Since the first Super Bowl (or should I say Super Bowl I) back in 1967, the NFL has used Roman numerals in its championship logo. For the 50th anniversary in 2016, though, it will break from tradition temporarily.
The NFL announced via Twitter Wednesday afternoon that the 2016 logo would feature Arabic numerals, rather than the Roman numeral “L” (see picture below).
According to league publications, the change will only apply to the 2016 game, meaning that next year’s 49th Super Bowl and 2017’s 51st Super Bowl will use Roman numerals. Apparently, the one-year change comes from fear that a standalone “L” would look too much like the abbreviation for a loss.
So far, the new logo has gotten mixed to favorable reviews. Some critics say that the NFL should stick with tradition. Still, an informal Today show poll on social media reports that 69 percent of people support the change.
Whether or not people support the change, the NFL’s move is a public relations win because it shows that not all logos are created equal. The NFL could have easily stuck with the same tradition it has used for years, without even thinking twice about the potential impact of the “L.” Even if the league had stayed with the “Super Bowl L” logo, it probably wouldn’t have caused a huge outcry or a PR crisis because, let’s be honest, it’s the NFL. The league has much more important issues right now (see: concussions) than the 2016 Super Bowl logo. Yet, it still took this seemingly minor detail seriously, and now it is being applauded for something that won’t even be relevant for another year and a half.
When it comes to branding, take a tip from the NFL and don’t just blindly go with tradition. Sometimes, a break from tradition can put you a step ahead of the game. And, as always, pay attention to the details.
Missed the last PR Win? Check it out here!