Super Bowl Saturday

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This certainly is not a particularly inspired topic.  But, what the heck. The subject annoys me, it’s timely, and it’s a blog post.  That last isn’t important, but I try to post something twice a week, and I’m honest when I insert filler.  So, maybe this is Filler Lite.

In High School, I very much enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday.  Friends would gather in the basement at a friend’s house, and… we’d mostly watch the game.  And eat.  And play games. And eat.  The world was shiny and new, and I woke with abundant energy the next day.

My, how the times have changed.

I’m older.  I get tired.  I need rest.  I’m a grumpy middle aged man.

In the great scheme of TV programming, I’m certain that the East coast gets priority in scheduling.  If it suits the East coast, those in the west will still be up.  If planned for the West coast,the eastern population centers would be left out.  Advertising having the clout that it does, we won’t be left out.  Marketing aside, the timing of the Super Bowl is wholly inadequate for those on the East coast.  The timing sucks, pardon my French.

Pacific Standard Time Zone watcher:  “What’s the big deal?  The game starts at 3:30!  I can watch the game, munch on avocado and sprouts, and still have time to get to my yoga class.”

Yes, well, lucky you.

I, however, suffer from Eastern Standard Time Disease.  A main contributor to this disease is that the timing of our days, particularly in winter, allow for work, dinner, and possibly one hour of entertainment or other diversion.   After that, we’re faced with choices that suffer from diminishing returns along the lines of “I want to do xyz but I’d rather go to sleep.”

The Super Bowl starts at 6:30 p.m. here. Given numerous commercial breaks and a halftime extravaganza that usually takes you back 30 years while aging you as you watch, the game might possibly end at 10:30 p.m.  If you want to watch the Lombardi trophy presentation and interviews, well, your night just got longer.

That may not seem like a big deal, but it is.  We do like to have parties.  The Super Bowl is modern era ringing of the church bell, of sorts.  In groups small or large, the event calls people to gather.   It’s a social endeavor, and one that makes for a  busy day.  Hosts operate on the business principle of “just in time,” and the house and appetizers are prepared under that model, delivering a splendid atmosphere after hours of rushed preparation.  Translated: Hosts are already tired before the party begins, because, well, it’s already been a full weekend, it’s now evening, and we’re used to be tired at that time of day.

And after the game, well… whoever hosts a party is going to feel some anxiety about the cups, chip trays, empty beer bottles, leftover food, dirty dishes, accumulated trash, and other residuals left in the wake of departing guests.  Hey, they gotta clean some of it up before bed.  It makes for a late night.

And not just for those who open their homes, no sir (or ma’am).  The first half, not necessarily including the quality of the game, is great.  People imbibe, snack, chat.  Wonderful.  It’s why they came.

Then there’s the halftime show, and many yawn in a collective realization of “Can’t they get better entertainment?” which is followed by, “Oh, and look how late it is!”   

Sad, but true.  Then, in mass quantities, the guests wave goodbye.  They’re not happy about it. They’re missing the 3rd quarter.  No one wants to miss any part of the game.  But it’s Sunday night!  The host isn’t pleased either, because there’s always one or two that remain who must be entertained until the end of the game because they don’t realize that the party literally ended almost two hours earlier. 

What’s up with this annual rite of disappointment?  Hosts and guests should be enthused about the big game for the entire duration of the event, not just during the first half.

Eastern Time Zone Disease sucks (Again, with my bad language).

Super Bowl Sunday.  That’s not bad just because the next day is Monday.  It’s bad because it’s Sunday night.  People have things to do the next day.  They can’t keep drinking their adult beverages because they have to be at work the next morning with clear heads.  They may have to drive a fair distance to get home, so they leave early in order to be able to go to bed on time.  Or, maybe they have to get a few things ready before work the next day.  Perhaps they have to make sure the kids bathed and did their homework.  Maybe they left early because it was the only way to find a babysitter that would say “yes.”

Obviously, Sunday works for most people.  It’s traditional.  The NFL reigns on Sundays while colleges canvas Saturdays from noon until midnight (EST).  The Super Bowl is the most watched sporting event (106 Million People in 2010) in the world.  With commercials expected to command $3M for a 30 second spot, it’s obvious that people make time to watch the Super Bowl.  Sunday profits the NFL and the network handsomely.  But is it so popular because the game is on Sunday?

No. 

People will make time for what they want to do, and they want to see the Super Bowl.  All of it.  And they want to enjoy themselves doing so, whether or not alcohol, chips and dip, or chocolate cake are included. 

Super Bowl Saturday would allow sports bars and clubs to do more business.  Liquor stores would likely increase their sales as many States still have Blue laws.   Grocery stores would sell more also, because hosts and the guests would need to buy greater quantity of supplies as everyone would be staying for the entire game. Also, the corporate cash cow that migrates to the hosting City would enlarge as well, as visitors would stay for a long weekend rather than feeling rushed to return to, you know… work.  

Traditions should be honored, certainly.  The Super Bowl has always been played on a Sunday.  Also, granted that “Super Bowl Saturday” doesn’t quite have the ring as (insert a heavenly chorus) “Super Bowl Sunday,” but… if the college BCS game can be played a month and half after the final regular season game, it wouldn’t be such a big deal to move the big game forward a single day to Saturday.  Of course, some would argue that they would rather recover from their celebrations on company time rather than on the weekend, but this is hardly a compelling sales point for an industry that feeds on disposable income – an income which must be earned.

So spread the socializing wealth, NFL.  Move it.

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