November 03, 2011
From the Motown Sound to the Motor City Madman, from the MC5 to Mitch Ryder, from Bob Seger to "Detroit Rock City," from Kid Rock to "8 Mile," the city of Detroit has a rich history when it comes to all kinds of rock and roll. And that's why the NFL really goofed up when it set the entertainment for this year's Detroit Lions Thanksgiving game -- another estimable Motor City tradition.
For the first time in eons, the Lions are a very exciting and competitive team, which means that football fans around the country will not be scheduling their post-Tryptophan naps to coincide with the appearance of Ford Field's home team. It's a marquee game for once, so you'd think that a tribute to some tough Detroit rock would be in order.
Nope. Instead, the league has presented us with halftime entertainment in the form of the inexplicably popular proto-generic post-grunge band Nickelback. That's right -- these seventh-generation Pearl Jammers are set to whine and squall at halftime of the Lions' game against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day, and the city of Detroit is not at all happy about it.
Some Lions fans have taken this to the Internet, and created a petition at change.org, begging the NFL to get the band (which is from Canada, by the way — aren't there some CFL games it could inhabit?) out of the picture.
This game is nationally televised, do we really want the rest of the US to associate Detroit with Nickelback? Detroit is home to so many great musicians and they chose Nickelback?!?!?! Does anyone even like Nickelback? Is this some sort of ploy to get people to leave their seats during halftime to spend money on alcoholic beverages and concessions? This is completely unfair to those of us who purchased tickets to the game. At least the people watching at home can mute their TVs. The Lions ought to think about their fans before choosing such an awful band to play at halftime.
And just in case you think this is some sort of Detroit-centric thing, consider that two writers from the Winnipeg Free Press recently begged NHL commissioner Gary Bettman not to put Nickelback on the bill for the "NHL FaceOff" season-opening ceremonies.
As people who love music and love Winnipeg even more, we have a request: Please ensure this does not happen. The return of the NHL to Winnipeg is something we have been dreaming about for 15 years. Please do not sully the celebration with the presence of a band whose existence is antithetical to the very concept of celebration.
Shunned in their own country? You bet your ass. Why foist them instead on the hardworking American public?
Side note: Lions coach Jim Schwartz is one of the more metal-centric NFLers out there, regardless of position or standing. He frequently tweets out his "What I'm listening to on the way to the stadium" choices, and you'll see a lot of Pantera, Metallica, Iron Maiden, and much of the best of 1970s and 1980s arena rock. Schwartz can't be happier about this than the Lions fans are — maybe it's time for the coach to step in and put a stop to this?
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