The Real Reason the NFL Canceled Maroon 5’s Super Bowl Press Conference

Adam Levine and bassist Mickey Madden of Maroon 5 perform onstage at The Grammy Nominations Concert Live
Adam Levine and Mickey Madden of Maroon 5 perform at The Grammy Nominations Concert. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine believes the Grammy Awards killed rock music (even though the band has several), but he can’t blame the awards entity for this one. The group will play the halftime show at the 2019 Super Bowl, but the NFL canceled Maroon 5’s Super Bowl press conference. Here’s what we know.

The NFL’s statement about Maroon 5’ Super Bowl press conference

Late in the day on January 29, the NFL announced that Maroon 5’s press conference wouldn’t take place. The announcement flew under the radar a little bit since the NFL Communications Twitter feed broke the news, and the main NFL Twitter account didn’t retweet it.

The league’s statement read in part, “As it is about the music, the artists will let their show do the talking as they prepare to take the stage.” Behind the scenes digital content about the show preparations is part of lead-up, and that takes the place of the press conference.

Who else is playing with Maroon 5?

Headlining artists at the Super Bowl typically don’t fly solo, and neither will Maroon 5. Former Outkast rapper Big Boi and Travis Scott agreed to perform with the band. Scott said he’d do it only if the NFL donated money to a charity he picked. The league agreed and gave $500,000 to The Dream Corps, a social injustice charity that supports many different causes.

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the show

Travis Scott performs
There’s a lot of controversy about Travis Scott’s Super Bowl halftime performance. | Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images

The press conferences and media day surrounding the Super Bowl tend to be silly, but they rarely are canceled. However, this halftime show is more controversial than most.

An online petition urging Maroon 5 to cancel its halftime show garnered more than 100,000 signatures, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

Several musical artists and celebrities who support former quarterback Colin Kaepernick are upset at the way the NFL handled his national anthem protests. Rhianna and Cardi B declined invitations to play. Nick Cannon and other urged Travis Scott to back out of his Super Bowl halftime show gig.

At least one artist has Travis Scott’s back. Since the halftime show is just a small part of the Super Bowl, rapper Nelly doesn’t understand why fans are freaking out about Scott’s decision to play.

Maroon 5 keyboard player PJ Morton faced some backlash, too, but he said it’s been a lifelong dream to play the Super Bowl, so he’ll still take the stage.

What else do we know about the Super Bowl halftime show?

Coldplay speaks onstage at the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Press Conference.
Coldplay played at halftime of Super Bowl 50, and its press conference wasn’t canceled. | Christopher Polk/Getty Images

It seems the NFL canceled Maroon 5’s Super Bowl press conference so it can avoid more controversy about the halftime show. But the NFL didn’t even pick Maroon 5 to play.

One of the secrets about how the NFL chooses the Super Bowl halftime performers is that the league is hardly involved. The host city has the ultimate say in picking the musical artist, but the NFL surely weighs in, too.

The league donating to a charity on behalf of Travis Scott is nearly unprecedented. The NFL doesn’t pay appearance fees for the halftime performers, and it rarely shells out for more than show expenses. It donated to Michael Jackson’s charity in 1993, so the fact that it donated to Scott’s charity and also gave $500,000 on behalf of Maroon 5 is noteworthy.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!