The NFL began planning celebrations for Super Bowl 50 as far back as 2012—the golden anniversary of the game, there’s no reason to doubt it’s slated to be the most unique, and glamorous, of all the game’s ever played. There couldn’t be a more fine location—but be warned, the tracking shots you’ll see on TV of the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge and Jack London Square are about an hour up the road from Santa Clara where the 49ers shiny new football palace is housed.
The NFL had a decision to make while considering branding for this year’s big game—traditionally, Super Bowl logos are littered with Roman numerals. The numeral for 50 is “L,” and back on that 2012 day, the league realized their flagship event could end up as an eye sore.
“The thought of this had been looming for many years,” NFL Creative Director Shandon Melvin said.
The usage of Roman numerals was adopted in 1971 during Super Bowl V, however, this season, the NFL chose to go the non-traditional approach and use Arabic numerals—but only for Super Bowl 50, next season, Super Bowl LI will resume the tradition in Houston. The departure of Roman numerals, in favor of a simple “5” and “0,” are, in my opinion, just as tasteful as in years previous.
The design of the trophy might have changed for one year, but the jeweler has not; Tiffany remains the official crafter of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and the subtle changes which were implemented for Super Bowl 50. Five sets of the “5″ and “0″ were cast in bronze, gold-plated, hand-polished and then hand-finished for a radiant golden shine. “The bronze has a warmer color, but it was important to us to have that very clean, very yellow gold color….They are viewed more as sculptures than trophies,” said Victoria Wirth Reynolds, group director of business sales at Tiffany & Co.
The entire process of implementing change in a system almost hellbent against it, was mentally nerve-wracking, Melvin said. “Not knowing how the commissioner felt about it, we did equal amount of work developing the best looking Super Bowl L logo you can imagine,” he said.
When the trophy in its entirety—as shown in the images above—was presented to league executives, including commissioner Roger Goodell, the decision was unanimous.
The 50 in the trophy is plated with 18-karat gold, and has inspired a spur of changes throughout the league, including the installation of a gold NFL crest at midfield of every stadium this season. In the spirit, the celebration was brought off the field; Nike’s signature SB50 products will surely dent the wallets of Panthers and Broncos fans worldwide.
When you are standing outside of Levi’s Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday, be sure to snap a picture beside the gold “50” logo—each number weighs 1,600 lbs.
David Barclay is an NFL Insider for byteclay.com. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DJamesIII