PHOENIX – Last week a pair of Tennessee lawmakers proposed a bill to make the Monday after the Super Bowl a holiday.
The theory is that the Super Bowl is already an unofficial American holiday. Since people like to spend the holidays with family and friends (sometimes that require travel), why not make it a long weekend like Thanksgiving or the 4th of July? And at the Super Bowl in particular, many watch the game at a party and tend to go overboard.
So why not ask the state of Tennessee to acknowledge the above with a travel/recovery day?
“With more than 16 million Americans expected to skip work the day after the Super Bowl and about 8 million expected to take the day off early, we’re talking a major hit for the workforce,” said Joe Towns Jr. he said in a statement to Yahoo Sports.
“My bill simply wants to look into giving all of us the day off,” Towns said. “Let’s face it, it doesn’t get much more American than the Super Bowl and it’s becoming more and more the norm to lose your job the next day.”
Who knows if it will pass. And even if it did, who knows if most private employers will honor it, which would limit the impact. A post-Super Bowl day off has periodically been given in local markets: Last year, a number of Cincinnati-area public schools gave children the day off after the Bengals played in the game.
Tennessee is just a state, of course, and the Super Bowl is a national phenomenon no matter who’s playing. More than 100 million Americans are estimated to watch the Fox broadcast on Sunday. To cover everyone, we would probably need federal legislation.
The simplest thing to do is have the NFL move the Super Bowl from its traditional Sunday 6:30 p.m. ET kickoff to a similar time on Saturday, allowing fans to travel/catch up on a day they’re already free . There is a petition on change.org calling for just that with nearly 150,000 signatures.
The Super Bowl has always been played on a Sunday. The day made sense in 1966 because all NFL games were played on a Sunday. In 1970, however, Monday Night Football premiered, and regular season games are now also played on Thursdays and Saturdays. Playoff games this year were set up on Saturdays, Sundays, and even one on Mondays.
So does the championship still have to stick to Sunday?
“That [idea] it’s been around for a long time, people have been talking about it,” Roger Goodell said in 2018 on the Kyle Brandt podcast. “The reason we haven’t done it in the past is simply from an audience perspective. The audience on Sunday Night is much larger. Fans want to have the best opportunity to watch the game and we want to give them that, so Sunday night is a better night.”
It’s really true? The NFL gets better ratings for games played on Sunday nights than they do on Saturday nights, which makes sense since people have other entertainment plans on Saturdays. However, if the Super cup it’s played on a Saturday night, wouldn’t that replace pretty much everything else? The Super Bowl can’t make it past the day of the week? I could Moreover do people even end up watching?
“Look, you can play the Super Bowl at 3 a.m. on Tuesday and 80 million people will watch,” said Mike Mulvihill, executive vice president and head of strategy and analytics for Fox Sports, which is broadcasting the game this year.
That doesn’t mean Mulvihill is for it. Like others, he loves the history and lore of the day.
“The Super Bowl is more than a sporting event, it’s an American holiday,” Mulvihill said. “You don’t move Independence Day from July 4th, you don’t move Christmas from 12/25. I don’t think you move the Super Bowl to Sunday. It’s what we’ve had our whole life, everyone is comfortable with it.
Mulvihill is not alone in that thought. “I think he’s crazy,” said Fox Sports CEO Eric Shanks. “The Super Bowl should only be Sunday.”
There is no known movement by the NFL to consider playing Saturday instead of Sunday.
And considering what a phenomenon it already is, why mess with success? Taking away the Saturdays of construction and festivities would likely cost the host city revenue. And while you may sympathize with the plight of those who can’t answer the bell on Monday because they ate too many wings or drank too much beer, do they really deserve a federal law or the abandonment of nearly six decades of tradition?
Plus, the idea of a Saturday night Super Bowl brings with it some exciting possibilities. Kickoff could be delayed by about an hour if the league wanted it. Parties can go later. The possibility of traveling to spend time with family and friends may be open. New traditions can be created.
The NFL is the largest entertainment property in the country. In 2022, it delivered 47 of the year’s top 50 rated TV shows. Add in the halftime show, gambling, and commercials and that’s modern America in a four-hour package.
Perhaps this deserves to have a holiday attached. Or perhaps rather than relying on the political process, the NFL – which will break any tradition in pursuit of a few more cash – could reevaluate the whole thing.
Super Sunday was the perfect choice in 1966. By 2023, maybe not.
Maybe Saturday is worth a try.