Another NFL season, another eye-rolling argument over why hard rock and heavy metal are constantly shut out from the Super Bowl Halftime Show. With sales figures in place and bands that have dominated the stadium circuit for decades, the old “it’s not what the public wants” argument that the mainstream shoves down our collective throat year after year doesn’t hold much water.
Now that Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo has expressed his desire to have AC/DC play during the official Super Bowl Halftime Show when the game takes place in Las Vegas a few months from now, we feel it’s a good time to whisper a few more suggestions into the ears of the powers-that-be…
They didn’t become the biggest heavy metal band in the world for their good looks. With infectious riffs and pulsing rhythms, Metallica filled stadiums on their own terms long before their breakthrough hit “Enter Sandman” became a staple at NFL games. Over four decades into their career, look no further than their current M72 tour for confirmation of the California titan’s ability to captivate an arena.
Although we think it’s a great idea, James Hetfield might disagree, as he once told Nikki Sixx about the prospect of playing the event (via Metal Sucks): “I can’t dance, I can’t jump around, I’m not an acrobat, I’m not a variety show, you know? We are artists. We’re a band. We love playing songs. We’re not gonna fly through the air on a sparkly star with a unicorn.”
Anthemic and iconic, Iron Maiden consistently put on a stage show that has captivated audiences the world over for generations. The closing track of their Number Of The Beast album, “Hallowed Be Thy Name” was occasionally used as bumper music by Fox Sports during 2022 season games. Whether or not the network continues the trend in 2023 remains to be seen, but the British metal gods would undoubtedly bring the house down if they were to play the Super Bowl Halftime Show. After all, can any football mascot come close to Eddie’s antics? I think not.
The ultimate modern arena rock band, Foo Fighters seem like a natural fit for the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Word on the street is that we’re not the only people who think so, either. In a 2018 interview with KROQ in LA, frontman Dave Grohl said (via Loudwire): “I’ve had multiple conversations over the years with them [the NFL] where they say, ‘We want to have a rock and roll band. Do you think you could do it? Do you think you could do a stadium?’ I was like, ‘Yeah man, we do it all the time.’ We’re like, ‘Oh my god, I think we’re gonna do the Super Bowl!’ And then it’ll be Madonna [who played in 2012] or Katy Perry  or someone like that.”
Guns N’ Roses
In 2011, the Black Eyed Peas committed a war crime of a Super Bowl Halftime Show that Rolling Stone ranked as the worst of all time. While the performance was horrible from top to bottom, the absolute lowlight of the 8-song set came when the pop-rappers brought Slash out for what has to be the worst rendition of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” ever performed. Given the fact that Guns N’ Roses have healed their personal relationships and professional reputation in recent years, the band are more than worthy to claim the stage and erase the memory of Fergie’s weird Axl Rose impression once and for all.
Football is a game of kinetic intensity that requires incredible strength, stamina, and choreography. If any band comes close to matching the physical and psychic rigor of a Super Bowl quality team, it’s Slipknot. Drummer Jay Weinberg once told Barstool Sports: “We’re like an athletic team — we’re more like a team than we are a band in a lot of ways. With the sheer number of people, and we all wear the same thing, and this and that, we kind of have a team mentality and a sports mentality about what we do.”
Liquid Death unveiled a delightfully heavy Super Bowl ad in 2022 that featured a party full of little kids and a pregnant mom pounding tall boys and going nuts while a heavy metal song blares on in the background. It’s all in good fun though, as Liquid Death tall boys are full of hydrating spring water and that heavy metal song is a half-assed cover of the Judas Priest hit “Breaking The Law” with Fat Mike from NOFX whining along in place of Rob Halford. Now, I’ve got nothing against water or Liquid Death, but as someone who doesn’t like children or partying or NOFX or on-the-nose irony, this commercial didn’t do it for me and I feel like the NFL owe me a personal apology in the form of having Judas Priest play this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show.
During the 2013 regular season, a change.org petition to have GWAR play the Super Bowl Halftime Show generated a staggering 52,892 signatures. Although it didn’t happen, the NFL did reportedly reach out to the person who started the petition regarding the request. Oderus Urungus issued a press release on behalf of GWAR at the time, saying: “It has long been the joy of GWAR to submit the human race to any number of hideous tortures, and I can’t think of anything more horrible than you having to watch acts like The Black-Eyed Peas and Bruno Mars perform. So the temptation to ignore this is great! But then you start thinking about all of the people who have never experienced GWAR before, and will be forced to do so if we do get the gig, well, at that point my colossal mega-ego kicks in and I am all over it.”
After a long and wet fart, Oderus continued…”I really don’t think we should be limited to playing the halftime show … I am offering GWAR as an actual team that could complete (sic) in the NFL. Think of the titanic struggle involved as the NFL submits their best players, hell, we could play against all the teams at once and still emerge victorious. For too long has the NFL ignored the obvious fact that the players should be naked, blind-folded and armed with battle axes, that land mines should litter the field and whalers should hurl harpoons randomly from the stands. GWAR is throwing our entire cosmic weight (and we are fairly hefty) behind this petition, and command all of our followers, their families, and indeed anybody who has ever existed to sign this [f—ing] thing.”
Losing Oderus Urungus (aka Dave Brockie) was a tragedy, yet GWAR continues to kill and kill again. The Super Bowl is the perfect vehicle for the Scumdogs to subjugate and humiliate the human race, so let’s do it for Dave and get them on that stage!
Sure, they’ve broken up. However, we live in 2023 and death itself no longer prohibits the occasional live show by a cherished act. Metallica might be the biggest metal band of all time, but nobody comes close to eliciting the level of passionate fanaticism of Slayer fans. If Prince captured the hearts and minds of the entire world when he played “Purple Rain” in the middle of a deluge (and let’s be real, that’s possibly the coolest thing that has ever happened in the history of forever), Slayer are certain to invoke a goddamn hurricane in the middle of the Nevada desert when they play “Raining Blood.” The entire universe will lose its collective mind and your dad will carve SLAYER into his arm. As a species, we need this.
No music is more synonymous with sporting events than Queen songs. Although their legendary frontman Freddie Mercury passed away due to complications from an AIDS-related illness in 1991, the British arena rock juggernauts have soldiered on in the 21st century with assistance from Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers and American Idol sensation Adam Lambert. Given the fact that they’ve played the goddamn Olympics in recent years and guitarist Brain May even played “God Save The Queen” atop Buckingham fucking Palace, it seems like the Super Bowl Halftime Show would be a natural drop in the proverbial bucket. If we’re gonna hear “We Will Rock You / We Are The Champions” and “Another One Bites The Dust” pumped over the stadium PA that night anyway, wouldn’t it be appropriate to have it live?
Although it would be a long shot on the best of days, the fact that he hasn’t been in playing shape since a spinal injury in 2019 makes the possibility of an Ozzy Osbourne performance extraordinarily unlikely. That being said, if the Prince Of Darkness is to step away from the stage for the rest of his days, it’s hard to imagine a better swan song than “Crazy Train” at the Super Bowl Halftime Show. It’s not gonna happen for a litany of reasons, but a boy can and will dream…