Numeral Nuisance: NFL Concerned About Super Bowl 50, or ‘L’

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Jim Young / Reuters

Roman numeral decorations are set up as part of Super Bowl XLVI festivities in Indianapolis, Indiana January 30, 2012.

Tomorrow, we’ll be talking about the actual game of football. For now, we’re still in Super Bowl minutiae mode, wiling away the time until kick-off.

So, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, we learned about something that may be furrowing the brows of NFL branding execs: the league is concerned about 2016, when the Roman numeral representing the 50th anniversary of the game will be one solitary “L”. Like that hand-signal for “loser.”

(MORE: The 2012 Super Bowl By the Numbers)

It’s true. The league has weathered awkward symbols past (remember Super Bowl XXX?). But this time the newspaper reports that the “loser” hand-signal is so associated with “L” that “some brand experts believe the 50th Super Bowl might emphasize those pleasingly round Arabic numerals more than the traditional Roman ones.”

If the league doesn’t switch out the Roman numerals for normal-looking Arabic numerals, league spokesman Brian McCarthy suggested to The Journal that the L could stand for “learning” or “love.” Well, yes, sure.

But NewsFeed has other suggestions for how “L” could be interpreted for the 2016 game.

  • Longest: The anticipation for the event seems to drag on longer every year.
  • Luckiest: The league’s parity emphasis ensure that plenty of teams are able to compete.
  • Liveliest: It’s a generic term that could work well with advertisers.
  • Loudest: It sums up the feeling after the marathon Sunday evening.

Any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments.