In 2002, Lewis Black spoke for so many of us sports fans in America who just wanted the second half of the Super Bowl to start already. Or at least, he spoke for this kid who was a college sophomore in suburban Boston at the time.
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Two years later as the final straw came for yours truly when that infamous wardrobe malfunction became the impetus for bringing seemingly safe (or boring) musicians onto the big stage (someone explain how Justin Timberlake STILL skated from that controversy compared to Janet Jackson). Sitting through the mostly horrible marriage of pop music and spectator sports had become too much.
(Well, there was one exception. His name is Prince. His performance was the greatest ever, don’t you dare dispute it.)
The sheer fact that there is not a musician alive (or dead, for that matter) who the general public would be happy to see perform at the Super Bowl makes avoiding the musical interlude all the more critical when it comes to taking in the last gasp of meaningful football until September. Unless the NFL announced that Prince gets a second invite from the folks on Madison Avenue or the league posts bail for Bobby Schmurda, I’ll be looking elsewhere for my halftime entertainment.
While I’ve had alternate halftime shows for years now, here’s what I’ve tuned into over the last four Super Bowls:
- In 2012, fictional baseball god Kenny Powers (HBO’s Eastbound and Down) cussed his way into my life while many of you wondered what the hell that Madonna/M.I.A./Cee-Lo show was supposed to be.
- After she used Media Day to prove that she was some sort of queen in 2013, Beyoncé was cast aside for Drake… Mallard, as in the terror the flaps in the night, Darkwing Duck.
- When Bruno Mars (whose performance was well-received) and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers took the stage in New Orleans, yours truly went across the pond and got Spaced (shout out to Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Jessica Hynes).
- Last February, Left Shark (and Katy Perry) entertained the household while I watched the famously insane Macho Man and Ultimate Warrior promos with a slight tear in my eye for the fallen wrestlers.
So with Coldplay and the return of ‘Yonce primed to inspire multiple memes and jokes that’ll grow stale by the start of the 3rd quarter, it’s safe to say that I plan to be nowhere near the television when the Broncos and Panthers head into their respective locker rooms. However, for the first time, I'm soliciting the help of TSFJ readers in determining Scribe’s Super Bowl 50 Alternative Halftime Show.
What do you get for your vote? For the time being, eternal gratitude.
Here are the options, although I will consider write-ins.
- Ric Flair promos: If anything, watching the Nature Boy go berzerk on the mic keeps a Carolina connection.
- An episode of Gargoyles: Their "dog" is called Bronx. I'm originally from The Bronx. It works.
- The Puppy Bowl. Because why the hell not?
- A Sean Price listening session: I'll use just about any occasion to pay homage to the late, great "P!"
- Jamie Casino’s 2014 and 2015 Super Bowl ads on loop: Who? Oh, bless your heart if you don’t know who he is. Casino is a Savannah (GA)-based attorney who created two of the most remarkable Super Bowl commercials you may ever see. Was the 2014 entrant a trailer for a straight-to-Blu Ray action flick? Was last year's commercial an updated alternative rock video from 1998? You decide.
Maybe it’s unfair to Sunday's performers to assume that this will be another ugly collision between pop music and sports – though it would be best that their halftime set doesn't add more fuel to the fire that is the appropriation controversy surrounding their recent music video. Yet, for too many Super Bowls, the interlude overshadowed the game itself, as the Timberlake/Jackson incident made people forget that the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers were engaged in a great game.
In this Scribe's way of being safe or just outright silly, the alternative show passes the time in a way that awkward #brand tweets about either Coldplay or Beyoncé cannot. Let's just hope the game itself is better than anything we take in after the first half in Santa Clara.
Jason is the editor-in-chief here at TSFJ. In addition to a past life as a research analyst in advertising, television and online media, he spent seven seasons as the New York Beacon's beat writer for the New York Giants. Jason has written for Yardbarker, Dime Magazine, Decider, Awful Announcing and The Week. He is also a member of his high school's 4th period gym class floor hockey champions.
He shares more of his perspectives at jasonclinkscales.com.