The NFL has been using Roman numerals to classify their Super Bowls since 1971. It’s no different in 2022, with Super Bowl LVI plastered all over social media feeds, TV screens, and promotional materials throughout Los Angeles.
You may be wondering, “what does LVI mean?” Well, you’re not alone. We’ll help identify why the NFL uses Roman numerals to categorize their Super Bowls and what they mean.
What number is the Super Bowl this year?
In 2022, the NFL will host Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California. In Roman numerals, LVI equals 56. That means this year’s Super Bowl is the 56th edition of the event.
Why does the NFL use Roman numerals for the Super Bowl?
Super Bowl 1 dates all the way back to 1966 when the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) merged their two leagues. The first four Super Bowls were just Super Bowl 1-4. Starting with Super Bowl 5, the league switched to using Roman numerals. Here’s why, from the NFL media guide:
“The Roman numerals were adopted to clarify any confusion that may occur because the NFL Championship Game — the Super Bowl — is played in the year following a chronologically recorded season. Numerals I through IV were added later for the first four Super Bowls.”
The Roman numeral system was put into place in the NFL to eliminate any confusion. Yet, here we were, confused.
However, it’s a great move since the Super Bowl takes place following the turn of the calendar year.
How do Super Bowl Roman numerals work?
The Roman numeral system is simple to understand as long as you can remember what each letter stands for. Below is a list of each letter and their value:
- I = 1
- V = 5
- X = 10
- L = 50
- C = 100
- D = 500
- M = 1,000
Super Bowl LVI can be depicted following the chart: L(50) + V(5) + I(1) = 56. You can follow it dating back to all the Super Bowls, except with Super Bowl 50.
Super Bowl 50 took place in 2016, putting a cap on the 2015 NFL season. If the NFL were to have followed the Roman numeral system, the game would’ve been marketed as Super Bowl L.
Instead, the league changed course and used Arabic numerals instead. Thus, it became Super Bowl XL. The next time the NFL will use any single letters, if they continue following the Roman numeral system, will be Super Bowls 100, 500, and 1,000.