Bring Back the Bands!: A humble request to have marching bands in the NFL halftime shows

By: Hannah Bonanducci

At the time of writing this article, all of my friends are talking about the upcoming Super Bowl. Even my Sociology and Communication professors are using it as examples in class. The obvious sports fans are giving predictions and opinions about how the game will go. My avid Philly supporters are just talking up the Eagles, and everyone else is trashing them (I’m looking at you, Dr. Monteiro). 

However, even beyond the more team-oriented folks, most people are still interested in the general production that the Super Bowl tends to be; the parties, the ads and of course, the halftime show.

I’m sure the show was a hit or fantastic disaster, as Super Bowl shows tend to be. Either way, everyone is going to talk about Rihanna for a little while, but I’d like to suggest a different halftime show for the more nostalgic Superbowl viewers:

Can we introduce marching bands into NFL halftime shows again?

Maybe it’s a big ask, and I understand it’s not everyone’s thing. I’ve personally grown up in the music program and recognize my bias in this conversation, but this is the opinions section so I’m allowed to have it. 

I understand that if I wanted to see a marching band performance I could watch a college football game or pull it up on YouTube. What I don’t understand is how such a huge part of football culture on the college level isn’t transferred over to the professional level.

I mean, think about it. We have the obvious football game, the merch, the food, the cheerleaders and even the mascots in both football worlds. How is it that the hyped-up marching band performances that fill a whole field aren’t also incorporated into professional football?

I think that marching bands deserve so much more respect than they get. I know that marching bands aren’t as necessary for music in the stands as they were when football first started. But to completely remove the absolutely awesome halftime shows they put on just seems like a big mistake to me, especially since many bands never get the chance to perform like that beyond the college level. 

I remember watching college marching band halftime show performances when I was a kid and being awed by them. Watching the formations as an army of people made the field look like a swirling star or a moving character had me in awe every time. And as I entered high school I appreciated the sound and power of music as well. It’s such a wonderful thing to experience that I think we’ve become slowly turned off over time.

It’s such an enriching experience to see that much effort put into a performance. Plus, the performances are incredibly family-friendly, with enough for everyone to enjoy. I think it’s a lost art in the NFL world and a treasure trove of magic just waiting to be unlocked.

There are plenty of opportunities to incorporate bands into halftime shows. Whether it be letting the high school band that won the state-level competition come in, bringing in the state university band, or even doing outside band champions and giving them the stage to shine for their otherwise unappreciated talent and hard work is simple enough.

And again, I recognize this may be just me. However, I don’t think it’s something that is too difficult. It doesn’t have to be done all the time, and it doesn’t have to be at the Super Bowl only. I just think it is something that should be a part of professional football culture that might make it more appealing to other people as well. After all, football is an American sport that brings people of all interests together, even if they’re not interested in the sport itself. Bringing back the marching band is just one more beautiful aspect of football culture that I think we could all enjoy.

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