What the MCLXIX? RG3 first NFL player to wear Roman numerals
Yes, you've seen him with the "Griffin III" jersey hoisted up at the NFL Draft, and wearing the schoolbus yellow "Don't hit me!" quarterback jersey at the Redskins minicamp. But the Redskins have confirmed that Griffin will also wear a "Griffin III" jersey for this NFL season.
Uni Watch blogger Paul Lukas breaks the numeral news on ESPN, noting that this year is the first year in which NFL players can have Roman numerals or "Jr." associated with the names on the back of their jerseys.
You would assume someone would have had a "II" or a "III" on their jersey in the 91-year history of the NFL. In fact, they have not. While Roman numerals and "Jr." are permitted on jerseys in NCAA football and the other major sports leagues, the NFL has never allowed them.
Why the change this year? It might have something to do with Mr. Griffin III, a certain athletic shoe company, and sweet, sweet cash.
While Griffin's fellow Washington Redskin Roy Helu, Jr. is also getting some new generational title action on his jersey, Griffin is the primary beneficiary. Nike is the new jersey supplier for the NFL, and they are keenly aware of branding and its role in merchandise sales.
Griffin is also very keyed in to the use of "3" and "III" in his own personal branding. Griffin has applied for trademarks for the terms "RG3", "RGIII", and "Robert Griffin III". We can assume the young man plans on selling some t-shirts and apparel with this strategy.
There are apparently only two NFL players who are having generational titles added to their nameplates thus far. But there will probably be more as time goes on. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day.