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Why Roman numerals show up for the Super Bowl

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Super Bowl Forty-one is now just a week away and perhaps you haven't noticed it but once again the romans are involved in the big game. Just as in all previous Super Bowls, the game is designated not with the numbers we use in our every day lives, but instead with Roman numerals. ABC 7's Frank Mathie got to wondering why.

Roman numerals have been around for almost three thousand years and occasionally they are a timely but small part of our lives, until, of course, the Super Bowl comes along and the Roman numerals are everywhere.

Just in case you're wondering, i am L ... X ... V, and I'll let you figure that out. But why? Every time when we come up to an Olympics or a Super Bowl we start using those stupid Roman numerals. They don't make any sense.

"Well, I suppose, ah, Roman numbers have a certain grandeur to them. Both because they're foreign and they're associated with an ancient empire," said Prof. Clifford Ando, a University of Chicago Classics professor.

Ando is a classics professor at the University of Chicago where many of buildings date back to about M C M X X I X. It's where you can find answers as to why the Romans used this strange system of numbers. Maybe the numerals just look powerful. They're very Roman.

"The Super Bowl is the culminating event of the year. It's the biggest game of the year," Ando said.

So that's why we can't use our system with a wimpy four and one. The Roman Numerals just look more super.

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