What happens when you use Spongebob to promote a Super Bowl halftime show and then fail to deliver the goods? The NFL found out this weekend when they did just that in order to promote the Maroon 5 halftime show.
In a 2005 episode of Spongebob Squarepants, the Bikini Bottom crew performed a faux-80s rock ballad called “Sweet Victory” at a football halftime show, complete with a freeze-frame victory leap by none other than Squidward. The song and episode are classic Spongebob, and fans have been petitioning for the song to be performed at the Super Bowl as a tribute to Stephen Hillenberg, the creator of Spongebob who died late last year.
Maroon 5 seemed to be receptive and the Spongebob hype grew online with thousands of fans tuning into the halftime show just to see the tribute.
They were in for disappointment.
Maroon 5 began their halftime set the way you’d expect any Super Bowl act to begin – with lots of fireworks and a light show. Adam Levine took the stage, strutting around as they performed portions of a couple of their hit songs that people seem to like for some reason.
Spongebob fans stood by, eagerly anticipated their “Sweet Victory” homage to Hillenberg — the man responsible for creating the show.
And then it happened.
Suddenly, a clip from the episode that featured “Sweet Victory” began to play. Spongebob! At halftime! Squidward waved his baton, introducing a “true musical genius who needs no introduction” as we see Spongebob squirm with delight… And then? “Sweet Victory?” Nope. Travis Scott.
Travis Scott – the rapper who definitely NEEDED an introduction – came out and performed his song ”Sicko Mode” with Levine. Spongebob fans everywhere were left scratching their head. What was the Spongebob introduction for, if not for “Sweet Victory?”
As it dawned on them that there would be no “Sweet Victory” during the halftime show, many took to Twitter and Reddit. So many took to Reddit, in fact, that the site experienced technical difficulties during the remainder of the halftime show.
I’d rather have Spongebob play for 10 hours over Sicko mode being played for 1 damn second
— AndySandy (@AndrewSantram) February 4, 2019
So we were promised “Sweet Victory”. We see the intro coming, and then we are stuck with Travis Scott and Adam Levine, playing the worst duo to sicko mode, while dancing like Alvin and Simon from the chipmunk movies. Wtf?
— Chase Miller (@ChaseMi77397531) February 4, 2019
The NFL and halftime organizers definitely underestimated the amount of resentment that an angry Spongebob fan can muster. The NFL’s YouTube channel has the full halftime performance available, and it features a whopping 174k Dislikes compared to 23k Likes.
That’s more salt than all the waters of Bikini Bottom! The NFL is learning a hard lesson right now: Do not, in any circumstances, underestimate fandom.
We’ll let a true fan have the final words…
They used the death of a legend to get views. Only to transition into an awful song nobody cared about. Who are they even trying to appeal to??
— Snowy (@Snoofle) February 4, 2019