If you’re a red-blooded American your two favorite holidays, in order of importance, are probably the Fourth of July and the Super Bowl. However, only one of these days is nationally recognized as a true holiday and that is just not fair. After all, one of these days is the day when we celebrate our truest American values, like eating, yelling and drinking all while wearing the colors dearest to our hearts and the other is the day we beat the British. It’s time for America to add an eighth nationally recognized holiday to the roster so we (especially us Patriots fans) can enjoy the day without school or work looming over us the next day.
There are actually a few strong arguments for making the NFL’s biggest day of the year an actual holiday. The first being that sports and beer basically go together like peanut butter and jelly and the Super Bowl is the mother of all sandwiches. Unfortunately, all that alcohol results in a whole lot of drunk people who have to get home one way or another, assuming you did not host your own party. These drunk, or buzzed, people usually end up driving, despite the invention of Uber, and that usually results in crashes that are sometimes fatal. The New England Journal of Medicine conducted a study from 1975 to 2001 in which they analyzed the amount of car crashes on Super Bowl Sunday “to the immediately preceding and subsequent Sundays (comparisons that controlled for season of the year, day of the week and calendar year).” They found that after the telecast of the games, fatalities due to crashes increased by 41 percent for 21 of the 27 years. Of course it is impossible to ask the deceased drunk driver where they were headed while intoxicated after the game, but the easy guess would be they were headed home for work the next morning.
Unfortunately, not even the invention of ride-sharing services has completely diminished the prevalence of drunk driving fatalities as the Auto Club of Southern California reported that on average there is a 77 percent increase in crashes after the Super Bowl that caused injuries or fatalities.
Again, it can be assumed most of these people were on their way home from a Super Bowl party to get to work, but if there was no work the next day those people could have stayed longer at a party to sober up or even just spent the night. In fact, there are already some companies that have decided that it would be best if they just gave their employes the day after the game off. Heinz, the food and beverage company who sponsors the Pittsburgh Steelers’ stadium, has decided that all of its U.S. workers will have Feb. 6 off this year. Heinz has even started a petition to make the Super Bowl a national holiday to protect their workers and all workers from drunk driving accidents.
Now for you economically inclined you might be thinking, “Imagine the hit our economy would take if everyone had the day off.” Well, giving the day to workers would actually save money since the Workforce Institute has estimated that 16.5 million people will call in sick following the game and another 7.5 million will show up late for work. Joyce Maroney, the director of the institute explained, “When organizations have to deal with unplanned absence, that’s like 50 percent more expensive than a planned absence.” In instances where employees call off last minute or do not show up at all, employers are forced to pay other workers emergency wages or overtime which ends up costing more than paying the workers who were scheduled to work. So, it would actually save businesses money if they planned on giving everyone the day off, instead of being barraged by no-shows the day after the game.
America is all about the concept of more and bigger is better; hell, the Super Bowl is even in Texas, where everything is bigger. So in the American spirit of wanting more, we should get just that. More time off to recover from game day shenanigans and, most importantly, more safety on the roads so we can live to see another Super Bowl.