It’s a Sunday tradition as old as some middle-aged men: Families and friends, bonded in common beliefs and customs, gather together to learn lessons about courage, teamwork, and sacrifice that they’ll remember for years to come.
It’s no accident that this description sounds like a church service, but the religion I’m referring to is Professional Football, and the Super Bowl is an altar at which all Americans can worship. Let’s put aside our religious and political differences and get back to the values that this country was founded on. Let’s unite as brothers and sisters. Let’s sign this petition to make the day after the Super Bowl a national holiday.
It makes sense on multiple levels. The Super Bowl is not just the most-watched television show of the year; the past four Super Bowls are “the four most watched TV programs in U.S. history in terms of total viewers,” according to Horizon Media. The width and breadth of interest in the Super Bowl goes well beyond the markets whose teams are competing. It is, in essence, something all Americans can believe in.
And professional football is a quintessentially American sport (I’m sorry Canada, but you still have goal posts at the front of your end zones; I refuse to acknowledge your game as a legitimate athletic competition). The U.S. has never finished better than fourth in the World Classic baseball tournament, the premier contest for superiority in what was once known as “America’s pastime.” Sure, we may cruise to Olympic gold medals in basketball, but the NBA has become internationalized as basketball’s global popularity creeps up on football’s. And by football, I mean soccer, a sport beloved by the rest of the world but whose popularity in the U.S. is so marginal, we actually had to change the name of the game as to not confuse it with real, manly football.
NFL football is a deeply intellectual sport whose strategies are often compared to chess; it's the game of choice for smart people everywhere. It is violent, true, but it is often breathtaking in its beauty, particularly when slowed down on replays, when the feats of spectacular athleticism can be savored and enjoyed as we would fine art. Above all else, football is a celebration of teamwork, a referendum on what we can accomplish when 11 men work in unison for a common goal.
If that’s not a lesson that America is sorely in need of right now, I’m not sure what is.
Beyond philosophical arguments, there are practical reasons to enact this holiday. As this petition wisely points out, work productivity takes a sharp decline the day after the Super Bowl, and not just in the cities whose teams are in the Big Game. With 10 percent of the workforce playing hooky anyway, it’s not as if “Green Monday” -- a term I just coined to describe the color of football fan's faces on the Monday after the Super Bowl -- has traditionally been a busy day at the office anyway.
Besides, as my colleague Kyle Bisio points out, “The United States is one of the hardest working countries in the entire world; the 40-hour workweek is among the lengthiest among developed countries.” Two extra vacation days annually would almost certainly send the U.S. economy into a depression, but one extra day -- a day dedicated to invigorating rest -- could do wonders for our happiness and well-being, as we take our three-day vacation and glide into a four-day work week rested and joyous (except for the people living in the city of the Super Bowl loser, but you can’t help that). We could even call it “Workers Day” or something, in tribute to the hardworking people that make this country great.
However, if I had my druthers, I would name the holiday America Day. Like New Year’s Eve, America Day would represent the conclusion of a chapter, as the greatest sport in the history of the earth plays its final game before eight long months of hibernation. But America Day would also be a tribute to the grit and determination of the average worker who puts in long hours without complaining, thinking only of the reward of being born in the greatest nation in the world. Most of all, America Day would be a much needed reminder that despite our differences, Americans of all race, creed, political, and sexual orientation can still find a common interest. That we’re on the same team.
My fellow Americans, I implore you to join me in signing this petition. With 100,000 signatures, it will make its way to the White House. It might not be enacted, but it will be considered, and most importantly, it would send a powerful message to Washington that our nation is not as fractured and divided as they believe it is.
Let’s set our differences aside in favor of the one thing we all can agree on: Professional American Football is totally awesome and we could all really use just one extra day off.