“Super Bowl Monday” Coming in 2027

When the NFL added a 17th game to its regular season in 2021, the date range for the Super Bowl was pushed back a week (because the league did not want to go head-to-head with college football, which now opens its season on the Labor Day weekend) to February 8 through February 14.

Well Super Bowl LXI (the one whose outcome will crown the champion of the 2026 season) will in fact be played on February 14, 2027 — and the day after, February 15, is Presidents' Day, and thus "Super Bowl Monday" since it is a federal holiday.

But why can't the owners make "Super Bowl Monday" a permanent fixture on the calendar?

That can be done in either of two ways:

The first option is probably the one that the owners would choose, but the NFLPA might balk at: Adding an 18th game to the regular season, which the CFL has played, without any complaints from anyone, since 1986 — except for 2020, when there was no football season at all north of the border, and only a 14-game slate in 2021, both due to the COVID pandemic.

The second option is keeping the 17-game regular season but giving every team a second bye week (the CFL has also done this since 1986, and the AFL did it in 1966 and 1967, in both cases because the leagues have/had an odd number of teams — nine — in these years). Besides enabling the Super Bowl to be played on the Presidents' Day weekend, this will allow the NFL to give every team that plays a Thursday game an automatic bye the week before. Expecting the players to have to play games on three days' rest borders on the kind of cruelty reminiscent of the Roman gladiator era.

Either way, it would also mean a 19th week's worth of games to televise — and make it more plausible that every team gets to make at least one appearance on prime time.

And if the owners are adamant about not beginning any season on the Labor Day weekend, the idle week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl can be omitted (something that has actually been done seven times in Super Bowl history) in order to prevent a future Super Bowl from being played on February 21 — in such a year, the following day will not be Presidents' Day.

If the owners can convince the union to agree to an 18th game, the current "17th game" (an interconference game) can be eliminated, and replaced by two intraconference games awarded on a positional basis using the previous season's standings, with first- and fourth-place teams adding games against second- and third-place teams, and second- and third-place teams adding games against first- and fourth-place teams — the same format that was observed from 1988 through 1994.

With more games between teams in different divisions within the same conference, head-to-head results are more likely to break ties — and with that in mind, the NFL needs to go back to the rules that governed multi-way ties that were in force from 1970 through 1977: if three teams, none of whom are from the same division, are tied, and one of them went 1-0 against the other two head-to-head, with the latter going 1-1 and 0-1, respectively, the teams should be seeded in that order (however, if three teams are tied and one of them did not play either of the other two, head-to-head cannot be applied).

This came up in 2014, when the Cowboys were 1-0 against the Packers and Seahawks, with Seattle 1-1 against Dallas and Green Bay and Green Bay 0-1 versus Seattle and Dallas. Yet instead of getting the 1 seed, the Cowboys ended up with the 3 seed based on conference record, and had to go onto the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field (kickoff-time temperature 24 degrees, wind chill of zero), where they lost 26-21 in the divisional playoffs in the infamous "Dez Bryant Non-Catch Bowl."

And if the NFL gilds the lily by abolishing overtime in the regular season altogether, or at least guarantees both teams at least one possession therein, many if not most battles for division titles, playoff spots and playoff seeds will be decided by half-game margins (e.g., 11-6 over 10-6-1), and these tie-breaking procedures will never even enter into it.

Naturally, it goes without saying that not only would the exhibition — oops, I mean preseason — be further cut from three games to two, but the Hall of Fame Game should be played on the Thursday night of the same week that the rest of the league plays their preseason openers (college football plays no exhibition games).

So, in this case, there are two ways of moving, but only one way of standing still — better odds for change in situations of this sort.

But once the first "Super Bowl Monday" happens three years from now, there may be no going back — just like when 9/11 led to the first Super Bowl ever played in February, there was no going back either.

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