Super Bowl fever causes spike in absenteeism on Monday morning

Dawn Ouellette Nixon//January 30, 2020

Super Bowl fever causes spike in absenteeism on Monday morning

Dawn Ouellette Nixon//January 30, 2020

Andrew Clark celebrates the 2011 GreenBay Packers Super Bowl win. He took off from work the next day, he says. “My boss was fine with it.” PHOTO/SUBMITTED 

When Super Bowl 2020 kicks off Sunday more than 194 million people are expected to tune in to watch the showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49rs, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

Sure, the football game in south Florida might be at the center of Sunday’s activities, but it’s the chicken wings, drinks and friends that will keep many of us up late. Too much football, beer and nachos just might have us calling out of work on Monday, too.

Call it a Super Bowl fever. A record number of American workers are expected to call off work the day after the big game.

The Workforce Institute at Kronos, a research organization focused on the American workforce, began tracking the phenomenon in 2005 and found that this year 17.5 million American workers expect to miss work the day after the Super Bowl, making Monday, Feb. 3, the largest-ever anticipated day of Super Bowl-related absenteeism.

Forty percent of employees surveyed by the Workforce Institute said Super Bowl Monday should be a national holiday, while 63% believed the Super Bowl should be moved to the Sunday night before Presidents Day, which is already a national holiday in February.

Locally, workers we spoke with said they have, at one time or another, taken the Monday.

Andrew Clark, a granite installer and lifelong Green Bay Packers fan, called out the day after the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011.

“As a Packers fan, I kinda had it in the back of my mind that I might be calling off the next day,” he said. “The Packers won and we were all celebrating, so I texted my boss around 11 p.m. that night that I wasn’t gonna make it in. My boss was fine with it. He was a little upset because he’s a Steelers fan and they lost, but no problem.”

In Clark’s opinion, the Super Bowl should be moved to a Saturday, which would let fans enjoy the game without the stress of the following workday hanging over their heads. “It’s a big event and a great day to celebrate the sport,” he said.

Jason Pryor, a former high school teacher and current freelance copywriter, thinks employers should concede to popular opinion and give employees the Monday after the game off. “What’s the point of having everyone come in to work unproductively anyway?” he asked. “As a society, we say that family is important and that work/life balance is important. This is a way to practice what we preach.”

“There is not one holiday besides Thanksgiving that we are given off for that is just ceremony,” Pryor added.  “It could be sort of like Boxing Day in other countries (a paid day off for the workforce on the day after Christmas). This is a game, it’s sports entertainment. Is it not for the working class? Let’s give them this day.”

For Attorney Brett Morrow, an avid football fan, Super Bowl Monday isn’t something he has celebrated in many years. “When I was younger and more reckless, especially if my team was playing, I took the day off,” he said. “Of course, I’m a Cowboys fan so I haven’t had that problem in 20 years.”

Like Clark, he believes that the Super Bowl would be better off held on a Saturday night. “It would solve the problem of lost productivity on that Monday,” he said. “Let’s face it, most people don’t have their team in the Super Bowl, they are in it for the party, for the food and the drinks. That would give them Sunday to recover.”

As an employer, Brett isn’t a stickler about employees coming in the day after the game. “Use your personal day,” he said. “People work hard in this country, too hard, take the day.”

While Pennsylvania doesn’t have a team in the Super Bowl this year, it’s likely that our workspaces will be a little light on staffing Monday.

There is one important thing to remember, however, when you attend a Super Bowl party on Sunday, according to Packers’ fan Andrew Clark. “If you go to a Super Bowl party and your team isn’t in the game, you root for the team that the host is rooting for,” he said. “Cheer with the guy who’s feeding ya.”