Football jocks and classics nerds alike have reasons to be upset at the new logo unveiled by the NFL for the 50th Super Bowl. For the first time in recent memory, the logo for the 2016 game in San Francisco dropped the Roman numerals (which would have been a single L) in favor of the Arabic numerals 50. ESPN reports that the NFL’s branding team felt that the “L” wasn’t pleasing to the eye. Either that, or they didn’t want to put a big loser sign on all of their merchandise.
That’s a pretty weak reason to break with tradition, especially because the plan is to revert back to the old system for Super Bowl LI in 2017. The NFL’s use of Roman numerals has been a distinctive marketing quirk since Super Bowl V in 1971. The league even stuck with Roman numerals for Super Bowl XXX in 1996, despite those numerals’ racy connotation. If viewers are smart enough to decode Super Bowl XLVIII, then they can surely figure out that the “L” in Super Bowl L doesn’t stand for loser.