Like the U.S. health-care system, the New York Giants, and Instagram’s algorithm (why can’t I just see stuff in reverse-chronological order?), there is another part of American life that is profoundly broken. The good news is it can be fixed without spending billions of dollars or putting Americans in harm’s way. The only cost will be to the ratings of NBC’s “Dateline.”
We need to move the Super Bowl to Saturday night.
(Editor’s note: I wrote an updated, and data-enhanced, version of the argument for the Vice site Tonic in 2018.)
Why move it, you ask? From the business side, the game is pure, swim-in-a-Olympic-sized-poolful-of-money spectacle and success. More than 111 million people watched New England edge Atlanta last year—down just a bit from the record 114 million three years ago. A 30-second spot on this year’s broadcast will run advertisers as much as four-and-a-half million dollars. In short, it’s the best idea anyone has ever had that wasn’t the wheel, indoor plumbing, or Kyrie Irving leaving Cleveland.
But on this side of the looking glass — that is, to those of us watching or, more precisely, waiting to watch the Super Bowl — the view is much different.
The game starts late (6:40 p.m. ET), runs late, keeps the kids up late — or even worse, sends sports-loving kids to bed without resolution. (What is this — baseball!?!) If you plan on throwing The Ultimate Super Bowl Party, it’ll involve the kinds of food and drink that could use a good day to work through the system. It comes on Sunday night, which makes this a slightly more enthusiastic, gluttonous version of an Oscars party.
Exactly. You see my point.
Worst of all, Monday morning always looms over the Super Bowl. Put your hand in the air if you spent the second half of last year’s game preoccupied by that Monday morning presentation for your boss — or the first half of your Monday workday in the men’s room, revisiting the Super Bowl spread. This is bad for a) your enjoyment of the game, b) your continued employment, or c) both.
We could just make Monday a holiday, but that’s a more complicated solution — and would involve the government and your HR department. It might take decades. Moving to Saturday doesn’t screw up anything but a bunch of VIP parties in the host city and force CBS to move Super Bowl’s “Greatest Commercials All-Star Countdown” to Friday — or Hulu. It makes the Super Bowl the opening act for a truly awesome party night, a night that makes New Year’s Eve pale in comparison. It makes it a truly Super Saturday.