Q. Hi! I have a manuscript that mentions several Super Bowl games. I know AP style says pro football Super Bowls should be identified by the year, not the roman numerals (“1969 Super Bowl,” not “Super Bowl III”), but does Chicago have a guideline for the best way to identify the games? Is it wrong to use arabic numerals instead of roman? Thank you!
A. AP style makes sense for reporters, who often need to achieve clarity in the fewest possible words. And for those of us who haven’t memorized the chronological sequence of NFL championship games, “1969 Super Bowl” is more meaningful than “Super Bowl III.” However, both are correct, and you can use the latter when you’re not following AP style. As for the number, you could always refer to “the third Super Bowl,” but to reflect how the game is generally known, you wouldn’t write “Super Bowl 3”—in spite of what AP might say—any more than you would describe Joe Namath (the winning quarterback in that contest) as having worn number XII (or even number twelve) on his jersey. In other words, it’s Super Bowl III (and number 12).