Roman numerals return for Super Bowl LI

HOUSTON (NEXSTAR MEDIA) — Super Bowl 51 takes place in Houston on Sunday and even though we say 51, it’s really Super Bowl LI.

The Super Bowl is going back to using roman numerals after the one year change for Super Bowl 50 in 2016 but why?

Super Bowl LI
The first NFL Super Bowl LI football sits in a bin with other balls to be stamped with the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons names at the Wilson Sporting Goods factory Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Ada, Ohio. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s Senior Vice President of Events, says they’re part of the allure of the Super Bowl.

“They obviously go back to the early days of the game and there is something powerful that resonates with fans,” O’Reilly said. “That connection, that makes it feel very special.”

The Super Bowl has used roman numerals every year since 1971, which was Super Bowl V.

The only exception was last year for Super Bowl 50.

O’Reilly said they made that choice because 50 was a powerful number.

“It was that golden year so we brought the ’50’ out. But we are committed to roman numerals,” O’Reilly said. “Our feedback from fans is stick with it, there is a strong sentiment that there is some nostalgia there so we’re keeping it alive.”

There’s plenty of Super Bowl nostalgia in Houston. The city has already hosted two Super Bowls, first in 1974 and again in 2004.

Ric Campo, Chairman of the Houston Host Committee, says the city is excited to be hosting the game again.

“It’s finally coming together and we really are excited about that,” Campo said. “Houstonians being able to showcase their city through the city of the future, the next 50 Super Bowls, taking us to Super Bowl 100, right?”

No. 100 would be Super Bowl C — unless the NFL decides to make another exception. They have 49 years to make that call.

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