What if Super Bowl Sunday were Super Bowl Saturday, instead?

 A high school student in Florida has proposed just such a change and has drawn a surprising amount of attention for it. Frank Ruggeri, an 18-year-old from Palm Bay, Florida, has circulated a petition online to have the game moved up a day. It sounds like a radical idea — like moving Christmas to the 24th — but more than 120,000 people have signed the petition (Roger Goodell is not one of them).

When you read the reasoning of Ruggeri, well, it would be difficult to argue against it, although the NFL will never make the change. After all, we’re talking about a league that continues to cling to the dumbest, most nonsensical overtime format ever conceived, not to mention an outdated exhibition season (going, going, gone?). The NFL is so nonsensical that, after years of saying all the right things about player safety, the league added an extra game to the schedule (money trumping safety and common sense of course).

Anyway, where was I? Super Bowl Saturday. Ruggeri’s argument is simple. The Super Bowl is expensive for this country. Here, let the kid explain it. “It’s really, really important to me because 17.2 million people miss work,” he said during a TV appearance on CBS (which tells you how much attention this has received). “That’s $44 billion less productivity.”

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He’s a little on the high side for lost productivity — most reports put the economic loss at $3-4 billion, not $44 billion (maybe someone missed a decimal point). But you get the idea. People stay up late partying and watching the game and miss work on Monday. More than 17 million people call in sick the next day (wouldn’t you like to hear some of their excuses). It’s a modern-day illness called “Super Bowl Fever” and a modern-day phenomenon called “Super Bowl Monday.”

This year’s Super Bowl, which will be played in Los Angeles, will begin at 6:30 p.m. EST and end at 10-10:30. By the time fans kick out the guests and clean up the mess in the house or travel home it will probably be close to midnight. It all makes for a long afternoon and evening of overeating and overdrinking.

(Side commentary: The game wouldn’t be so long if they’d cut that overblown, overrated, ridiculous Super Bowl halftime show, which runs 20-30 minutes — twice the normal length. What a mistake it was when they invited the Hollywood crowd a chance to resuscitate their careers. Now they’ve made the game almost secondary to the “show,” not to mention the commercials.)

Over the years there have been proposals to declare Super Bowl Monday a national holiday or to move the game to an existing holiday weekend, which shows you how whacko this country is for football. This year’s game falls on National Pork Rind Day (seriously), but nobody gets a day off. Maybe they could move Presidents Day up a week (it’s being held on National Sticky Bun Day later this month).

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The Super Bowl has been played on Sunday since its inception in 1967 and the vast majority of NFL games are played on Sunday. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell defends the league’s Super Bowl date by saying that Sunday draws a bigger TV audience than Saturday.

Ruggeri, who has actually been pushing for Super Bowl Saturday for two years, counters Goodell by saying a Saturday Super Bowl, “will get more money and get more visitors to the game. (They) NFL will get more television views because most government jobs have Sunday off. It will let more children enjoy their beloved game on TV or at the venue. Most of the football playoff games are on Saturday anyway.”

 “The people will be watching,” Ruggeri continues, channeling James Earl Jones for a moment. “… And I think the economic impact would be easier to have it on Sunday.”

There was a time when no games were played on Sunday because of America’s strong, broad-based Christian beliefs. Sunday was believed to be a day of worship and rest — there’s this thing called the Ten Commandments and the fourth item required people to “keep the sabbath day holy.”

There were actually laws against Sunday games. In the early 20th century that began to change when Major League Baseball pushed for Sunday play because the owners believed they could make more money that day. Laws were slowly changed after much controversy and even court battles. The New York Giants and Cincinnati Reds played a game on Sunday in 1917 and afterward both managers were arrested.

Now professional and collegiate games are played on Sunday and it has filtered down to youth leagues, as well. A relative few still cling to the old sensibilities, some going as far as recording the game and watching it on Monday,

The NFL could address part of the problem simply by moving the kickoff up three or four hours, but you can imagine what Goodell would say to that: The NFL makes more money later in the day.

Ruggeri’s cause is going to be more difficult than stopping Cooper Kupp in the open field.