Sir Paul Revs Up For Super Bowl

Musician Sir Paul McCartney prepares to throw a football to the press at a news conference in Jacksonville, Fla., 2-3-05 to discuss his half-time show performance on 2-6-05 at Super Bowl XXXIX between the Eagles and the Patriots. AP

A year after the Janet Jackson debacle, the NFL has come up with the perfect way to clean up its act at halftime of the Super Bowl: Hire a British knight to entertain.

Sir Paul McCartney will be the only performer during the NFL's 12-minute extravaganza on Sunday. He promises not to cause the same furor Jackson stirred up last season when Justin Timberlake tore open her top at the end of the show and revealed her bare breast - the infamous "wardrobe malfunction."

And so, the former Beatles star has come full circle. Considered among the most edgy entertainers in the world during the 1960s, he has now become the safe choice.

"I had a slight inkling that there might be something like that attached to it," McCartney said at a news conference on Thursday. "That's OK. It's an honor to do it."

McCartney's play list - he has hundreds of songs to choose from - is a secret, although everything has been vetted and approved by the NFL to ensure he doesn't sing anything that might be offensive.

The 62-year-old icon, who was knighted in London nine years ago, told reporters he's quite sure there is no chance he will have a "wardrobe malfunction" during this year's show.

"I can assure you I won't, because I'll be naked," joked McCartney, who will of course be fully clothed as usual.

Fox, which is televising the game, has opted against an eight-second delay of the telecast as a way of preventing something inappropriate from airing. Short delays on live events became much more popular in the aftermath of the Jackson affair.

"Basically, we're treating the Super Bowl as a news event," Fox spokesman Dan Hill said. "We don't believe in tape-delaying news events."

Last year, the Jackson episode prompted congressional hearings, stricter Federal Communication Commission rules, and triggered $550,000 in fines against the 20 CBS-owned stations that carried the game.

The NFL swore it would never give up control of its entertainment again. It hired producer Don Mischer, who has experience with awards shows, political conventions and a past Super Bowl.

"We're not anticipating anything" going wrong, says Mischer, "but you never know. Live TV is live TV. Someone could do something."

The NFL is touting this show as one that keeps in line with the Super Bowl theme in Jacksonville, "Building Bridges." Few singers have done that better during the last 40 years than Sir Paul. Three years ago, in the Super Bowl following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, McCartney appeared during the pregame show and sang a new song, "Freedom."

"It's peace, love, 'Come Together,' " said McCartney, when asked about his message. "That's as good a message as I can deliver."


By Eddie Pells
  • Christine Lagorio

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