Super Bowl Pup Asks, "Ever Heard of the All-American Football Conference?"

Next Sunday is Super Bowl XLVII.  How many of us know what “XLVII” is?  Are Roman numerals still taught in schools?  Once schools taught Latin and the Roman numbering system.  When my kids attended school, Latin no longer was offered.  I did not pay attention to whether the curriculum included Roman numbering.

Maybe the NFL can donate a gadzillion dollars to public education towards teaching Latin (the root for all Romance languages and much of English) and the Roman numbering system (the root of the metric system).  Maybe some of that gadzillion dollars could be spent on improving the quality of public education.  After all, that would be a small price to pay given that our universities provide the NFL’s minor league system. 

Of course, some “America First” organizations probably would object to any money being spent on learning something that might contribute to our understanding anything foreign or that dreaded metric system used by “Euros.”  Those objections would make the debate, which actually found traction on the floor of the House of Representatives, over whether French fries should be called “French fries” look like a tempest in a teapot.  Oh, yeah, that is what it really was.  But we should never underestimate the potential for political grandstanding and xenophobia in our 24/7 cable “news” programming.

Another question for Super Bowl XLVII is whether you ever heard of the All-American Football Conference, which offered professional football between 1946 and 1949.

Super Bowl XLVII features the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.  The ‘Niners are SacTown’s favorite team.  They became part of the NFL in its merger with the All-American Football Conference in 1949.  Until the advent of the American Football League in 1960 and the Oakland Raiders, the 49ers were the only professional football team in Northern California.  Super Bowl XLVII is an opportunity for the ‘Niners’ sixth championship.

The Baltimore Ravens originally were the Cleveland Browns, which were moved to Baltimore in 1996.  The before-the-move-to-Baltimore Cleveland Browns also trace back to the All-American Football Conference.  They were the champions of that conference for all years during its existence.

Only three teams from the AAFC survived the merger with the NFL:  the 49ers, Browns, and, ironically, the Baltimore Colts.  So Super Bowl XLVII features two teams whose origins are not in the NFL.  It is the first Super Bowl to pit two former AAFC teams.

Surely, you will be bombarded with that factoid and more football history and trivia than you can bear in the lead up to Super Bowl XLVII.  If you watch enough television, you will learn what players eat for breakfast, which player is most demonstrative in expressing his religious beliefs, whether the coaches’ parents will watch the game, and, new to Super Bowl hype, which players support marriage equality and Gay rights.

Somewhere in the news cycle, you might even hear what “XLVII” is.

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    Copyright MMXIII.

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