In just a couple of hours one of rock’s greatest bands will take the stage in Miami for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show. Who? Exactly. And I just don’t get it. To check for possible past rhyme or reason it is purposeful to take a look at history.
Dating back to 1967, seven of the first ten Super Bowls featured college marching bands. Sometimes the choices made geographic sense, ala the University of Texas performing in 1974 in Rice Stadium, while others (U of M the year prior in Los Angeles) not so much. Musical salutes, including to Mardi Gras and Louis Armstrong (’70 and ’72, respectively) took place, appropriately enough, in New Orleans. “It’s a Small World” happened in the shadow of Pasadena’s Disneyland for 1977’s Super Bowl XI.
More recent appearances, however, have been perplexing. Why, for example, was Gloria Estefan performing in Minneapolis for XXVI, while, Prince hit Miami for XLI? What were British legends the Stones doing in Detroit for XL while Motown superstars Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin would loved to have been ‘livin’ for the city’? And now we have The Who in Miami. About the only fit I can think of is the fact that their mega-hit from nearly 40-years ago, “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” is also the theme song for the TV series “CSI:Miami.” A stretch to be sure.
My point in all of this is that the musical choices for football’s biggest event should make sense, geographically, demographically and otherwise. Why not some Latin flavor this year, coupled with a combination of Midwest (maybe some Chicago-style blues for the Colts) and Creole (calling the Neville brothers). At the very least, the Super Bowl Committee should try to involve groups that are relevant now, just as the game is a showcase of today’s gridiron stars. What about one of this year’s hottest Grammy winners, for example, Kings of Leon? And no offense to Tom Petty or the Boss or Paul McCartney—but perhaps these legends of yesteryear should be playing elsewhere, like, the Hall of Fame Game.