The NFL season is just a quarter finished, but we may already have an idea of one participant at Super Bowl XLVI in February 2012. Sports website SB Nation is reporting that Madonna will be the next superstar to take the high-profile Super Bowl stage — a gig that would align quite strategically with a new single she will reportedly release this winter and a new album coming in the spring. Madonna has been linked to two previous Super Bowl halftime shows, in 1998 and 2000, but pulled out of each engagement. The NFL is not commenting about the most recent report, while the singer's rep says there's "nothing to confirm at this point." Halftime show producers have had trouble pleasing all demographics in recent years, with acts like The Who and Tom Petty alienating younger viewers while last year's Black Eyed Peas performance left older sports fans blinking blankly at the screen. Would Madonna be a bigger crowdpleaser?

She's a great choice: Madonna is "a natural fit for the NFL's biggest stage," says Andrew Sharp at SB Nation. To begin with, she's certainly an upgrade from "2011's apocalyptic amalgam of the Black Eyed Peas, a half-dead Slash, and Usher." And though Madonna isn't as edgy as she once was, the singer will likely "push the envelope as far as costumes, themes, and stageplay is concerned." Sure, the Madonna of the '80s might have put on a more controversial show — but today's star should excite NFL fans, too.
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Actually, it's a strange selection: At first glance, this keeps with recent tradition, says Adam B. Vary at Entertainment Weekly. Like Madonna, past performers The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and the Rolling Stones are all "iconic artists still beloved, but also well past their prime chart-topping days." Yet those artists were also logically connected to the male-heavy football-watching demographic. "The Madonna-fan/football-fan Venn diagram doesn't quite have as much overlap."
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Don't count your chickens: That Madonna pulled out of two previous halftime shows "may not bode well for the 2012 Super Bowl," says Donna Kaufman at iVillage. I'm very curious what happened. Maybe the NFL wanted to "tone down her act to make it more family friendly." Or perhaps they asked for a greatest hits medley when she wanted to promote new music. "Or did they simply make the mistake of sending her hydrangeas?" Regardless, with her track record, don't get your hopes up that Madonna is a sure bet for 2012.
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