There’s plenty of hype and anticipation for Super Bowl Sunday, which matches the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. But the Monday after the big game can feel like a letdown – whether you had a team to pull for in the event or not.
Over the years, many have had a game plan of making the Monday after the event a national holiday, handing off a three-day weekend to football fans.
That would also benefit children and teens who want to watch the game – and the commercials, of course – even though it could push up against bedtime on a school night.
For that reason, some Philadelphia and Phillly-area schools are delaying the start of school Monday for two hours. Last year, Cincinnati Public Schools and some Cincinnati-area school districts canceled classes the day after the game.
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The move makes some sense, said Martin Conway, an adjunct professor in the sport industry management program at Georgetown University. ‘While it hasn’t risen to the official status of a national holiday, there has been research done to conclude that it is one of the most ‘unproductive’ days on the calendar,’ he said.
42% of U.S. employees said the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday, according to a survey of more than 1,200 Americans, conducted Jan. 26-30, 2023 by The Harris Poll for The Workforce Institute at UKG.Nearly 19 million people suggested they might call in sick on Super Bowl Monday.More than 26 million American workers said they are likely to miss at least some work on Super Bowl Monday.The estimated lost productivity for absent and distracted workers on Super Bowl Monday is $6.5 billion, outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas said last year.
Do fans want the day off after Super Bowl?
Back in 2014, Budweiser, with the help of Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith, supported a White House petition to make Major League Baseball’s opening day a national holiday. The Biden administration has not kept the ‘We the People’ petition feature up and running – could it be because of this very reason?
Nearly half of U.S. sports fans would give up one of their current work holidays to have the day off after Super Bowl Sunday, a survey from 2020 found. More than 40% said they would rather work Presidents Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day or Columbus Day than the Monday after the Super Bowl.About 10% said they would even prefer working Christmas or Thanksgiving.
Looking for more signs of love for a prolonged Super Bowl weekend? Change.org, a different petition site, has gotten more than two dozen petitions since 2017 asking Congress, the president or the NFL to make the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday. One wants Presidents Day moved to the day after the Super Bowl and others suggest no school the day after the game.
What would it take to make Super Bowl Monday a holiday?
Congress and the president, over the years, have enacted 12 federal holidays, including New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Christmas, and most recently, Juneteenth. In June 2021, Congress passed a bill making June 19 a federal holiday commemorating the symbolic end of slavery in the United States and President Joe Biden signed the bill.
Even though these are considered federal holidays, they are not ‘national holidays,’ and are only applicable to federal employees and the District of Columbia, notes a Congressional Research Service report updated in July 2021.
Each state gets to determine its legal holidays, the report states.
As an example, at least nine states have made Juneteenth an official paid holiday for state employees, while several other states have laws that make federal holidays a state holiday. But the majority of states may simply observe or recognize the holiday.
Two state legislators in Tennessee have proposed a bill making the first Monday after the Super Bowl into a legal holiday. With so many folks already taking the day off, ‘it is already kind of like a de facto holiday,’ Rep. Joe Towns, who co-sponsored the bill with state Sen. London Lamar, told USA TODAY. ‘People are not going in and they are calling in sick or taking a sick day, a rest day, a mental health day, whatever you want to call it.’
However, he notes, the holiday could eventually occur naturally if the NFL continues to expand its season. ‘If they extend the number of games they play, Presidents Day could end up being the holiday,’ Towns said.
That could be the most likely path for Super Bowl Monday to happen. Realistically, creating a Super Bowl Monday federal holiday faces plenty of hurdles, even if hospitality and leisure industries would get a bump around the celebration, said Columbia Business School professor and corporate strategy expert Rita McGrath.
‘The paid day off holidays tend to be very contentious, and it is extremely hard to get one through,’ she said. ‘It also diminishes the seriousness of other national holidays which are about truly pivotal people or events.’
And, realistically, the intensity of the interest is in several markets in the country –the cities from which the two teams come from, plus, a few other sports intense markets on the coasts and in states such as Florida and Texas, Conway said.
‘Today, for an event, or commemorating an individual, to rise to the level of national holiday status, I think there would need to more universal support around the country, which by about 12 noon the day after the game, that interest has dissipated,’ he said.
Well, how about the NFL move the game to Saturday? That way most would have Sunday off. There’s a petition for that, too.
A previous version of this story originally published in February 2022.
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.