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Maroon 5? Uh, no. Here’s what a real halftime show would look like with some locally relevant acts next February

By Jonathan Jones
September 20, 2018

On Wednesday afternoon, Variety reported that Maroon 5 would be the halftime performers for Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. An internationally known band with a number of hit singles, Maroon 5 is a totally good and safe pick to play the NFL’s biggest show. Here’s the problem: Atlanta is home to some of the best rappers in the game today, and ever. Below I’ve put together some fan fiction of what a Super Bowl halftime show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium would look like with those local acts …

Thirty minutes goes on the clock and stagehands hurry with equipment as the NFC and AFC champions jog back for their unusually long locker room stay. The lights dim, and about five minutes later we’re ready. Jermaine Dupri is illuminated on stage.

“Yo, yo, y-y-yo, yo, yo,” Dupri begins as “Welcome to Atlanta” kicks off. He does his verse and chorus, wanders to the left side of the stage and slips into darkness. On the right stands T.I. in a black jacket, and he seamlessly starts into “Live Your Life.” (The NFL really wanted Rihanna here to do her famous chorus but couldn’t afford her.)

Next up is Jeezy. “I Put On for My City” starts up as the stadium is in complete darkness and the crowd roars. Here is the beginning of the trap music segment of the show. Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz will join for a quick rendition of “Good Drank,” before we transition to Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” chorus. Now … it’s Migos time.

“In the kitchen, wrist twistin like it’s stir fry (whip it!),” they rap as the entire stage is lit up. They finish a verse and chorus and make way for the OGs.

Ludacris, who had been conspicuously absent from Dupri’s opener, comes on stage and remarks that he’s standing on the 50-yard line. But we’re not in the Georgia Dome, so there will be no “What’s Your Fantasy.” Instead, to his left walks out Usher. To his right, Lil’ Jon. “Yeah!” begins, and even the blue-haired grandmother the NFL donated tickets to is dancing with her walker.

Oh, you thought this was the finale? Remember how the NFL couldn’t afford Rihanna? That’s because they gave the bag to Big Boi and Andre 3000 to reunite for the last song. The crowd wants “Bombs over Baghdad (B.O.B.),” but the contract stipulates they have to play one of their No. 1 hits.

“Hey Ya!” blasts. Everyone in the crowd and at home does the jazz-hands thing during the chorus, and as all the lights come back on and the stage is deconstructed, we all realize we’ve seen the greatest live concert since The Last Waltz.

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NOW ON THE MMQB: Chris Ballard takes you inside the healing (?) brain of former NFL linebacker Gary Plummer. … Andy Benoit looks at the problems Dak Prescott faces in Year 3. … Conor Orr on the relationship between backup Josh McCown and future-of-the-franchise Sam Darnoldand more.

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Our latest power rankings have the Jaguars atop the league … Ben Baskin takes a long look at Josh Allen’s starting debut in Buffalo … Andrew Brandt says don’t be surprised if all first-round rookie quarterbacks see the field this year … Back in January, SI’s Mark Bechtel recast every Super Bowl halftime show with the acts that should have played that year ...  and more.


1. ESPN admits it erred in not showing at least some of Brian Urlacher’s Hall of Fame ring ceremony during halftime of Monday night’s game at Soldier Field.

2. The Athletic’s Travis Haney looks to the film to find the good and bad of Malcolm Butler’s first two games with the Titans.

3. An upcoming book by ESPN’s Ian O’Connor reports that Tom Brady felt trapped last season and was unsure whether he wanted to continue playing for Bill Belichick.

4. A film study from the Boston Globe shows Josh Gordon has what it takes to contribute to the Patriots offense right away.

5. Former Bills linebacker Kevin Reddick is raising money for his hometown of New Bern. N.C., which was hit hard by Hurricane Florence last week.

6. Read this beautiful, crushing essay by Niners defensive end Solomon Thomas on the suicide of his older sister.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.


It’s not surprising, unfortunately, to hear of someone still using tired black quarterback tropes in 2018. Furthermore, it’s still unsurprising that those views are held by a Texas school superintendent. I hope parents and those in power in that district are appropriately outraged that someone with that type of control over the minds of youths holds those beliefs, and that action is taken against him as it relates to his employment.

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