The Super Bowl halftime show acts have been on the defensive for being involved with a league that's botched handling of player protests and allegedly blackballed of Colin Kaepernick. After canceling their press conference, Maroon 5's way around of the criticism seems to be a SpongeBob SquarePants.
A popular petition posted in the wake of the death of SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenberg asked the NFL to play the stadium song "Sweet Victory" at the halftime show. Maroon 5 nodded toward the idea in their promo video of the performance. They weren't bluffing, according to some surreptitious shots of their rehearsal.
For the uninitiated, "Sweet Victory" is a lighters-in-the-sky stadium jam that SpongeBob and the Bikini Bottom Super Band stunned an audience with in the episode "Band Geeks." After failing to cohere as a unit under Squidward's direction, Spongebob rallies the group at the last minute to put on a jaw-dropping arena rock song and help his long-suffering neighbor save face.
Thousands supported the fan petition given the appropriateness of the track for a championship game and Hillenberg's passing. Maroon 5 clearly heard the call and it looks like they'll take Atlanta on a trip to Bikini Bottom during their set.