22 alternative ideas for a Super Bowl halftime show

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Just put monkeys on dogs, please.

Maroon 5 is an ideal choice for the Super Bowl 53 halftime show, from the NFL’s perspective. They have mass appeal — even if that means they’re perfectly bland and not even close to your favorite band.

Toss rappers Big Boi and Travis Scott on to the stage too, and you’ve got all the pieces for a flashy show that nobody is that excited about. It’ll have all the excitement of a show with fireworks and dazzling lights, except without — ya know — the excitement.

You can probably think of a musical artist or band you’d rather see. For me, it’s probably the Foo Fighters. That’s doable, right?

Instead, we get Maroon 5 this year and probably someone like Imagine Dragons or Ariana Grande next year. It’s all just fine.

But this is the Super Bowl! It costs over $5 million just to play a commercial. Surely we can do so much better than a meh concert.

The NFL can’t entertain everyone no matter who it chooses to perform. So just stop trying to do that. Here are the 22 ideas from the top of my head that I think we’d all enjoy more than a [Insert Top 40 Pop Band/Artist] performance:

1. A medieval times joust

If you really want to up the stakes, throw some celebrities into the joust tournament. I bet Gary Busey would be down to give it a try.

2. Iron Chef competition

3. Lock David Blaine in a box underwater


monkeydogWAITRAMS - 22 alternative ideas for a Super Bowl halftime show

5. Mascots racing each other

Who doesn’t love the presidents racing each other at Washington Nationals games? Just do something like that with NFL mascots. Turn it into a Wipeout course if you really want to get wild.

Just maybe don’t invite noted mascot destroyer Jamal Adams.

6. Mascots destroying a Pop Warner football team

I’m a big fan of little kids playing sports at halftime. Watching a Zamboni clear the ice during a hockey intermission is pretty cool, but the best is when it comes after a troop of kids in oversized pads play some hockey.

The only thing better than kids playing each other is when they get dominated by large, creepy mascots with permanent smiles. Here’s about two minutes of it for your enjoyment:

Notice about half of that video features the Colts mascot, Blue — who is especially rude to kids. For the sake of Super Bowl wholesomeness, he might have to stay home.

7. Derek Carr vs. Stephen A. Smith UFC fight

So here’s a dumb thing that will never, ever happen:

But hey, we’re here to dream up silly things to watch instead of Maroon 5. Watching slight underdog Derek Carr (HOW?! HE’S A 27-YEAR-OLD PRO ATHLETE AGAINST A 51-YEAR-OLD SPORTS ANALYST) fight Stephen A. Smith is something I’m more than willing to watch.

8. Pro Bowl players playing dodgeball

In an attempt to inject some fun into the Pro Bowl, the NFL added more things for its freakishly athletic stars to do besides a pointless and boring exhibition game. One of the ideas was dodgeball, and it turned out to be awesome.

Last year, it ended with receiver Jarvis Landry and kicker Graham Gano in a one-on-one duel for the ages.

Tell me you wouldn’t enjoy that over a concert.

Really, the NFL should just make the Pro Bowl one giant game of dodgeball.

9. On that note, Pro Bowlers doing any of these 10 alternative Skills Showdown ideas that range from Legends of the Hidden Temple to a hot dog eating contest.

10. I’ll also add Pro Bowlers doing the American Gladiators course


12. BattleBots

I’ll admit: The idea of homemade robots destroying each on a TV show was way more fun to me when I was 12 than it is now. But the idea of watching it together with over 100 million people and then talking about it with friends, family, and the internet? I’m in.

13. A short film from the Syfy Channel

Y’all ever seen a Syfy movie? You’ve probably heard of Sharknado, but there’s so, so much more. There’s Lavalantula, Mega Piranha, Dinocroc, Sharktopus. The list goes on and on. Give them a 10- to 15-minute spot to cook up some dumb monster and I guarantee we’ll be entertained.

14. A home run derby

15. A slam dunk contest

16. Pro Bowlers doing the two ideas above

17. Pro Bowlers playing bubble soccer

Just use the Pro Bowlers.

17. Nothing but a bunch of movie and TV trailers

The millions of us who love Game of Thrones would be extremely hyped to see a new trailer during the Super Bowl. Then just do that with Stranger Things, Westworld, a new Star Wars movie, an Avengers movie, etc. Let’s nerd all the way out.

18. Mario Kart race on the Jumbotron

The Kansas City Royals did it.

The halo of video screens at Mercedes-Benz Stadium could make for some interesting video game racing.

19. Dogs running through obstacle courses

20. Ultimate frisbee with dogs playing defense

I’m imagining the world’s best ultimate frisbee teams trying to play a game while dogs jump all over the place trying to get the frisbee. It’d be good — just like the dogs.

21. A WWE match for a spot in WrestleMania


It’d be great, I promise.

Twitter had its own ideas too

We asked social media to chime in with their own thoughts, and a lot of people were on the same page with me.

Maroon 5 will probably do just fine. There will be pyrotechnics and dancers and some random moment that becomes a meme. But we could do so, so much better.

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