As the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers prepare for Super Bowl Sunday, employers across the country are bracing for the following Monday.
Known as “Super Sick Monday,” the Monday after the Super Bowl is typically met with a high number of employees skipping work to recover from the day before, including some of those Super Bowl prop bets they swung and missed on. And now, medical experts are offering insight into whether or not the Super Bowl (and the behaviors that come with it), may actually make fans sick.
According to Dr. Hanh Le, Senior Director of Medical Affairs at Healthline.com, the flagship online health information site of Healthline Media, too much “football” can actually make you sick. By football, we mean all the food and booze that people stuff their faces with before, during and after the big game.
According to a survey conducted in 2019 by the Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated, more than 17 million Americans estimated that they considered calling in sick for work the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday. Employees and their managers alike seemed susceptible to this so-called Super Bowl Fever, but is it really a thing?
Clearly, “Super Bowl Fever” is not a recognized medical condition and has no treatment plan, but it is not hard to imagine what could cause people to call in sick to work. On the surface, there are obvious physical explanations. As with holiday dinners like Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Super Bowl tends to be a time for poor decision-making, poor self-control, and over-indulgence when it comes to food and alcohol consumption. Excessive consumption of food and alcoholic beverages leads to GERD (gastroesophageal reflux or heartburn), hangovers, and poor sleep, leading to a workforce that is ill-prepared for the demands of a Monday morning.
Beyond the physical symptoms that may contribute to someone’s belief that they are sick and can’t come to work, there are the emotional ones. For football superfans, the Super Bowl represents the culmination of months of anticipation and commitment. For five months, devoted fans follow the dramatic narrative of their favorite teams. They can become very emotionally embroiled in their teams’ victories and losses.
If the fan’s team makes it to the Super Bowl, the stakes, which you can find on SBS, are even higher. If the team wins, superfans feel like they are part of the victory, but if the team loses, the emotional turmoil and despair of not knowing whether your team will ever make it back into the Super Bowl can cause anxiety and depression.
These physical and emotional symptoms do not mean that Super Bowl Fever is a true illness nor does it justify skipping work, but it does provide some context for why so many Americans cannot bring themselves to show up at work on the Monday after Super Bowl.
There’s a reason why articles like “9 Quick Cures for your Super Bowl Hangover” exist.
So, the real question is, if it’s OK to play games on Monday, Thursday and even Saturday during the NFL season….why the hell can’t we simply move the Super Bowl to Saturday?