For anyone reading these words the Super Bowl is a massively gigantic football game that represents the culmination of a season, and the pinnacle of a sport you follow intensely. For many, many others it’s a social event and a business opportunity.
Sure, you’ll partake in the nacho eating and guacamole making for Super Bowl Sunday too, and you may even drink a few beverages that come packaged in neat brown bottles. But football remains your primary focus.
This is why the halftime show doesn’t matter to us. Those 20 minutes or so are much better used to re-stock the cooler, and check to make sure uncle Bob hasn’t cheated on the props sheet. But we’re in the minority.
The Superbowl is appointment television for those with a casual interest in football, or anyone who just simply wants to remain in touch with pop culture. It’s an experience that goes far beyond a game, and people need to be entertained when football takes its halftime break.
So let’s give the people what they want this year at halftime. What? They want Madonna? Sigh.
Yes, the material girl will dance like a virgin Feb. 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis according to a report by SBNation. A league spokesman declined to comment, but this certainly falls in line with the conservative kid gloves trend the NFL has followed since Janet Jackson’s boobgate in 2004.
Madonna brings the two main elements needed from a successful Super Bowl halftime performer: the ability to connect with multiple generations, and intrigue. The Madonna we knew (or you may have known her, don’t get me involved in this) 20 years ago is gone, and she no longer has the controversial stage presence that defined being a bad girl long before Rihanna was even born.
That Madonna wore pointy weird things, and gave obscene gestures while wearing a coat she stole from Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Tehcnicolor Dreamcoat. Today’s Madonna is considered scandalous when she’s accused of making people turn to avoid gazing at her face. But she’s still an iconic performer, and the fact that she’s a bad girl gone good won’t stop that mass, casual audience from tuning in to see if maybe for even a few minutes the old Madonna returns.
For those complaining about another halftime show without a modern act on stage, and with a performer who was alive when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 3 (Madonna is 53), I have a rebuttal in video form…
The NFL is the all-seeing, almighty kingpin of North American sports. But a business that’s content with its growth is a business that’s also content to see it’s growth stop. Many viewers tune in just for the halftime show every year during the Super Bowl, and Madonna certainly has enough influence and cultural appeal to prompt a few million clicker pickups. Those additional numbers translate into advertising dollars.
It’s the casual eyes who move the meter, and they don’t want to see Fergie forever ruining Sweet Child o’ Mine.