Let’s face it: We are all looking forward to Super Sunday. It doesn’t matter if you are a Colts fan, a Saints fan, or a supporter of one of the 30 other teams that didn’t make it this far. Heck, it doesn’t even matter if you know what N.F.L. stands for. How many non-football fans will be watching the game with you this Sunday?
You know who they are; talking during key points in the game and asking simple questions. You’ll grit your teeth, roll your eyes and bear it. How many people will tune in for the spectacle alone; for the singing of the national anthem, the halftime show, and the new commercials? I’d venture to say a large portion of that demographic wouldn’t recognize Peyton Manning if they passed him on the street. They remember the “bud bowls”, but not the games played in between them.
I don’t point this out to belittle these people, nor do I intend to start a program for remedial football 101 at University of Phoenix.
I am simply pointing to these self-evident facts as proof positive that football in general, and the Super Bowl in particular, has transcended the status as a simple game and has secured higher ground in our national consciousness. It is not our national pastime. It is our national passion, our obsession, our fixation. And the Super Bowl is its pinnacle event.
What other sport can compare? The MLB? Please. It’s been dying for decades. The NBA? Not a chance. The NHL? Lucky to be alive. None of them come close. None of them choose their champion on one day. The NFL is the only professional sport that can provide the kind of drama and pure, undiluted emotion that we hunger for and the Super Bowl is the most dramatic, most emotional, most awe-inspiring thing the NFL has to offer.
And so, this Sunday millions (perhaps billions) will huddle around Hi-def flat screens and grainy cathode ray tube televisions throughout the world. America, the richest and most powerful of nations, will stand still. Time will stop on Maple Street for 3 hours. If there was ever a perfect time for a terrorist attack, a communist coup, or an alien invasion, it’s Sunday around 6:00 PM. No one would even find out until late Monday some time, after the game, and the commercials and post-game season premiers have been discussed at length. It would only be discovered after the party food was critiqued, the hangovers medicated, and the halftime show choreography reviewed.
By then the evil emperor of the army of planet Zorg would have his 12-toed feet up on the desk in the oval office.
Go ahead. Laugh. I may sound like Rod Serling, but you know it’s true.
Therefore, I offer one simple suggestion: Make Super Bowl Monday a national holiday.
No one wants to go to work anyway. Between the parties, the food and the drink, a post game recovery period is required. After daylong pre-game shows, the national anthem complete with jet flyovers, the halftime show, the post-game interviews and reports, the commercials, and, oh yeah, the game, no one has the strength for work a few short hours later. Simply too much sensory overload.
Now I know some of you will call me a crazy old coot; a fool that takes this child’s game played by grown and overpaid men way too seriously. In response, my only defense is “Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.” You know you say the same thing every year. “Man I wish I had tomorrow off.” Maybe you even do it.
The fact is that the Monday after the Super Bowl is known throughout all businesses and industries as an uncommonly popular “sick day”. They call it “Super Bowl-itis.” MSNBC recently reported that roughly 17% of the American workforce will miss work Monday. In addition, those that have the fortitude to make it in will provide less than ½ their normal productivity, costing the economy millions.
So why should we lie to ourselves? I’m just being a realist. Let’s call a spade a spade. Call it “Valentine’s Day for the dudes”, or “All Commissioners Day” or the “National day of mourning for the end of football.” I don’t care how we label it or what we call it. Just make it happen.
If you are reading this, President Obama and the Congress, I beg you to fast-track this bill through now. Forget such minor and inconsequential issues as national healthcare, foreign policy, and the budget deficit. Who cares about that stuff? Make some real, appreciable change. Do something that unites and not divides! Reach across the aisle! Let us recover from a football induced stupor! Make Super Bowl Monday our next national holiday!