Rumors earlier this week of a Madonna performance during the Super Bowl halftime show may not be so far-fetched. The pop star and the NFL are in discussions to arrange for exactly that, though the details remain to be resolved, The New York Times' ArtsBeat blog reports, citing "a person familiar with the talks."
While neither side is commenting on the discussions, they're not doing much to dampen speculation, either. "I can not announce that this is a done deal at this time," Madonna spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg told the Times. "I can not give you an official confirmation."
On Monday, the sports website SB Nation reported that Madonna would perform at Super Bowl XLVI. The report cited "sources close to the event," which takes place on February 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
For Madonna, the timing makes sense. Though the Material Girl hasn't released a proper album since 2008's Hard Candy, she has been working on new recordings, according to her manager Guy Oseary. In a post last month on Twitter, Oseary said: "She's in the studio all this week... and the music is so goooooooood..."
Madonna has come close to performing at the Super Bowl before. Her name was widely bruited in connection with the 1998 and 2000 events. In fact, as Billboard reports, Madge was all scheduled to perform her "American Pie" cover during the Super Bowl XXXIV halftime show on January 30, 2000, but backed out, citing scheduling conflicts. "I look forward to the possibility of doing something with the NFL in the future," she said at the time.
This year's Super Bowl was the most watched American TV show ever, with an average audience of 111 million viewers, according to Nielsen ratings. The Black Eyed Peas played during halftime, joined by Usher and Guns N' Roses axeman Slash. That followed six years of more established acts: The Who (2010), Bruce Springsteen (2009), Tom Petty (2008), Prince (2007), the Rolling Stones (2006), and Paul McCartney (2005). Aside from Prince's somewhat libidinous performance, all were relatively conservative entries compared to the Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake "wardrobe malfunction" fiasco in 2004.
Madonna, "Papa Don't Preach"