‘Rhapsody In Blue’ the perfect remedy to save the Super Bowl Halftime Show

I figure that planning for the Super Bowl halftime show begins about now, thus I have a plan. Stick with me on this.

These days, under the guidance of Roger “The Panderer” Goodell and the NFL’s Minister of Backward-Pointed Garbage, Jay-Z, the selection of every vulgarity-mouthing, crotch-grabbing, N-word-spewing, woman-objectifying, violence -vowing, butt-twerking act that can fit on a stage has made the grade.

Under Goodell, the Super Bowl halftime show has become an annual showcase for the most corrosive, values-starved American entertainment — placed for mass, Sunday evening, prime-time family viewing.

And the shameless Goodell is issued an annual frightened entertainment media look-away pass by those who would indulge garbage rather than risk the ridicule of those who have been force-fed toxic effluence as popular culture.

And if that weren’t indisputable, it would seem impossible.

This Super Bowl would be a wise, welcome time to reverse that trend as the NFL is again confronted with an image problem as the residual of a reality problem: The league has become even additionally loaded with antisocial bad guys, including criminals.

The NFL, as if Goodell doesn’t know what he’d never admit, is in desperate need of a course adjustment, and the Super Bowl halftime show would be just the place to display it.

Snoop Dogg performs at the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show.
Snoop Dogg performs at the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show.
Getty Images

Here’s my idea:

Bring in an entire, renowned philharmonic to play one of the greatest pieces of American music, George Gershwin’s 1924 “Rhapsody In Blue” — a stirring, mood-swinging symphony that blends and sends classical, jazz and rhythm-and-blues to a dramatic orchestral climax.

There are only good reasons why “Rhapsody in Blue,” nearly 100 years later, sticks in people’s heads, why it was selected as the music to sell soaring commercial airline flights, why its many versions and performers grow, why it’s a classic. Check YouTube.

And bring in a flamboyant pianist, the likes of Khatia Buniatishvili, to handle the many and varied solos. She knows how to play to varied audiences. She’d wow them here, there and everywhere.

“Rhapsody in Blue,” which lasts up to 12 minutes, per the conductor’s discretion, is the perfect length to fill halftime with something better than Snoop Dogg pulling on his genitalia while rapping vulgarities or Jennifer Lopez holding on to a stripper’s pole as she shakes here mostly exposed derrière in the nation’s face.

George Gershwin
George Gershwin

More: The stadium for Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Ariz., has a retractable roof, thus closing it to enhance the music with a dreamy light show would feed the feel and fuel the sounds.

What does the NFL have to lose? Its dignity? It sold that years ago. It’s time to see if it can retrieve some.

I guarantee that, if done right, “Rhapsody in Blue” would be the best of all Super Bowl halftimes — and at a time when the NFL, more than ever, needs to emphasize good over bad, needs to take a year off from the cruising the guys.

It might even introduce younger viewers to something else, something better, something more skilled and provocative above and beyond what the lowest common denominator commercial prompts demand of them.

It would, at least for one Sunday evening, and before it’s too late to return to a place the NFL has never been, provide a chance to prove the league hasn’t totally abandoned what it seems to have too easily surrendered: class.

Brees peddling ‘bet life’ scam

Among all the big names who have sold their names and reputations to sports gambling operations that rely on suckers to lose their dough, only admitted problem gambler Charles Barkley stands out as ugly and greedy as Drew Brees.

In the TV ads, in which Brees appears as a can’t-lose shill, he not only encourages fools to bet on games, but to bet more on those games while they’re in progress. Yeah, get in heavy and get in deep on every game!

Drew Brees
Drew Brees

And if that were a good idea for gamblers, no gambling operation would be pushing it any more than it would be plotting its own ruin.

Then Brees, smiling, encourages viewers — primary target: young males — to “live your ‘bet’ life!”

That’s right, spend your life betting the games and also during the games! When you tap out, leave a message for Brees. He’ll call you right back.

The hopeful thought that, with John Sterling calling fewer road games, Yankees radio broadcasts would be easier to suffer — perhaps even a summer’s weekend return to enjoying games while listening in the yard — has been dashed by Suzyn Waldman.

Her eagerness to be heard dominating — overwhelming — the substitute play-by-players with her self-assigned superior knowledge has become the residual burden of Sterling-free radio.

Heck, no one knows more about pitching than Waldman. She identifies two-seamers, four-seamers, 12-seamers, no-seamers, steamed seamers, seamed steamers, cutters, sinkers, clinkers, blinkers and winkers, sliders plain and with cheese, ketchup and pickles.

Suzyn Waldman
Suzyn Waldman
Jason Szenes

What good do such calls do for a radio audience? “Boy, that sure sounded like a four-seamer!” How about fastball or breaking pitch, just for starters?

Last Sunday, she pronounced Yankees reliever Jonathan Loaisiga cured as he targeted against his first batter, Yadier Molina. And after Molina, batting .208, popped out, she declared Loaisiga had “his swagger back.”

Loaisiga then allowed a single and walked two straight, giving up an earned run and two hits in one-third of an inning, before he was yanked. He swaggered towards the dugout.

Why Waldman, on this job since 2005, feels that in Sterling’s absences she must bash us over the head with such irrelevant details is a mystery.

Hitting specialists can’t hit

The Tigers, during a 4-3 home loss Thursday to Cleveland, had a lineup that included six batters hitting .221, .204, .000 (0-for-8 this season), .195, .141 and .152.

Also, the Diamondbacks at Pirates on Thursday totaled 13 players batting under .230, including six under .200.

Then there was the Rob Manfred No-Pitchers-Hit/No-Strategy-DH Game of the Week: The Giants’ LaMonte Wade, batting .187, versus the Athletics’ Jed Lowrie, batting .185. They totaled 0-for-6. Good to have those extra sticks in the lineup!

Rob Manfred
Rob Manfred
GilbertFlores@Broadimage / MEGA

On the day he announced his retirement, in October 2020, Doc Emrick received a congratulatory phone call from another retiree: Vin Scully.

Howie Rose, after Game 1 last Saturday, Mets 8, Braves 5: “It took an utterly ridiculous 3 hours and 53 minutes to play 8 ¹/₂ innings.” It was also a rare 1 pm Saturday afternoon Mets’ home game — only because it was a make-up of a rainout.

Both Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom last week ignored standing ovations when they left games. Not even a note. That stinks. And rising PGA star Cameron Young, from Westchester, seems to respond to applause with sneers.

Max Scherzer
Max Scherzer walks back to the dugout.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

If he hasn’t yet driven you to distraction, YES’s Cameron Maybin occasionally delivers. Tuesday he said that although the Yankees and Mariners have endlessly griped about home plate ump Ramon De Jesus, he has seen De Jesus as accurate and consistent. Rare to hear on Yankees telecasts.

Disturbing reports persist that Fox will promote analyst Daryl “Moose” Johnston to its No. 2 NFL teams. Johnston, who has never witnessed a football play unworthy of delivering a long speech, has been destroying Fox NFL telecasts since he was hired in 2001.


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