by Christopher Stout - 02/01/2006
The Super Bowl is a uniquely American fusion of athleticism and advertising. It is, in a word, a spectacle. Advertisers prepare for this moment all year long. On this day, viewers are more receptive, because their televisions are locked on the same channel for hours.
On Super Bowl Sunday, millions of binge-snacking viewers tune in to be entertained. In this amusement-hungry environment, pauses in the game receive as much attention as the game itself. The fierce desire for entertainment is especially important during the game's longest pause. With only two options to choose from, your choice for Super Bowl Halftime entertainment should be an easy one to make.
The Super Bowl always promises to be longer than any football game you've seen all season. Each year, it appears as if there's more commercials than actual football, and the figures for commercial spots are astronomical. For 30 seconds of airtime, companies must fork out $2.4 million. That's almost a 7 percent increase over last year's ridiculous figure!
After the first half of the game, many commercials already start repeating. The advertising and football action may subside a bit, but the strong desire for entertainment is still there in the viewer.
For this reason, the Super Bowl Halftime Show was created.
Typically the official Super Bowl Halftime Show involves crazy cross-promotions, pyrotechnics, crescendo finales and the manufactured medley of divergent musical acts. Super Bowl XXXVII, for example, featured the following complimentary performers: Shania Twain, No Doubt and Sting. I think it's safe to say that these entertainers haven't shared a single stage since.
The musical-medley mentality would not survive after Super Bowl XXXVIII. That particular halftime show featured Nelly, P. Diddy, Kid Rock, Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson.
On that infamous day in February 2004, the most devastating and disturbing event in Super Bowl Halftime Show history took place. After Justin Timberlake accidentally ripped off a booby patch, Janet Jackson's breast became partly uncovered. Some called it a preconceived stunt, while Timberlake called it a "wardrobe malfunction." The grotesque episode sent shockwaves across America.
One brave woman, Terri Carlin, started a class action lawsuit against Timberlake and Jackson on behalf of all the outraged Americans that were injured by the incident. The lawsuit scolded the artists for "sexually explicit acts solely designed to garner publicity and, ultimately, to increase profits for themselves." After a valiant attempt to seek maximum punitive and compensatory damages from the two pop stars, the lawsuit was dropped.
The near-partial-exposure of Janet Jackson's shielded nipple sent in motion a campaign to rid the airwaves of indecency.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began issuing huge fines. Viacom, who owns CBS (the station that aired the event) and MTV (the station that presented the event), was slapped with the biggest fine in television history. The NFL banned MTV from ever presenting another Super Bowl Halftime Show, and members of Congress took swift action to increase the maximum penalties that could be levied for such indecency.
As a result of this national purification movement, Howard Stern is in outer space and most sporting and other live events are now broadcasted on a time-delay. We are now safely shielded from the horrors of future live exposures and controversial content.
After all that nipple nonsense, the Super Bowl Halftime powers-that-be opted for a tamer, more geriatric approach to halftime entertainment. Gone are the lip-sinking teenyboppers and provocative pop-stars. It's now out with the new and in with the old.
Who could forget jamming to the fresh rockin' sounds of teenage-heartthrob Paul McCartney last year? And who isn't anxiously anticipating the elderly spectacle that is the Rolling Stones?
Hey, I like the oldies. That stuff sounds better than the other hip-pop that's normally showcased on halftime shows. But, you see, my problem is this: Who are they going to get for next year's show? I mean, can you name an act that's older and more TV friendly than the Rolling Stones?
I can't. Well, maybe I can. A high-spirited Willie Nelson-Barry Manilow duet during next year's Halftime Show sounds pretty enticing…
Anyway, this whole detoxification of Super Bowl sexiness makes me wonder. How long will it be before football fans are again allowed to see some halftime skin? Will the cameras pan toward the cheerleaders this year, or is still too soon for that? And when exactly did football fans become so traumatized by cleavage?
Well, for those who think that fine skin and pigskin go hand in hand, there is a Super Bowl Halftime event that is quickly becoming a popular alternative to the rocking sounds of senior citizens.
The Lingerie Bowl, promoted by Bodog, is the only halftime program featuring scantily-clad models playing full contact football. It's pure, unapologetic, shameless entertainment, and it's the only thing you should be watching during halftime.
The year it debuted, it was an instant success. Its increasing popularity is an affirmation of the fact that the great game needs gorgeous girls.
This year features the third installment of this new Super Bowl staple. Dennis Rodman was named the commissioner of the Lingerie Football League, and he's said that this year's "Ultimate Catfight" will be the most surprising one yet.
The overwhelming success of the Lingerie Bowl illustrates the absolute failure of the official Halftime Show to captivate and entertain Super Bowl viewers. The increased popularity of the Lingerie Bowl also indicates a backlash if you will, against the reactionary campaign to turn Super Bowl Sunday into a trip to Disneyland.
Football is brutal. These athletes are well paid and they're living out their dreams of playing championship-level professional football, but these guys don't play for guaranteed contracts like in other sports. No, football players destroy themselves for our own entertainment and a chance to wear a ring.
Football is about aggression and machismo and chest-pounding. It's about inflicting and receiving pain, and it's about glory.
The Super Bowl is the pinnacle of this football experience. On this Sunday, more than any other Sunday, football needs a complimentary softness. Football, in order to maintain its equilibrium, must balance its belligerence with a soothing dose of female distraction.
If your looking to get some satisfaction during halftime, forget the Stones. The Lingerie Bowl is halftime entertainment the way it should be: unafraid and wildly entertaining.