In early August, the NFL and Jay-Z's Roc Nation unveiled a partnership that would forever change the musical performances at league events. Super Bowl LIII featured Maroon 5 performing with a shirtless Adam Levine, which was met with considerable criticism by NFL fans, causing commissioner Roger Goodell and his staff to step back and assess the situation. The league needed to revamp the entertainment side of big events, such as the Kickoff Game and the Super Bowl, and Jay-Z was the man who could aid in that pursuit.
The first result of this partnership was unveiled last Thursday when Meek Mill hit the stage prior to the season-opening battle between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. He performed Dreams and Nightmares, which is a fan favorite, but ran into a minor issue. This is a track that is known for copious use of the F-word, which couldn't be shown on NBC. The censors did a solid job overall limiting the lyrical content, as did Meek Mills after he edited some lyrics. However, the biggest problem came when cameras captured the crowd screaming the words to the song, including the curses.
Unsurprisingly, Twitter thought that this was hilarious. Watching the juggling act between censoring the performance and accidentally capturing the crowd swearing brought many to tears due to laughing so hard. This was a nightmare scenario for the FCC and the NFL, but the fans thought it was brilliant.
NFL bleeps out Meek Mill only to have the crowd rap along with every word on national TV lmao— Sawyer Smith (@sawyerkyle16) September 6, 2019
This has to be bleeped so much that they can’t even keep up and missed so many words already. This is a joke. Well done NFL. Got to hear bits and pieces of a song with the silencer going wild every 10th word. But at least all those 8 yr old kids were signing along to every F word— Mike Vitali (@MikeVitali1) September 6, 2019
Ultimately, the season-opening concert provided entertainment for those watching at home, but it wasn't exactly in the manner that the NFL and Roc Nation anticipated. The partners will likely go back to the drawing board before the next big event that requires a musical performance to decide on a different approach. Meek Mills is certainly a popular artist, but some of the lyrical content isn't exactly meant for primetime NBC.
With this brief concert in mind, will Jay-Z come up with a different approach for Super Bowl LIV? Nailing this event is critical, especially in the first year of a partnership, and he can't afford a misstep. The performances by Meghan Trainor and Rapsody got the crowd properly fired up for Meek Mill's performance, but the main event didn't pan out as Jay-Z expected.