Should Super Bowl Monday Be A National Holiday?

Does America deserve a day off today because we all stayed up late overindulging?

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Matt Yglesias suggests that the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday:

I’ll admit that I’m feeling a little sluggish this morning at work. I ate a bit more food last night than I normally eat, and it was less healthy than usual. I also drank more beer than is typical for a Sunday evening and got to bed a bit later than I normally would. And my suspicion is that I’m not alone. Consumption of snack food skyrockets on Super Bowl Sunday, as does beer-drinking, and, in the Eastern time zone at least, the tendency is to be out socializing at an unusually late hour for a Sunday.

So here I am at work doing my best, but realistically my best today probably isn’t up to par. And the situation would only be worse a bit up the road in the Baltimore or out in the Bay Area. And the solution seems obvious: Today should be a national holiday. Specifically, rather than observing President’s Day two weeks from today, we should observe it today.

Even if you’re not a football fan, there’s absolutely no downside to this, and the upside is considerable. The typical American does not, I think, adequately reflect on how convenient it is to have holiday schedules aligned with real-world social practices because they generally get their way automatically. If you’re Jewish, you know that it kind of sucks to have a major family observance (Passover) on a random spring day when it’s not convenient for people to be traveling, while the goyim ”conveniently” discover that schools and workplaces are all giving people time off right around Dec. 25. Mainstream Americans benefit from this arrangement, but it seems so “natural” that they don’t necessarily appreciate it. But it makes perfect sense. For any given quantity of national holidays, it’s hugely beneficial to align the holidays with real routines in people’s lives. Christmas is a big deal, so aligning the December holiday with it is a big win. The Super Bowl is not as big a deal as Christmas, but in terms of people’s lives, it’s a much bigger deal than George Washington’s birthday. There’s nothing in American social life specifically tied to mid-February that would be disrupted by shifting the day a bit earlier.

Well, on some level you can criticize Yglesias’s idea for yet further diminishing the historical place of President’s Day in the calendar. It started when Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday were replaced with the generic third-Monday-in-February holiday that it is today. Taking that day and moving it to the first Monday in February would further separate the holiday from it’s historical meaning. Of course, it’s not as if President’s Day serves as some great opportunity to reflect upon the 43 men who have been President of the United States. Assuming people even do have the day off, which is by no means certain for anyone not working for the a government entity, it’s usually just treated as an extension of the weekend, and retailers use it as an opportunity to sell, among other things, mattresses and automobiles. So, I’m not what we’d be missing by moving President’s Day to the beginning of the month.

The problem with Ygelasis’ proposal, though, isn’t what it does to President’s Day but the fact that it’s being proposed for what is, ultimately, a frivolous reason. Essentially, we’re being told we need to create a new holiday because a lot of people stayed up late last night, ate more food than they usually do, and likely drank more alcohol than they otherwise would. While I’m sympathetic to those people running around today with little sleep and possibly a bit of a hangover, that doesn’t strike me as a good enough reason to make a change to our calendar. Last night’s game ended just after 10;30pm Eastern time, and it would ended even earlier had it not been for the 34 minute delay caused by the power outage at the Superdome. For anyone outside the East Coast, this strikes me as more than a reasonable hour at which to retire. Heck, for people on the West Coast, the came ended around the time most people normally eat dinner (and in Hawaii it ended in the late afternoon). How, exactly, is this such an egregious burden for American workers that we must create a holiday dedicated to the idea of overindulgence and lack of sleep? Seems rather silly to me. Of course, it would be the perfect metaphor for what our lifestyles have largely become.

One final note comes to mind. We live in a nation of some 310 million people. The Super Bowl was viewed by about 110 million people more or less, do we really need to be making policy changes based on making the lives of one-third of the population a little more convenient?

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture, Sports
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. do we really need to be making policy changes based on making the lives of one-third of the population a little more convenient?

    Short answer…no. Plenty of people were able to enjoy the Super Bowl without being hung-over or tired. I’m one of them.

    Matt Yglesias is a talented young man, but this is just the latest in a long line of his weird ideas. Where’s the dislike button?

  2. Argon says:

    The next national holiday created should be election day. In fact, that’s when Main Luther King should be recognized.

  3. Mikey says:

    One of the friends we had over to watch the game pointed out that Superbowl Sunday already has all the trappings of a holiday: gathering of friends/family, consumption of “special” foods and drinks, specific rituals, and so on. That doesn’t mean it should be an “official” holiday, though.

    When I was stationed in Germany, we’d come in late the Monday following the Superbowl, because the game starts at 12:30 AM over there.

  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Is that an Onion story?

    Speaking of which, as the U.S. continues its grisly decline into de facto banana republic status I do expect to see and hear from the inexperienced and airheaded liberals who make up the media-academe cabal various faux missives in which they pontificate about items that make it abundantly clear in addition simply to being loopy that they have no idea about how things really work out there in Realityville. For example lamenting the bureaucratic nightmare necessary to obtain a permit and attendant waiver to lease out a condo in a rent control city. Oh, right, my bad, never mind.

    In any event, obviously you’d seriously have to be brain dead to suggest that the Monday after the Super Bowl be a national holiday. It’s absurd. Completely idiotic. But that’s the sort of demographic mindset in charge of the country. And as we look around Main Street, and see misery the likes of which at various levels would make the Carter malaise appear tame by comparison, knowing full well that things are poised substantially to get worse, we should think about how and why we got to this place. Some people out there need to look hard at the reflection in the mirror, although ironically enough the irony would be lost on them.

  5. rodney dill says:

    We can call it: “National Closed Head Injury Awareness Day.”

  6. Tyrell says:

    No way. How about July 5 as a holiday ? The whole country has had a hard day off doing all that grilling and staying out late watching fireworks. Here are two better solutions: start the game at 2:00. Or move it to Saturday. But the networks and advertisers would never go for that: it would cut down on all the hype and hours of meaningless drivel that leads up to the game.

  7. John Burgess says:

    When I worked in Saudi Arabia back in the early ’80s, I used to hold a Super Bowl party in my office, starting at 0230. My office had a Big-Ass[tm] short wave radio and antenna. Twenty years later, the party still started at 0230, by by then everyone had satellite dishes and AFRTS.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Uhhh…., no.

  9. grumpy realist says:

    Unless Matt’s writing this totally tongue-in-cheek, such a suggestion tempts me to pat him on the head and murmur: “there, there, little boy.”

    I’d vote for making Election Day a holiday over this silliness. Or Midsummer’s Day, which at least has some good thumping tradition behind it.

  10. JKB says:

    We can call it, National East Coast Self Indulgent Moron Day.

    But the solution is simple, move the Super Bowl to the third Sunday in February. No need for an act of Congress,

  11. Anderson says:

    I don’t think Yglesias’s idea is ridiculous.

    Did New Year’s Day become a holiday and then people started partying on the Eve? I suspect it was the other way around.

    People start celebrating something, and then after a while it becomes an official holiday. Holidays don’t have to be top-down, bestowed by the ruling class as a boon for the hoi polloi.

  12. bk says:

    Tsar – WTF???

  13. Scott says:

    @Tyrell: I agree with you. For a lot of us 2200 or 2230 is late. Especially when you normally get up at 0500 to go to work (not even hungover) and your kids stay up late and have to catch the bus at 0700. Of course, teachers hate the day after Halloween because the kids are tired and on a sugar crash. I say move it to the afternoon or Saturday night.

  14. Scott says:

    By the way, there are a lot of grumpy, crotchety old folks on this site.

  15. James Joyner says:

    I’d note that this idea gets floated every year the day after the Super Bowl and has been for at least thirty years, so it’s not some novel, weird idea by Matt Ygesias. But, frankly, it’s no bigger deal to me to be up late watching the Super Bowl than the various Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, and Monday Night Football contests. Or the Monday night BCS National Championship. Or the Monday night NCAA basketball championship. Or the Olympics. Or the Daily Show. There’s lots of late night TV.

  16. @Tsar Nicholas: Wait, are you going to short the country or the Super Bowl now?

  17. Tyrell says:

    @James Joyner: Don’t forget WWE pay for views, UFC pfv, Academy Awards (last until midnight), and some MLB playoffs and World Series .

  18. Anderson says:

    “Tsar – WTF???”

    The all-purpose Tsar response.

    … JJ, none of those has the breadth of the Super Bowl audience.

    (You and I being of roughly the same generation, I suspect you remember the old saw that the Soviets’ first strike would come during the Super Bowl, with all the Americans watching TV and not their radar screens?)

  19. I kinda wish they would. I’ve the SB to Saturday.

    @James Joyner: On one level,true, but speaking as someone who has a SB party every year, the strain is a bit ore than jus staying up to watch a Sunday Night Game. 😉

    (And while I don’t see the need for a national holiday for the day after the SB, I would argue that SuperBowl Sunday is already a national holiday.

  20. Andre Kenji says:

    I don´t think that it should be a holiday. But If I were an Employer in the United States I would allow my employees to enter after noon or to take the day off. I think that everyone deserves some indulgences from time to time.

  21. Andre Kenji says:

    @Anderson:

    Did New Year’s Day become a holiday and then people started partying on the Eve? I suspect it was the other way around.

    Yes, that what happened to Ash Wednesday in many countries, where employers allow employees to enter after the noon. There also the “bridges” to many holidays(In the US, the country that has no vacation time or paid maternity leave that “problem” was solved by imposing holidays in specific days of the week)

    There is something similar to the Super Bowl, the World Cup. Famously, here in Brazil, when the National Team is playing in the World Cup everyone stops everything just to watch it. Some employers allow their employees to go home early to watch, some employers bring TV sets to the workplace. Nothing determined by law, with the exception of public employees.

    In other countries, employers complain that when the national team is playing no one is paying attention to work and that people tries to watch the game anyway. I think that little indulgences from time to time are a good thing.

  22. Tony W says:

    Pro Tip: How to know your corporation is doing well – people are debating whether your big annual event should be a recognized national holiday. And they aren’t even joking.

  23. PogueMahone says:

    Make the SB weekend a three day weekend, and if you don’t like football then take the family camping or something. And if you want to work, then work. What? Do you really need the mail to run on that day or something?

    Our culture needs more holidays… We need to relax more.

    Cheers.

  24. bernieyeball says:

    This is nuts!
    The day before the Super Bowl was Ground Hog Day. Doesn’t matter if Boskeydell Butch (our local varmit) sees his shadow or not this is the middle of winter. The NFL Football season has just ended. What’s to celebrate?
    Opening Day for Major League Baseball would be a rightous holiday to observe. Summer is just around the corner!

  25. qtip says:

    Use your vacation time if you want the day off. If your job does not provide you with the amount of vacation time you prefer, get a new job. Free market FTW!

  26. al-Ameda says:

    Don’t we already have this holiday on the books?
    It’s called “National Call-In Sick Day”

  27. RGardner says:

    My first thought on reading the headline was answered in Doug’s commentary – we don’t all live on the East Coast! Here in the PNW (PST zone) after the Superbowl I started brining 8 lbs of salmon for smoking today (I know it is a stereotype, but I really did because I had some frozen salmon I needed to get out of the freezer – Keta/Silverbright/Chum). Meanwhile Monday Night Football starts during rush hour. And the NYC Macy’s Parade starts too early. Whine. And Mr Yglesias again shows his DC-NYC bias.

    As for holidays, when I lived in Iceland we had on-the-spot “Sun Holiday” (Sól Heiligur – (Sólig?)) in the Reykjavik area if the temperature got to ~ 23C (72F) where many of the small and medium sized businesses would close. If it got to 25C (76F) some supermarkets would close too, and half the stores in the Mall. Only the gas stations remained open (which are also fast food restaurants, amazing french fries if you ever visit). The thought was, if there is rare great weather take advantage of it. Meanwhile around Easter about every other day was a holiday for 2 weeks and nothing got done (ditto for most of Europe).

  28. James Joyner says:

    @Anderson: @Steven Taylor: Oh, no doubt the Super Bowl is a bigger national event. But I find it much harder to get a decent night’s sleep after staying up late to watch a late-night Cowboys or Alabama game than I do a Super Bowl involving teams for whom I have no rooting interest. One, it ends earlier, Two, I’m not nearly as wired. Or, three, as with this year’s game, I go to bed after a kickoff return for TD opens the 2nd half and turns the game into a blow-out.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    do we really need to be making policy changes based on making the lives of one-third of the population a little more convenient?

    On 2nd thought, yes. Makes a hell of a lot more sense to write laws that benefit one third of the country than it does to write laws that benefit 1%.

    Just sayin’…

  30. js4strings says:

    I just think they need to make the game on Saturday.