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Eric Wilbur's Sports Blog

This Year's Super Bowl Halftime Show Will Be Brought to You by Transparent Greed


In its annual attempt to find the most generic band that can play non-offensive dribble to the masses (i.e., whoever sells well at Wal-Mart), the NFL has reportedly whittled its list of Top 40 schlock down to three bands to potentially fill the halftime show at Super Bowl XLVIII: Coldplay, Rihanna, and Katy Perry.

Meh. What, the cast of "Frozen" wasn't available?

Like it’s not bad enough that the NFL may unleash Chris Martin on America, this year’s halftime show has come with a new planning wrinkle, one so astoundingly filled with transparent greed that it’s surprising even for Czar Roger Goodell. According to the Wall Street Journal, the league wants the acts to consider paying them for the privilege of getting to play the Super Bowl, either by contributing cash from their ensuing post-Super Bowl tour, or some other type of monetary submission.

Just a reminder, the NFL will make $10 billion this year.

As Yahoo points out, Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage for for about 12 minutes in the Super Bowl earlier this year, during, what was dubbed ”The Super Bowl Pepsi Halftime Show.” Of course, with commercial time valued at about $4 million per 30 seconds, that was about $100 million of publicity for the bands, at least according to numbers set by the NFL and its broadcast partners for “The Super Bowl Pepsi Halftime Show.”

Oh, did we mention it was already called “The Super Bowl Pepsi Halftime Show?”

Apparently having a sponsor for the show is only one step toward maximizing returns. At what point does the league decide to charge the teams involved in the game for the right to play for the Lombardi Trophy?

There’s no mention of charity, no hint of what sort of percentage the league would be looking for from the band’s “tour income.” Joanna Hunter, a spokeswoman for the NFL, told CNBC that the league's goal is "to put on the best show possible.”

Shouldn’t it talk to the Denver Broncos’ quarterback about that?

How many ways can the NFL make its fans hate it before enough is enough? The league's nothing to see here culpability when it comes to the long-term effects of concussions makes the entire enterprise so unlikable, but it remains a complicated issue and one that the players clearly eschew in favor or competition and fortune. It also has Phil Simms as an analyst.

But this? This takes huge ones, even for the NFL, the most powerful sport in America, bloated with a popularity that the league only continues to exploit with all the integrity of a group of slithering used car salesmen. It'll be fascinating to see if any of the acts succumb to the ridiculous request, or at the very least, demand that their contribution go to a charitable fund. Otherwise, hopefully Coldplay, Perry, and Rihanna all tell Goodell and friends to go screw.

If that happens, I'll even buy all their albums.

Well, maybe.

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