Why Is The Super Bowl Played On Sunday Night?

Why Is The Super Bowl Played On Sunday Night

Super Bowl Sunday is a professional football fan’s favorite day of the year. All over the country, fans gather their friends for Super Bowl parties, get all decked out in their teams’ colors, and sometimes place strategic bets on the outcome of the game. Even casual football fans can garner enjoyment from the intense atmosphere, while those who hesitate to call themselves football fans still may find themselves excitedly awaiting the Halftime Show and iconic Super Bowl commercials. But, why is this game played on a Sunday night, instead of a Friday or Saturday night? Since the first Super Bowl in 1967, the game has always been played on a Sunday. Read on to find out why!


The thought process behind scheduling professional football for a Sunday night was that Friday nights were reserved for high school football and Saturday nights were reserved for college football, leaving Sunday as the prime opening for professional football. In 1961, the Sports Broadcasting Act passed, forever cementing Sundays as the day for professional football (with some exceptions for Monday, Thursday, and Saturday night games). Sundays were also chosen because it is typically a non-working day in the United States. The first Super Bowl in 1967 was between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs, and took place on Sunday, January 15, 1967. From this game, the Super Bowl became a huge part of American culture.


The Super Bowl was initially scheduled for the last Sunday in January, a tradition that lasted 34 years, until 2001. After the tragic events of the September 11 terrorist attacks, however, television schedules were delayed by one week to account for updates and to modify media to avoid lowering morale further and triggering those who had lost family members in the attacks. Due to this, the Super Bowl was pushed back one week, into February. In 2004, the Super Bowl was played on February 1st, starting a tradition of playing the game in the first week of February that continued up to 2022.

The COVID-19 Pandemic

The 2021 Super Bowl was seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and, while this didn’t stop the Buccaneers and the Chiefs from facing off, several changes were made to the festivities leading up to the game and the game itself. Many games leading up to the Super Bowl were pushed back due to the need to enforce safety precautions and care for players’ health.

Additionally, only 22,000 of the Raymond James Stadium’s 65,000 seats were available for purchase in order to encourage social distancing. Since commercials are a huge part of Super Bowl Sunday, advertisers refrained from creating over the top commercials and instead donated money to air commercials encouraging the public to receive the vaccines. The 2021 Super Bowl was the first Super Bowl where the teams didn’t play for a sold-out crowd.


The COVID-19 pandemic impacted more than just the 2021 Super Bowl. Due to the 2020 Olympics being pushed back, the Super Bowl was again pushed back one week and was instead played on the second Sunday in February. This will continue for the foreseeable future, as the 2023 Super Bowl will also be played on the second Sunday in February.