Super Bowl halftime antics hit way below the belt

Trapped inside a hypocritical, seamy vortex where sports and entertainment have unfortunately intersected once again, we are all now witnesses to a federal case. Call it those dirty dancers Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake's plot for unveiling weapons of mass distraction. This Super Bowl had way too much in common with the Lingerie Bowl.

In a hare-brained stunt, Timberlake intentionally exposed Jackson's breast to millions during a halftime show with his rip-and-grab coinciding with this lyric: "I'm going to have you naked by the end of this song."

Why are we still talking about this tawdry display?

Because it happened at halftime of the Super Bowl. Because it has nothing to do with football. 

Because precocious four-year-olds like my niece were watching. She's wondering what happened, if someone did something wrong.

Plus, this incident just happens to be against federal communications rules. 

It also broke the barrier for poor taste that the NFL often flirts with.

Keep in mind that the backup dancers for Nelly and P. Diddy were practically naked anyway. Or that Kid Rock was screaming about methadone clinics, topless dancers and hookers well before Timberlake and Jackson's Sodom and Gomorrah tango.

We already know the motivations behind their actions. Ms. Jackson, if you're nasty, has a new album coming out. And Timberlake likes to upstage his former gal pal, Britney Spears.

Keep in mind that this is the same NFL that paid Spears to vamp around in a season kickoff party. Yes, it was roughly two weeks after she kissed Madonna in another MTV production.

So, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue's complaints sound rather prudish and silly. He doth protest far too much.

This Georgetown-educated lawyer should have known better, especially when Jackson's choreographer predicted shocking moments in an article posted on MTV's Web site days before kickoff.

The NFL got used by MTV/CBS/Viacom, and it should have known better. The league is nearly as much at fault as Jackson and Timberlake. Yet, it desperately panders to a broader audience by clinging to musicians and celebrities as if they were made of gold.

Should the NFL go back to "Up With People" or Neil Diamond? I don't know, don't care.

How about that embarrassing, offensive and inappropriate security force that allowed a man disguised as a referee to streak down the field before Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham rightfully flattened him?

The NFL and the city of Houston should truly be ashamed for that breach. So much for homeland security.

This was a classic football game that didn't need Jackson's premeditated striptease.

Wasn't it enough to watch Tom Brady engineer that one-minute drill to set up Adam Vinatieri's game-winning boot? Or the crisp tackles and sound strategies?

For me and my niece, it definitely was enough. It was about as awkward as you can imagine trying to sell to her that it was an accident.

She wasn't buying that lame explanation. Neither should we.

More than Jackson's right breast was exposed. In prime time, we saw the hypocritical nature of the NFL.

This was supposed to be the Super Bowl, not Sex and the City.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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