NFL Plays It Safe Again During Super Bowl Halftime

Thursday, February 5, 2009

David Allan, Ph.D., an entertainment marketing expert, says Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band’s performance during Super Bowl XLIII’s halftime show was just another example of the NFL playing it safe. “Remember when rock was risky?” asks Allan. “Well now it’s the safest thing to broadcast during Super Bowl halftime, except for country.”

Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” at halftime of the 2004 game compelled the NFL to skew away from younger and bolder performers in favor of older and more mainstream acts. “Ever since Janet and Justin Timberlake decided to play dress up, or dress down as the case may be, the NFL has avoided taking risks,” says Allan.

He believes acts like The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers alienate an increasingly larger, younger demographic of the Super Bowl’s viewing audience.

“There are some great bands from the ’70s that are still rockin’, but they have little appeal for many viewers in their 20s or early 30s,” says Allan. “Can’t the NFL get a little younger?”

Looking toward next year, Allan has a suggestion for NFL corporate: “How about Beyonce or even Coldplay?”

Allan, an assistant professor of marketing at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, has over 20 years of experience in media and ethics. In 2004, he was appointed to a National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Subcommittee on Indecency following the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident.

Media Contact

Allan can be reached for comment at, by calling 610-660-1637 or by contacting University Communications at 610-660-1355.

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