They called it Super Bowl 50 so you’d forget the “L” stands for “lies”.
During this year’s Super Bowl pre-game ceremony, the broadcaster mentioned that the league was celebrating the “fiftieth anniversary of the Super Bowl”. As it happens, you can listen for yourself in the very first few seconds of these official NFL Super Bowl highlights:
And it’s not hard to understand why the man picked that word. After all, the NFL has been promoting Super Bowl L as the game’s “golden anniversary“. Just one problem: this wasn’t an anniversary, and even if it was, it wasn’t the fiftieth.
The most basic problem is that the NFL doesn’t seem to know what an anniversary is. OK, Google:
Other online dictionaries preserve the recurring theme: an anniversary marks the date on which a particular past event occurred. So one issue with calling this Super Bowl the golden anniversary — or, really, an anniversary of any kind — is that the first I (“one”) occurred on January 15. That means the anniversary actually took place over three weeks ago. Now, I’ve never celebrated one of my own, but I know enough to tell you with some confidence: overshooting an anniversary by three weeks does not typically go over well with the spousal unit.
The NFL also appears to have no earthly idea that the first Super Bowl took place on January 15, 1967. Dubbing Super Bowl L the 50th anniversary of anything is the kind of fuzzy math you might expect of a league suffering from a widespread CTE epidemic. I’m kind of lazy so let’s let an online anniversary calculator confirm:
And I’m not even sure what the motivation was here: The 49th anniversary took place in the 49ers stadium. The league could have had fun with numbers twice in a row, and they blew it.
Special shoutout to WZS for reminding me of the important detail I managed to leave out from the first draft of this post. In the immortal words of Rick Perry, “Oops.”