A handful of schools and businesses around the region will close or open later than usual on Monday after the Baltimore Ravens play in the Super Bowl in New Orleans Sunday evening. The reasons range from a desire to build morale — at John Carroll, students got a reprieve from the archbishop of Baltimore — to predictions that no one will really want to work on Monday, anyway.
The game will affect the schedules of other businesses as well. Some restaurants from Timonium to Columbia are closing early on Sunday, because they expect few people to eat out. And several area sporting goods stores are preparing to open right after the game ends if the Ravens win, so fans can buy team gear.
"We have to be prepared for a Black Friday-type event," said Bobbie Bardzik, community marketing manager for Dick's Sporting Goods in the Baltimore region
Last week, someone even started a petition to the White House to make the day after the Super Bowl a national holiday, declaring the event to be the "most popular ... in modern American culture." By Thursday evening, more than 11,700 people had signed, short of the 100,000 required to spur a response from the White House.
Amy Burke Friedman, vice president of the Baltimore-based Profiles public relations firm, said the seven staffers have been told they can come in at 10 a.m. on Monday instead of the usual 8:30 a.m.
"The Super Bowl is keeping us pretty busy," Friedman said. The firm's owner "just thought it would be something nice to do for the staff; she knew we would be up late tuning into the game. We're really excited."
Mike Evitts, a spokesman at the Downtown Partnership, suspected productivity after the Super Bowl will be "through the floor." The Partnership employs about 120 people, and Evitts said the organization is considering giving most of them a half-day off Monday.
"Baltimore knows how to throw a party and we also know how to recover from a party," Evitts said. "A lot of people have been talking about purple passion and purple fever but I think that might be the ailment that keeps people out of work on Monday."
Archbishop William E. Lori granted some 850 John Carroll students and more than 100 teachers and staff Monday off during a visit this week. He used the Ravens as an example of community-building, principal Madelyn Ball said, telling students that the team would not be so successful if players did whatever they wanted. He spoke of the importance of working together.
"For us in the church, with our faith, we also have to work as a team," Ball said. "It requires us to have someone to lead us and guide us in what we do in a daily basis."
Then Lori announced the school would have Monday off.
"Everybody seemed thrilled," Ball said. "This doesn't happen all that often in Baltimore, to be in the Super Bowl. This way we get a chance to enjoy ourselves this weekend."
In contrast, none of the public schools in the area are scheduled to close, or even open late, due to the Super Bowl.
"We certainly expect students and staff to arrive excited for the new week and excited for the Ravens victory, ready to go for the day," said Charles Herndon, a Baltimore County schools spokesman. "Let's hope all the students' and staffs' eyes are open."
The Archdiocese of Baltimore leaves it up to individual schools to make decisions on closing, according to an official there. A Catholic school in Towson, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, will open two hours late on Monday.
For the past few years, Immaculate Heart had a tradition of closing the day after the Super Bowl. This year, Deborah Thomas, the new principal, said the school's pastor settled on a compromise that would balance the desires of hard-core Ravens fan-parents who wanted the school closed Monday with the notion that learning should come before sports.
In 2011, the school was given $10,000 by the National Football League for its fitness efforts and Ravens players came to visit. Since then, Thomas said, students have been inspired to raise money for charitable causes.
"We talked with our students, we said, 'You can stay up late and watch the team that's had such an impact on our school, then you came in the next day and be ready to work,'" Thomas said.
Though some parents lobbied for the delayed opening, not everyone was thrilled.