Friday, January 28, 2011

Super Bowl What?

A week from Sunday, a good portion of America will pop the top on about a million cans of beer, eat enough artery clogging barbeque to stop the heart of a lion, and tune in Super Bowl XLV. Quick now, how many Super Bowls will that be? XLV, hmmm. Please tell me what genius decided to use Roman Numerals to count the Super Bowls? Whoever he is should be stoned to death on the fifty yard line.

What’s wrong with using the numbers that we’ve known since first grade? The only places I know of that still use Roman Numerals are crossword puzzles (Cato’s 154) and grandfather clocks, and even the clocks screw it up. Note that the number 4 is represented by IIII instead of the traditional IV. Why? Because someone thought that it made a better visual symmetry with the VIII on the other side of the face. Whassup with that? When did we start changing the numbers to make them look better?

“Hey, how about we take the number 8 and turn it on its side instead of it sticking straight up in the air like some sort of totem pole?”

“Dude, that is so totally awesome. I love the symmetry. Go for it!”

Roman Numerals come from Ancient Rome for pity sakes. What’s wrong with Modern Rome? Furthermore, Wikipedia tells us that Roman Numerals are a cousin to the Estruscan Numerals and that might explain the weirdness of it as we all know what crazy bastards the Etruscans were.

All right, let’s figure it out; X=10, L=50, and V=5. Logically you would add them all together and Super Bowl XLV would be game number 65, correct? Wrong Pigskin Breath. And speaking of logic, how about XXXX-V? Four tens and a five. Make sense? Nope, won’t do. Instead we are forced to do the math. Since the L is to the right of the X, and L means 50, that would make it…uh, hold on. Oh crap, who knows? You see how ridiculous this is? Imagine Ancient Rome when Artorius asks a gal at the Coliseum,

“Hey Baby, can I have your number?”

“Sure, it’s VVV-MMXI.”

Poor guy never did hook up.

Enough. Don’t forget the game, February VI.


  1. In addition to the impracticality of Roman Numerals, they were hampered by the fact that they had no zero.

    The symbol for zero only made it to the European mathematicians in about 800 AD, before that high school algebra was a real bitch.

    The concept of zero for math probably developed in the few hundred years BC period by the Mayans. They needed it for their calculations and especially for their calendar. The calendar, of course, states specifically that life as we know it will end 12-21-2012, I am not sure as to what time of day this will occur but it will likely hold off until we have at least had a nourishing breakfast.

    It is likely that events in the mid-East are warm-ups to the big Mayan event for-casted for 2012. These events are something like the football team warming up before the big championship game slated for 12-21-2012.

  2. I have never understood the use of Roman numerals these days. Looking forward to the Super Bowl? Not so much. Will definitely watch and assess the commercials. May even root for the Packers.

  3. I can tell you that we don't teach Roman Numerals in elementary school anymore. Maybe they're slowly being faded out??

  4. “Sure, it’s VVV-MMXI.”

    I love that! Great post, especially for the Sunday Spotlight, which is where I stumbled in here from. :)


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