NEW YORK — A crowd of angry protesters gathered near NFL headquarters on Monday, demanding that the league halt its plan to adopt Arabic numerals in next year’s Super Bowl. The decision to ditch the long-standing tradition of using the more robust Roman numerals was made in a secret meeting last summer, so many fans are only now learning about the change that is slated for February, MMXVI.
Dressed like Roman centurions, members of a group calling itself the Fans Against Numeral Shift burned an effigy of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell while they chanted “sic semper tyrannis” and marched in loose formation.
“We’re here to stand up for MMC years of tradition,” said Patrick Engels, a Boston native who founded FANS last month. “For at least DCCC years, the West has been refusing to use Roman numerals because they don’t want to offend the Arabic world, and now the NFL is showing the same cowardice.”
Hoisting a Tom Brady jersey with the famed quarterback’s number XII, Engels, a lifelong New England fan, said that even if he is furious with the league, he is still going to watch this year’s Super Bowl.
“It’s going to be a tough contest, but the Pats will pull it off,” he said. “I’m predicting a final score of XXXV to XXIV, with Brady beating his Super Bowl passing record of CCCLIV yards, back in Super Bowl XXXVIII.”
Some protesters said that they were not opposed to Arabic numerals per se, but that they simply want to the league to continue honoring the estimated MMMMMMMMMM Latin-speaking NFL fans.
“What’s good enough for the gladiators ought to be good enough for the NFL,” said Brian Petterson, a high school Latin teacher from New Hampshire. “Quod severis metes. Let’s hope the NFL finds Roger Goodell outdated as well.”
And for other protesters, the wish to stay with Roman numerals is simply a matter of personal preference.
“I’ve been waiting my entire life for next year’s Super Bowl, because of my name,’” said Larry Lewandowski, a welder and amateur Latin enthusiast from Kansas. “But now I’ll never see Super Bowl L.”