Why Not Super Bowl Saturday?
Sunday, once the Lord's day, now belongs to football in America, from Labor Day till the Super Bowl. But in recent years the case has been made, with varying levels of seriousness, that NFL fans and indeed the whole country would be better served by playing the championship game on Saturday, 24 hours further removed from the start of the workweek. And partisans of Super Saturday, so far a lost cause, might take encouragement from the NFL's professed flexibility this year: with the big game taking place outdoors in a cold-weather city for the first time, the league has said that Super Bowl XLVIII could be played anytime between Friday, January 31 and Monday, February 3, if conditions at MetLife Stadium call for a change. (The forecast for Sunday looks unthreatening right now.)
With Super Bowl Sunday having attained near-religious significance on the national calendar, what's the reasoning of such heretics as the makers of MoveTheBigGame.com?
"The chief business of the American people is business," Calvin Coolidge told us, and the case for a Saturday Super Bowl rests mostly on this notion. The purported toll of lost productivity due to the game is legendary: according to a highly cited report from 2007 , distracted "Super Bowl slackers cost $820 million a week," and 1.5 million is the estimated number of sick days taken on the Monday after. (Another 4.4 million workers are said to come in late.) Shift forward by one day the coma-like aftereffects of big-game quantities of beer and snacks, and you'd practically stimulate the economy.
So that's the case to make to the captains of industry; what about football fans, who presumably enjoy stealing time from work to read analysis or discuss memorable plays? A Saturday game could enable more raucous Super Bowl parties, uninhibited by the melancholy that pervades Sunday evenings (especially in winter). On the other hand, the passive, slothful nature of watching football is perhaps better suited to the proverbial laziest day of the week, Saturday being a time for recreations that at least require getting out of the house.
And whatever the macroeconomic effects, local businesses in the the host city would seem to favor keeping the status quo. Former NFL senior vice president of special events Jim Steeg, who worked on 26 Super Bowls, told Sports Illustrated in 2011 that most spectators "come in Friday and go home Monday morning. I remember seeing a study a couple of years ago that the average length of a stay at a Super Bowl was 3.3 days. So people pay for four days and stay for three. So if you switched it to a Saturday, that one less day could decrease revenue, which might not be good the local community."