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Why does NFL use Roman numerals for SB games?

We look at the NFL’s reasoning for using Roman numerals instead of standard Arabic numerals when referring to Super Bowls.

Detailed view of the Super Bowl logo on an official Wilson NFL football on the field during the Kansas City Chiefs game against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off on Sunday, February 7th in Super Bowl 55. The 2021 version of the game is also commonly known as Super Bowl LV, continuing the annual tradition of the NFL using Roman numerals to number the Super Bowl. The NFL has actually offered an explanation for why they use Roman numerals and how long they’ve been in use.

Why does the NFL use Roman numerals?

The Super Bowl uses Roman numerals to clarify a game that is played in the calendar year following the regular season. The Kansas City Chiefs won the 2020 Super Bowl, which crowned the champion of the 2019 season. The winner of the Bucs vs. Chiefs in the 2021 Super Bowl will crown the champion of the 2020 season. Using the Roman numerals is meant to offer some clarity.

When did the NFL start using Roman numerals?

The NFL record book refers to all previous 54 Super Bowls using Roman numerals, but the first use was for Super Bowl V. That game saw the Dallas Cowboys beat the Baltimore Colts 13-10 and linebacker Chuck Howley became the first defensive player to win Super Bowl MVP.

The league added numerals I through IV after the fact.

What Roman numeral is this year’s Super Bowl?

The Chiefs and Bucs are facing off in Super Bowl 55, which is LV in Roman numerals.