaime Weston, the league’s vice president of brand and creative, done simply because the ‘L’ isn’t as pleasing to the eye.

“ ‘When we developed the Super Bowl XL logo, that was the first time we looked at the letter L,’ Weston said. ‘Up until that point, we had only worked with X’s, V’s and I’s. And, at that moment, that’s when we started to wonder what will happen when we get to 50?’ ”

To which I can only say: What in the L is going on here?

Not pleasing to the eye? It’s an L, not a garbage dump. And since when does the NFL, land of the 350-pound linemen, care about looks? (Also, and somewhat beside the point, what about Elle MacPherson, who has not one but two L’s in her name and is most certainly pleasing to the eye?)

Anyway, this gets mighty close to sacrilege. After all, in the beginning, God (in the form of the NFL) created Super Bowl I. Not Super Bowl 1. Or Super Bowl One. No, like Caesar’s time, it was “I.”

And because it was the NFL, we all went out and brushed up on our Roman numerals. We figured out Super Bowl XXXVII, Super Bowl XXXIX, even Super Bowl XLII (wait, what’s that L doing in there?).

And now it’s “Oh well, what’s one year with no Roman numeral”?

I don’t think so.

You can change the way you call pass interference. You can outlaw hits to the head. You can let teams field rosters filled with miscreants of all sorts. You can make us listen to Jerry Jones prattle on about the Cowboys, who haven’t been good in a decade. You can stretch out the games with endless instant replays and commercials and the like.


But you take away those Roman numerals and you strip away the whole veneer of “super” surrounding the Super Bowl. Heck, it might as well be just one of those dopey soccer World Cup games!

No, NFL, this is bush-league. It’s bad. It’s wrong. I don’t care what you’ve spent on the new logo. We don’t want Super Bowl 50. We want Super Bowl L.

So you’ve been warned, NFL: Change that logo.

Otherwise, I’m afraid, it’s beware the Ides of Marching fans.