The Black Eyed Peas, Madonna, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, and “Weird” Al Yankovic? That grouping of artists may seem strange, but if an online petition at change.org is successful, “Weird” Al would be the halftime performer for Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona.
The petition currently has almost 100,000 signatures, and while other petitions have been created for this purpose in the past, this is the most successful “‘Weird’ Al for Halftime” petition to date.
Of course, the petition has little chance of convincing the NFL to offer the halftime gig to “Weird” Al, especially when 100,000 people is just slightly higher than the capacity of University of Phoenix Stadium, the host of Super Bowl XLIX. Also, last year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show with Bruno Mars had 115 million viewers in the United States alone, and sadly, “Weird” Al does not have enough worldwide name recognition for the NFL to consider him for halftime.
But what if Roger Goodell has a poster for UHF in his Manhattan office, and loves the accordion? What if the NFL did ask “Weird” Al to perform? Nerds would rejoice, sports fans would scratch their heads, and the world would be introduced to possibly the greatest polka medley ever. Except we don’t want “Weird” Al to accept this hypothetical invitation.
Why would we not want “Weird” Al to perform at halftime? Because Roger Goodell and the NFL are battling their worst offseason, possibly the worst in the league’s history.
Their team in Washington continues to fight for a nickname considered by many to be racist, with the number of media outlets and fans asking for a change increasing. The league had a federal judge side with the more than 4,500 players suing the league for failures within its concussion policies. Players with neurological diseases will receive compensation from the league for at least the next 65 years with the total settlement reaching $870 million.
Lastly, the league handed out a suspension of only two games to Ray Rice, a running back for the Baltimore Ravens, who knocked out his future wife, and then dragged her out of an elevator. Compare that suspension with an NFL player who smokes a joint, and could receive a season-long suspension for his second offense. Or the case of Robert Mathis of the Indianapolis Colts who was given a four-game suspension for taking a fertility drug. Goodell and the league spent the days after their decision defending Rice’s suspension while also offending anyone with common sense.
“Weird” Al, on the other hand, has had an amazing summer, probably his best summer professionally in 30 years.
On July 15th, he released his 14th studio album, Mandatory Fun, and over the course of the next eight days released eight music videos through various online outlets. This proved to be very successful, and Mandatory Fun became “Weird” Al’s first number one album during his 38-year career. It also led to some of his best reviews, and even a segment on ABC World News Tonight. “Weird” Al hasn’t been this popular since the early years of MTV when he was serving up parodies of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and Madonna’s “Like A Virgin.”
Even with this current rise in popularity, there is little to no chance that the NFL would actually ask “Weird” Al to perform at halftime. On the flip side, this rise in popularity gives “Weird” Al a chance to address the petition while also denouncing the NFL for some poor decisions over the past few months.
Sure, comedy fans (including myself) might be slightly disappointed that their dreams of crashing the largest sporting event in the country have been dashed, but “Weird” Al would keep his reputation as an all-round nice guy who also puts ethics before a paycheck.
Of course, performing at halftime would be very lucrative for “Weird” Al. While the NFL does not pay its halftime performers, the exposure of performing for hundreds of millions of people would increase sales of everything “Weird” Al-related. But does “Weird” Al seem like someone who is worried if he sells albums, or if UHF finally receives the recognition it deserves?
I could be wrong, but he seems very content with his current status, and adding “Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Performer” to his Wikipedia page doesn’t seem to be something he would care to do if the NFL came calling. Instead we should all have our own “Weird” Al halftime shows while someone like Katy Perry or Foo Fighters is taking the stage in Arizona by hitting mute in February, and playing 15 minutes of our favorite “Weird” Al songs.