The Press Box Perspective: NFL Gets It Wrong Again in Selecting Super Bowl Halftime Act

By Andrew Zuhosky

Last week, the NFL announced that pop music superstar Lady Gaga will headline the Super Bowl LI halftime show this coming February. I have but one question to pose today.

Why? Why is the NFL now routinely booking pop acts for the biggest one-day sporting event of the year’s halftime show when there are so many great rock and heavy metal acts out there?

For instance, the NFL could have booked the Red Hot Chili Peppers for the halftime show instead of Gaga. Only one problem would have existed here.

The weekend of the Super Bowl, the Chili Peppers will be in the midst of a tour in the United States and Canada and have an off night on Feb 5, the night of the game, in between shows in Toronto the night before and Boston the following Tuesday.

What about Volbeat, a metal band out of Copenhagen? I just checked their tour itinerary as I wrote this column and their current tour in support of their new album “Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie” ends its European leg in early December. They’d be available to do the halftime show in February, no problem.

How about Foo Fighters, a band which famously canceled a South American tour solely to perform their 1997 hit song “Everlong” on David Letterman’s first night back as host of “The Late Show” in 2000 after his open heart surgery?

I don’t know about you, but every time I hear “Everlong” played on the radio, I get goose bumps. Just imagine Dave Grohl and his band mates performing that song live in front of a stadium full of people and an international television audience. It’s truly a motivational song to me.

As far as I know, Foo Fighters are not scheduled to be on tour in the near future, so they’d probably be available that first weekend of February, too.

What about Metallica for the Super Bowl halftime show? Out of all the acts mentioned so far, Metallica, who is performing on this evening’s “Tonight Show,” would be perfect!

They’re releasing a new album, “Hardwired … to Self-Destruct” in November (their 10th record), their single “Hardwired” is all the rage on the radio now (that is, if you listen to rock radio stations like I do) and they’re LEGENDARY in rock music history.

All of America would commence mass head-banging if Metallica would be the halftime act.

How about another suggestion, away from the rock scene? The Super Bowl airs on FOX this year, so why not have the cast of the FOX megahit drama series “Empire” perform some tracks from their show?!

Even though FOX is not airing a new “Empire” episode right after the game (that honor goes to the new “24” miniseries “24: Legacy,”) it would still be pretty damn entertaining to see the cast of my favorite show performing some great songs.

Getting back to the NFL’s selection of Gaga for a moment; I still can’t figure out for the life of me why they would choose her over great bands like Metallica, Foo and the Chili Peppers. It’s just mind-boggling.

I don’t think there are too many people out there who are fans of the NFL who are also fans of Lady Gaga.  In my opinion, the goal of the Super Bowl halftime show is to pump fans up, both in the stadium and at a watch party at home or at a bar, for the second half.

I don’t think the players listen to Gaga’s music to pump themselves up in the locker room, either.

Quite simply, the booking of pop acts needs to stop. Let’s rock out for halftime!

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