SAN FRANCISCO, California – British rockers Coldplay said Thursday they were overjoyed to headline the prestigious Super Bowl halftime show but admitted they knew little about U.S. football.
Frontman Chris Martin said the group — who will perform with Beyonce at Sunday’s championship game in San Francisco — had studied past Super Bowl performances and hoped to put on “a show as memorable as some of our favorites.”
“I think we’re firmly split down the middle between those of us who know absolutely nothing about football and those of us who know almost absolutely nothing about football,” guitarist Jonny Buckland told a news conference.
Martin joked that the band was looking for a good game from Lebron James, who is one of the top U.S. athletes — but in basketball, not in the NFL.
The Super Bowl is the biggest U.S. television event of the year, with last year’s halftime show drawing a record 118.5 million viewers.
But with high viewership comes intense scrutiny, and last year’s show by Katy Perry was overshadowed by the “left shark” — a backup dancer in a shark outfit who appeared out of synch.
Asked if Coldplay had contingency “shark” plans, Martin quipped that the band had invested time in training sharks and had “a reserve shark in case one of the first sharks has a problem.”
“Everything will shut down for two minutes while we replace whichever shark messed up,” Martin said, promising a delay on the broadcast “so no viewer at home will have any shark-based trauma.”
Thinking further about the issue, Martin said: “It’s a difficult question to answer. You’re basically saying which part of our show will we fuck up terribly,” a remark that inadvertently was a faux pas in itself as the National Football League frowns on profanity.
Coldplay will be the first non-American act to headline the halftime show since British rock legends The Who in 2010.
Martin voiced excitement about appearing with Beyonce, calling the pop diva “one of our all-time favorites.”
The halftime show will also feature Bruno Mars and the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra led by Venezuelan maestro Gustavo Dudamel, while Lady Gaga will open the game by singing the national anthem.