As the players take the field in NRG Stadium in Houston for Super Bowl LI, what happens in the millions of homes and bars across America is almost as big a deal as the action on the gridiron. Super Bowl Sunday has morphed into one of the biggest party days of the year despite the fact that most people have to go to work the next day, and that is becoming an increasing problem for the workers and their employers.
It is estimated that approximately 16 million people stayed home from work on the day after last year’s Super Bowl, and millions more went into work late or could not function at a normal level while doing their jobs. With projections for even higher absenteeism this year after the game, it may be time for the National Football League to make a necessary and compelling change – moving the game to Saturday.
There has been a call by Kraft Heinz to create a national holiday on the day after the Super Bowl called Smunday. To illustrate the seriousness about this idea, Heinz has not only circulated a petition to create this holiday but has given all of its workers the day off. While it is commendable that Heinz is actually putting its money where its mouth is by giving its employees off, it is ludicrous to suggest that a national holiday should be created because of a sporting event. Going by this logic, would we then have to give people off after every major sporting event?
Moving the game to Saturday is a simple and obvious solution that would be best course of action for the fans and does not affect the players or the NFL adversely. Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest and most lucrative sporting event of the year, and nothing much will change by moving the game to Saturday.
According to a report in Time Magazine, on Super Bowl Sunday Americans will spend $48 million on take-out (with pizza being the most ordered item), consume 1.3 million chicken wings, and wash it all down with 350 million gallons of beer. With this kind of intake of spicy food and alcohol, there is little wonder why the absentee rate is so high the next day.
Getting the next day off at the cost of creating a national holiday – which means employers will be expected to pay their workers because of the carousing and over indulging the day before – is an unreasonable financial burden. It also means closing schools across the country. Can we honestly say that children should be given a day off because adults do not know how to control themselves while watching a football game?
Reality and history indicate that people are not going to stop throwing these game parties and eating and drinking too much. Since human nature is what it is, the pattern will continue and people will call in sick the day after the game. Super Bowl Saturday is the easiest way to solve the problem – no national holiday, no kids missing school, and no rampant absenteeism at work.
The NFL will still have its big money day, employers won’t be affected adversely, and millions of fans will be infinitely happier knowing that they can sleep late the next day, take their antacids and aspirins, and recover from the biggest party of the year. Super Bowl Saturday is win-win for everybody. Okay, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, it’s your move.