Super Bowl Sunday's date gets a rare palindrome not seen in 909 years

For number lovers, 02-02-2020 is a great date.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs will face off in Sunday's Super Bowl, which this year falls on a special day for numbers lovers. 

Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Sunday is a special day in numerous ways. It's Super Bowl Sunday, with the San Francisco 49ers taking on the Kansas City Chiefs. It's Groundhog Day, where a furry rodent tries to predict the weather. And it's an especially fun day for anyone fascinated with numbers. Sunday's date, 02-02-2020, is a palindrome, because its digits read the same forward and backwards.

There hasn't been an eight-digit palindrome like this one since 11-11-1111, 909 years ago, professor and palindrome fan Aziz Inan told The Washington Post. There was a slightly different eight-digit palindrome on Nov. 2, 2011 (11-02-2011), but while that date was a palindrome in the US, where dates are expressed as month/day/year, it didn't translate to one in countries that use the day/month/year system.

It's unlikely many people alive on Sunday will see the next palindrome of this type, which will arrive in 101 years, on 12-12-2121. But those who use the month/day/year/system will get one in that format on December 2, 2021, which is 12-02-2021.

In 2019, there was a whole Palindrome Week, beginning with 9-10-19 and continuing on through 9-19-19. But that wasn't an eight-digit palindrome -- you had to shorten the year to two digits and not use a zero in front of the month to pull that off.

Originally published Feb. 1.