NFL: It's Super Bowl 50, not L

ByDarren Rovell ESPN logo
Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Roman Empire has fallen.

The NFL announced on Wednesday that Super Bowl 50 will be graphically represented using standard Arabic numerals instead of Roman numerals, which the league has been using since Super Bowl V in 1971.

It's a one-year break, said Jaime Weston, the league's vice president of brand and creative, 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?"

Weston said her team has been working on the Super Bowl 50 logo since April 2013, having gone through 73 versions. At some point along the way, it was concluded that having the "L" stand alone didn't work.

The league has made two logos for the game, which will take place Feb. 7, 2016, at Levi's Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers. Both the national and regional logo feature the "50" in gold, serving to call attention to the game's golden anniversary as well as the game's location in the "Golden State."

The logos also feature the Lombardi Trophy, which has been part of the Super Bowl logo since 2010, when the league went to a more generic, standardized look. The regional logo includes Levi's Stadium as well as notable San Francisco landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower and the Transamerica Pyramid.

"We think what we have makes a very powerful statement for the NFL brand," Weston said.

As part of the final testing of the logos, including how the gold would play, the league looked at them on Wilson game footballs and even painted a logo on the playing surface at Candlestick Park last week.

Following the conclusion of Super Bowl XLIX, which will be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona on Feb. 1, 2015, the league will embark on a campaign to play up the 50th anniversary. The NFL will go back to using Roman numerals for Super Bowl LI in Houston in 2017.

The league started using the term "Super Bowl" for the third game in 1969. The league filed to trademark the term two months later.

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