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NFL Sunday School: Rating Each Team As A Super Bowl Halftime Show

In this week's version of Sunday School, we rate each team's Week 4 performance with appropriate Super Bowl halftime shows, from Modest Mouse to Wu-Tang Clan to Keane to a dryer full of silverware.

First, to get an apology out of the way: I'm sorry that this is running on Tuesday instead of Monday, making the title of "Sunday School" even more incorrect than it usually is.

One advantage to running this on Tuesday, however, is that I'll get to address the results of Monday night's Buccaneers-Colts game. I'm writing this entire column on Monday afternoon, with the exception of the allotted space below, which I will reserve for my Tuesday morning self. I can only hope that my future self treats this space with as much respect as I do.


LeGarrette Blount is a real big dude who you gotta tackle lots of times to take him down. I am typing this from my flying car. This article is stupid. I have farts coming out of my butt.


I sure hope the Internet exists in the future so that I can write that. In the meantime, let's review the Week 4 performances of every team in the NFL. Now, in case you didn't hear, we learned yesterday that Madonna will perform at the Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show, which we can probably agree ranks somewhere south of Prince but north of the Black Eyed Peas. Appropriately enough, we will also examine which act each NFL team would be if they were a halftime performance.

THE DETROIT LIONS ON SUNDAY: Won at Cowboys, 34-30. The Lions are now one of only two undefeated teams in the NFL, thanks to 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Detroit was down by a 27-3 margin early in the third, but their defense ran back two pick-sixes within a five-minute span. Quarterback Matt Stafford was pretty mediocre throughout most of the game, but he and Calvin Johnson connected when it mattered. The Lions are not the best team in the league, but I have no regrets of choosing them as my adopted team.

IF THE DETROIT LIONS WERE A SUPER BOWL HALFTIME ACT, THEY WOULD BE: Modest Mouse, playing exclusively pre-"Good News For People Who Love Bad News" material.Their later material is great in its own right, but the early stuff is what makes them special. That wish will never be granted, although I feel like there's a greater-than-zero chance of Modest Mouse playing "Float On" during halftime of the 2035 Super Bowl in... I don't know, probably an Atlanta suburb.

If the last 10 years are so are any indication, the halftime performers are selected by people in their 50s and 60s. I'm a Modest Mouse fan who will be 53 in 2035. It's a done deal, unless there really are going to be Nickelback enthusiasts 25 years in the future.

THE GREEN BAY PACKERS ON SUNDAY: Won vs. Broncos, 49-23. I would have ranked the Pack above the Lions here, but I think this game was almost as much of an indicator of how not-good the Broncos are. Regardless, Aaron Rodgers brought destruction upon Denver's head, throwing for four touchdowns and running for two more.

The defending world champions are off to a 4-0 start. God, y'all, are the Packers going to be a dynasty again? It is sort of a bummer that we're going to have to wait until Thanksgiving to see the Packers and Lions play. But as much as I love the Lions, I think these Packers are on another level.

IF THE GREEN BAY PACKERS WERE A SUPER BOWL HALFTIME ACT, THEY WOULD BE: Neil Young, who really should have played a halftime show by now. Maybe I'm just over-estimating how awesome a 2011 Neil Young would be. Maybe he wouldn't play a 44-minute "Cortez the Killer" with six guitar solos. Maybe it would actually be 2011 Neil Young and he'd do a ROCK AGAINST BUSH-themed show years after he left office and spend the last three minutes talking about how much better the new light bulbs are. Probably. Bummer.

THE BALTIMORE RAVENS ON SUNDAY: Won vs. Jets, 34-17. The Ravens' defense is really good, thereby validating the uninformed opinions of everyone who hasn't seriously followed football since 2002. True, the Jets' center was a backwards-pointing trebuchet hastily assembled out of K'Nex by Rex Ryan, but I don't think those snap-related mistakes happen as often or are as costly if a lesser defense is across the line.

IF THE BALTIMORE RAVENS WERE A SUPER BOWL HALFTIME ACT, THEY WOULD BE: Coldplay, who would be a pretty solid choice because a) they have mass appeal, b) they're extremely collaborator-compatible, and c) you are wrong about how terrible they are. Boring, yes, maybe, but if you think they're terrible, it's probably been too long since you've heard actual terrible music.

THE TENNESSEE TITANS ON SUNDAY: Won at Browns, 31-13. Chris Johnson finally got going on the ground, and Matt Hasselbeck continues to be one of America's most impressive bald men since Richard Moll from "Night Court." Well, I thought that guy was cool, anyway. Then again, I was about five years old at the height of the "Night Court" era, and at the time I thought he should have been the judge since he was the largest person in the show. Honestly, that makes about as much sense as any system of governance that I've heard since.

IF THE TENNESSEE TITANS WERE A SUPER BOWL HALFTIME AT, THEY WOULD BE: Polaris, otherwise known as the band that played the theme music for "The Adventures of Pete & Pete." Two minutes of familiar jammin'? Perfect.

THE HOUSTON TEXANS ON SUNDAY: Won vs. Steelers, 17-10. The Steelers have their issues, and the Texans leveraged them into a win. Maybe they didn't actually have one of the best performances in Week 4, but they do look to me like the sort of team we'll see in the AFC Championship.

Yes, even with Andre Johnson's injury. It's always horrifying to see a player hit the ground in agony without having been touched by anyone, and his absence, no matter how long, is a huge blow. But I do this thing where I completely pull predictions out of my ass by willfully ignoring crucial developments, and I really think this team is ready to challenge the AFC's elite in the playoffs.

Also, this opinion is formed solely by what I saw in Week 4, but: do not throw the football to Arian Foster because he is incapable of catching it. It would be like asking Toyota to reupholster your sofa. It just... he doesn't do that.

IF THE HOUSTON TEXANS WERE A SUPER BOWL HALFTIME AT, THEY WOULD BE: Spoon. Nobody is ever like, "man, Spoon, f*** those guys, I hate them." Everyone on the planet is either like, "hey yeah, Spoon, they're cool," or, "I don't know who Spoon is."


  • BEARS: Wilco. Chicago, sometimes really interesting, usually kind of boring.
  • BENGALS: The Hold Steady, who everyone likes but me.
  • CHIEFS: 311, who are horrible except for that one time.
  • REDSKINS: Odd Future. Hey, everyone keeps talking about them, I suppose I should give them a chance... oh. Oh God. Oh God this is not okay.
  • 49ERS: Any musician you hear on "Prairie Home Companion." Yes, you are kind of endearing, but you are also SO, SO, SO LAME AAAARGH
  • SAINTS: The musicians from Treme. You're not gonna just sit around and jam that music, but if you say that you're not all that big on them, you are a monster.
  • GIANTS: Korn. The more you think about it, the more terrified you are by how okay you are with it.
  • FALCONS: Tom Waits. All his "party time" songs are thinly-veiled ramblings of despair. He would be a terrible fit, and I would love to see the paid-off revelers on the field try and figure out how and whether they are supposed to dance to "Earth Died Screaming."
  • PATRIOTS: Keane. Need me to elaborate? Okay, good.
  • CHARGERS: The Wu-Tang Clan. It's been evident for a while that the modern Wu-Tang is best served as a sort of homeroom for rappers, freeing its individual members to either split up into smaller groups or go their own way entirely. Anyway, think about this: most people of my generation like rap. A Super Bowl show is a tall order, but the idea of breaking into the mainstream -- the real mainstream, where Tim McGraw and U2 live -- would be a development as pleasantly shocking as it would be plainly obvious.


  • PANTHERS: Sigur Ros. You're good, just... not right now, okay?
  • BILLS: John Mayer, who honestly will probably do a Super Bowl halftime show at some point within the next 15 years. He is actually a really talented musician, but I always have trouble acknowledging that.
  • BROWNS: Phish. Maybe they're broken up or maybe they're still together. I really do not know. I don't think that they're very good.
  • COWBOYS: Kenny G, non-Christmas variety.
  • VIKINGS: Buddy Holly. It would be great if he could play the halftime show! However, he is dead.
  • RAMS: One of my favorite bars is this pretty laid-back place where people just sort of sit around, drink craft brews, and occasionally listen to bands. A while back, some guy tried to completely break the mold by doing beat poetry. Everyone was ignoring him, so he started doing this live sort of beat poetry, calling out individual people for being "sheep" or "tools of the Man" or whatever. It was horrible. Rams-as-halftime-show is that guy.
  • EAGLES: Bon Iver. Pretty awesome group that will never go to a Super Bowl.
  • JAGUARS: Nickelback. Saying "I think Nickelback is bad" is basically the least interesting thing you can say these days.
  • STEELERS: Godspeed You Black Emperor! Five minutes of rumbling static, three minutes of a violin playing over a guy whining about a speeding ticket, nine deafening minutes of instruments being hit with hammers, and two minutes of audio recorded from an airport terminal.
  • CARDINALS: Animal Collective. Remember when you were supposed to like them in 2008? Agh.
  • SEAHAWKS: Procul Harum. You don't really know anything about them, but you've heard them. They basically weren't any good except for this song:


  • BRONCOS: A greyhound with a chain of aluminum cans tied to its tail.
  • RAIDERS: A man stands at the top of a lift and makes a racket by unloading a pallet of 2x4s and tossing them on the ground below.
  • DOLPHINS: A dryer full of silverware.
  • JETS: A coffee table, set out at halftime of the Super Bowl for everyone to observe for a few minutes before removing it and allowing the second half to begin. It is a nondescript coffee table.