UPDATE (6:50p ET): Turns out Chesney said last Friday that he wanted the gig.
Speculation is already heating up in the music industry about who will be the 2011 Super Bowl halftime musical act at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.
(Chesney is friends with Peyton Manning)
Before I get to the candidates, let me clarify exactly who will make the call on the halftime show: Charles Coplin, Vice President of Programming for the NFL and Lawrence Randall, the NFL’s director of programming. (Believe it or not, 2011 Super Bowl host Jerry Jones will have very little influence on who gets the gig.)
Coplin talked about the Super Bowl halftime show to Reuters last week, including his criteria for selecting the act:
“We stay away from overexposed acts. When was the last time you saw the Who on TV? We like acts whose songs are very familiar to people of all ages, all demographics.
“There are other acts who do wonderful things and their music is tremendous, but it’s not always as anthemic and explosive, and when you’re doing something like the Super Bowl, those two words are really vital parts of making a show come to life.”
So who will be privileged the gig at Cowboys Stadium? My source said it’s a virtual lock that the NFL will go country for the big game in Dallas next February. To the end, I was also provided the five most likely candidates.
On the subject of possible acts, my source offered up five candidates:
1) Kenny Chesney
2) Garth Brooks
3) Tim McGraw
4) Brooks & Dunn
5) Jimmy Buffett
My source didn’t think any female acts would be under serious consideration, though he threw out the Dixie Chicks as a long shot.
Now think back to Coplin’s earlier comment about criteria for selection. He said that the act should be “explosive,” have “anthemic” songs and not be “overexposed.”
Of the above acts, Brooks probably fits that description best and he has the most history with the NFL. But that might actually not be a good thing.
He sang the national anthem for the ‘93 Super Bowl, but ABC NEWS reports that he, “threatened to leave the stadium minutes before he was scheduled to perform unless NBC played his new video.”
That development led the NFL to require all future anthem singers have a backup tape.
In 2007, I reported that Brooks was the NFL’s top choice to play the 2008 Super Bowl halftime show, but when negotiations “broke down,” the league gave the gig to The Eagles.
As for Chesney, I was also told that his “wandering around Miami” at Super Bowl festivities last week wasn’t a coincidence. (Chesney appeared on ESPN’s Super Bowl pregame show.) Though a football fan and friend of Saints Coach Sean Payton and Colts QB Peyton Manning, my source said Chesney was also there quietly “lobbying” the league for consideration for the 2011 halftime gig.
When you consider Chesney’s enthusiasm for the league and Brooks’ previous, rocky relationship with the NFL, perhaps that gives Chesney an edge if it comes down to those two.
That doesn’t mean that Chesney will get the gig, but if the NFL does indeed go country, he’ll definitely gain heavy consideration. (When the call is made, as in past years here, there’s a good chance you’ll be among the first to know.)
As for the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl, the early betting will be heavy on John Mellencamp. Likewise Harry Connick, Jr., at the 2013 New Orleans Super Bowl.
Sounds reasonable, eh?
My source shot them both down: “(Mellencamp and Connick) aren’t big enough nationally. Locality means nothing to the NFL as its a world wide broadcast.“