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Screw Your Sunday Tradition: An Argument for Super Bowl Saturday

Screw Your Sunday Tradition: An Argument for Super Bowl Saturday

Dr. Aaron Perlut, our new NFL contributor at-large, pens his reasoning for moving the Super Bowl from Sunday to Saturday. Perlut, who founded the American Mustache Institute, and has written for Forbes, ESPN.com, and others, will write in this space when the fancy strikes him.

This past Monday morning, I was one of an estimated 17 million nacho eating mammals who stayed home from work. It wasn’t some sickness resulting from Maroon 5’s epically inept Super Bowl halftime performance or allergies caused by Big Boi’s rather luxurious fur coat. No, it was the result of National Football League’s commitment to tradition – at least when it suits them.

The NFL is a league steeped in tradition, and throughout the Super Bowl’s 53-year existence – no matter who has won, where it has been held or which team’s center went on a pre-game bender in Mexico (ahem) – the game has been held on a Sunday.

Everything about the Super Bowl reeks of revered traditions – from touchdowns to takeaways, Broadway Joe to Mean Joe, talking Budweiser frogs to Medieval Bud Light barons talking about the evils of corn syrup, or from wardrobe malfunctions to Adam Levine’s pert nipples. We all watch, soak it in, examine and then relive every moment year-after-year like it’s biblical verse.

The game has transcended beyond simply being the pinnacle event on the American sports calendar and evolved into one of the hallmark U.S. holidays along with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July and Justin Bieber’s birthday (March 1). It is a spectacle of hard-hitting tackles and even harder-hitting capitalism, with a 30-second television commercial going for a cool $5 million and host cities reaping hundreds of millions in tourism and economic development dollars.

But like most outdated traditions– like listening to Nickelback, perms or finding friends on MySpace – isn’t it time to evolve? Yes, it is.

The Super Bowl must move to Saturday.

I’ve been railing on this topic since 2006 and even enlisted ESPN’s Kenny Mayne to petition for a Super Bowl Saturday a few years ago.

But it would seem, like many other common sense notions, the league, and its leaders are tone deaf to progress.

“That [idea] has been around for a long time, people have talked about that,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said during an interview on The Kyle Brandt Football Experience. “The reason we haven’t done it in the past is simply just from an audience standpoint. The audiences on Sunday night are so much larger. Fans want to have the best opportunity to be able to see the game and we want to give that to them, so Sunday night is a better night.”

We need a Super Bowl Saturday. It’s good for America, it’s good for prosperity, it’s just good for workplace productivity on Super Bowl Mondays and it simply makes good sense.

Unfortunately, the commissioner’s argument has little to no validity. Keeping the Super Bowl on Sunday leaves both short- and long-term revenue opportunities on the table. Just consider both the social and economic rationale for moving the game to Saturday:

  • Without work the next day, more people would watch the game – especially non-football fans.
  • Kids – who the league is dying to hold onto right now as interest in football wanes – could stay up a bit later to watch the game without the concerns of a school night.
  • Super Bowl parties would become grander events without concern for a Monday morning alarm clock, and party hosts would buy more food and beverages to accommodate grander events, thus benefiting grocery stores and other merchants such as NFL sponsor Bud Light.
  • If more non-football fans are watching, the networks gain more overall viewers, translating into their ability to charge more for advertising (a $10 million commercial would be SO much better).
  • As the NFL pursues globalization, more international fans could more easily stay up late to watch the game (consider that in Europe the game ends at approximately 5 a.m.).
  • Perhaps most important to Toby Keith’s vision of American global domination – due to the aforementioned 17 million post-Super bowl workplace absentees, American businesses lost some $4 billion this past Monday according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

So with all this common sense, an opportunity for increased viewership and enhanced league revenue, in the name of clean-burning tire farms, why would Goodell and his 32 bosses fight to move the Super Bowl to Saturday?

Simple, it takes us right back to tradition, although it’s hardly unprecedented to alter deeply held traditions in sports. After all, we were once stuck with college football’s champion being decided by Jeff Sagarin, the NBA Championship and World Series were held during the daytime, there were no wild-card games in the MLB playoffs, the Super Bowl used to be held in January and the worthless NFL Pro-Bowl format seemingly changes every year since no one will watch it.

Bottom line: If you love football, nachos and hate sleep depravity – and that’s 96.3 percent of you – this matters, a lot. And you have a say in it. You can drive change. So bombard the NFL on Twitter, call your congressman, stage a sit-in at your local Arby’s – do whatever it takes.

We need a Super Bowl Saturday. It’s good for America, it’s good for prosperity, it’s just good for workplace productivity on Super Bowl Mondays and it simply makes good sense.

Screw tradition – let’s do this thing.

Dr. Aaron Perlut is our NFL Columnist at larger and is the co-host of The Underbelly Sports Podcast, a past contributor to ESPN.com and Forbes, and the world’s leading facial hair freedom fighter and advocate.

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