We know it’s hot out and we’ve got over a month until Labor Day, but NFL players across the country are reporting to training camp as you read this, and before you know it, the 2015-2016 NFL season will be here. And while it’s going to be a long time before we figure out who’s going to be hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy, we know where the game’s going to be held – San Francisco. That’s just one of the many reasons why it makes perfect sense to have Metallica play the Super Bowl halftime show on February 7th, 2016.
This year will be the 50th Super Bowl, and until relatively recently, the halftime shows have been pretty awful. Until the ’90s, they were generally a marching band or the squeaky clean singing organization Up With People. The 1989 halftime show was a goddamned magic show. For the past 24 years, they’ve improved somewhat, involving pop stars (Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder), and some legitimate rock bands (U2, Tom Petty, The Who, Prince, Bruce Springsteen). More often than not though, the rock has been buried, awkwardly shoehorned into in mash-ups and medleys. For example, Kid Rock was in that infamous Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake performance, but was upstaged by a nipple. In 2001, Aerosmith played alongside Britney Spears and ‘N Sync, and back in 2011, Slash jammed with the Black Eyed Peas. But the NFL needs to fully embrace metal and include Metallica this year.
Why? In short, the pros outweigh the cons:
1) They’re as popular as ever
Katy Perry might’ve looked good riding a lion last year, but Metallica’s self-titled Black Album is the biggest selling album of all time in the SoundScan era. In fact, Perry’s total album sales don’t add up to what the Black Album has sold this year. Appearing on one of the most-watched stages in the world is no big deal to them – Just check out this video of them casually playing in front of an estimated 100,000 people this past Saturday at Lollapalooza. If that looks and sounds like an entire city’s worth of people singing along and dancing to the most popular metal band ever, that’s because it’s exactly what it is.
2) They’re sports fans
There are some artists that wouldn’t want to play a show out of their comfort zone, but Metallica have plenty of experience in sports arenas. For the past three years, they’ve had annual Metallica nights with the San Francisco Giants. This past January, they had their first ever NHL night with the San Jose Sharks. They even played the National Anthem at the NBA Finals. As the defining band of the Big Four, why not have them play the Super Bowl halftime show to complete their Big Four of sports?
In addition, whether you like hard rock and metal or not, “Enter Sandman” is well-known enough of a song that everyone knows it (see above video). As Yankee closer Mariano Rivera took the mound for 17 years, the song was his soundtrack. Metallica even played it live at his last game. Essentially, Metallica is already synonymous with sports to many, so they should take it to the NFL as well.
3) They have the technology
If you’re one of the admittedly not that many people that saw Metallica Through the Never, you have to admit that Metallica’s stage show was unbelieveable. Essentially a ‘Greatest Hits’ of their past two deacades, there were lasers, the …And Justice For All crumbling justice statue, fire, and even the roadie mishap once again. The stage they played on itself was also essentially a gigantic TV screen. Garbled narrative of the film aside, the concert segments looked visually stunning, and with all those tricks and more up their sleeve, the band could create something that would blow Katy Perry’s left shark out of the water, so to speak.
Forgive the potential sexism of that headline. Both football and Metallica appeal to millions of people of both sexes. However, even though female viewership is increasing, the advertising is still generally marketed towards men, who still make up a higher viewership than females. Metallica appeals to a lot more female fans than the typical metal band as well, with ballads like “Nothing Else Matters” alongside their faster/heavier stuff. But the typical black t-shirt wearing hessian type dude that’s existed for 30 years is probably a Metallica fan. Did they care about watching Beyonce or Madonna with LMFAO? Probably not, but they’d sure as hell stick around to watch Metallica.
5) Public opinion is on their side
Sure, Metallica isn’t GWAR. But over 53,000 GWAR fans unsuccessfully petitioned to have them play the 2015 Super Bowl Halftime show this year. A petition has been started for Metallica to do so, if even a fraction of the 16 million people that bought the Black Album were in favor of them performing, they’d have hundreds of thousands of people on board (his petition only has 23,000 so far). That Metal Show co-host and Metal Blade recording artist Don Jamieson is on board, with him telling us:
When you think of the biggest and heaviest of all sports you think NFL football. When you think of the biggest and heaviest of the all bands you think Metallica. Two great tastes that taste great together…both explosive, both exciting and together ready to rock your Super Bowl world from opening kickoff to the last second ticks off the clock!
6) They might have something to promote by then
We’ve heard a new song, we’ve seen pictures of them in the studio, and not counting Lulu, it’s been seven years since Metallica have had an album out. They definitely appear to be taking their time recording the new one, but they’re certainly not doing a lot of touring. So it would stand to reason that sometime between now and then, even if they don’t have an album proper out by February, they’ll hopefully have at least another song. Perhaps even one that could be world premiered at Super Bowl 50!
As stated above, Metallica are pretty much the band of choice in the Bay Area for sports. It’s not like they’d have to travel to play the Super Bowl, and they’d be able to properly represent their hometown.
Cons? Sure there are a few. Most of the time when bands perform at the Super Bowl, the acts are required to pre-record their songs and lip-sync to them. That’s likely something Metallica wouldn’t want to do. There’s also the fact that even though Metallica are a mass appeal rock/metal band, the perception of some non-metal fans of them as too heavy could cause some tuneout. That’s about all we can think of, though.
We reached out the NFL for comment, and they replied, stating “We don’t comment on the halftime show until we announce talent.” So basically, they haven’t said no yet!
[Photos: Jon Landman; video: Graham Rothenberg]