Yes, I’m serious. Hear me out.
If the NFL really wanted to send ratings through the roof (further) it would have Justin Bieber perform at halftime of Super Bowl XLV, rather than the Black Eyed Peas, who according to SporstbyBrooks are slated to take the stage in Dallas on Feb. 6.
Let’s make this clear: I do not know a single song by Bieber, nor do I care to hear one. But I have a 6-year-old sister who, regretfully, has Bieber Fever, and there are millions of other unfortunate little girls (and boys) around the world who obsess over the 16-year-old Canadian pop sensation.
Real football fans and real Super Bowl fans — the two are not necessarily connected — will tune into the game regardless of who’s performing at halftime. Giving regular football viewers a performance that might cater to them (think: Pearl Jam, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers) doesn’t benefit the league.
In fact, it hardly benefits the viewers. The majority of hardcore football fans can do without the halftime show. I personally use it as a chance to eat dinner or, since I’ve started covering the game professionally, to catch up on notes.
The NFL needs/wants to pull in as many eyeballs as possible, and the best way to do that is to employ a performer or band that reaches non-football fans. The Super Bowl can become even more of a family experience by including something for tweens.
In fact, The Score’s Scott Carefoot and I were discussing this earlier today, and we concluded that the best strategy would be to go completely Nickelodeon on our asses. Give us a smorgasbord of adolescence. Give us a duet with Bieber and Miley Cyrus or Hannah Montana (whoever of the two is real). Give us the Jonas Brothers. And to capture the slightly older, extremely feminine audience, throw the cast of Glee on stage, too.
Real football fans will change the channel for 25 minutes — more love for the Lingerie Bowl! — but most of them don’t care for the halftime show anyway. Meanwhile, young girls will tune in. And maybe a small percentage of them will stick around for the second half.
And suddenly, the NFL has reached out to at least a fraction of an audience that has always seemed impenetrable.
With the decision to use the Black Eyed Peas this year, the league has sort of applied this strategy in a half-assed way. They do reach a younger, more hip audience, they do produce annoying and generally poor music, and they certainly provide a contemporary feel in comparison to recent “dead or alive?” performers.
But if you’re going to sell out and use a band with such hits as “My Humps,” “Let’s Get Retarded” and “Boom Boom Pow,” why not just take it one step further and turn it into the Mickey Mouse Club?