For a single weekend every February, I regret not taking a Latin class at some point in my life. That weekend is Super Bowl weekend.

I regret not taking the class because every year when the big game comes around, I read the title and have no idea if it’s Super Bowl 14, Super Bowl 45 or Super Bowl 405.

This year, the big game is called Super Bowl LVIII, and it will feature the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs against the San Fransisco 49ers. It will be played on Feb. 11 at 4:30 p.m. MST in Las Vegas.

It should be a good game, and it’ll feature some local Utah talent. Also, Taylor Swift might be there. You can go too, if you’ve got around $9,800 to shell out.

But the most important question is, what is LVIII actually saying?

How to read Roman numerals

For those of you who would just like your fish, here you go: LVIII means 58. This year will be Super Bowl 58.

But for those of you who would like to learn to fish (and drop the Latin class regret like me and hopefully not be confused next year, too), this guide is for you.

Roman numerals are relatively simple to understand once you get the hang of it. These are what the symbols mean, according to the National Archives:

  • I = 1.
  • V = 5.
  • X = 10.
  • L = 50.
  • C = 100.
  • D = 500.
  • M = 1,000.

The basic rules are that if a smaller number (meaning a symbol that represents a smaller number) comes before a larger number, you subtract it. So IV would be I, meaning 1, before V, meaning 5. You subtract 1 from 5 and get 4. So IV means 4.

If a smaller number (once again meaning a symbol that represents a smaller number) comes after a larger number, then you add it. For example, with XV, you have X, which represents 10, and V, which represents 5. Add them together and you get 15. XV means 15.

The same adding rule is true for two of the same symbols in a row. XX, which is two symbols for 10, would be added together to mean 20.

Following these rules, you can figure out that Super Bowl LVIII means Super Bowl 58.

Why does the NFL use Roman numerals?

According to a media guide from Super Bowl XXXIX (39), “The Roman numerals were adopted to clarify any confusion that may occur because the NFL Championship Game —the Super Bowl — is played in the year following a chronologically recorded season.”

In other words, the unique name for the Super Bowl helps fans and commentators avoid some potential confusion (even if it introduces some new Roman numeral-related confusion.) Although the Chiefs won the Super Bowl last year in 2023, they technically won the 2022 championship, because that was the year during which nearly all of the season took place, according to SB Nation.