Unlike Springsteen, the Who have definitely shown their age in recent years. Daltrey is still a powerful frontman as he demonstrated on his solo tour last fall, but his voice hasn't aged well. Don't expect to hear that famous closing scream during "Won't Get Fooled Again." Townshend's hearing has become so damaged from all those years performing with the Guinness World record holders for loudest band in the world, that he often performs with acoustic guitars rather than electric these days. So I expect the Who's performance will be Tom Petty decent, but not quite Prince or Springsteen great.
Which brings us to next year. The betting line forms here for who you think may follow Townshend and company for the big game in 2011. Here are some possibilities to ponder before you lay your money down:
AC/DC: If I were a betting man, this is who I'd be putting my money on. The Aussie bad boys won't be the NFL's first choice, but I'm betting the Eagles turn them down again. AC/DC is the perfect alternative. They are classic rock icons, and their simple, chunky riffing fits the smashmouth mentality of football like a glove. Nothing says jockspeak quite like a song like "Big Balls" does (although they probably won't be allowed to play that one). Besides, there hasn't really been a bonafide hard rock act at the Superbowl since Kiss, right? If AC/DC is good enough for Walmart, they are good enough for football. Odds: Dead-even
The Eagles: Although I'm relatively certain the Eagles will turn them down again, I include them here on the off chance they'll actually say yes this year. After all, Springsteen finally did, right? What makes the Eagles such a no-brainer is the way they walk such a fine line between rock and country. You can't really go wrong with a safe bet like this. Everybody's happy, and by the time the first down of the third quarter is played, no one will remember what they just heard. Take it easy, indeed. Odds: 5-1
Kenny Chesney: Of course, if you want to go country, why not go all the way? Country music is still as American as apple pie, and well, the NFL itself, and Chesney's brand of twang plays more like a countrified version of big stadium rock anyway. The chicks dig him, all those guys who drive Ford pick-ups secretly want to be him, and as long as he stays as hot as he is, there's definitely going to be a Super Bowl in his future at some point. It probably won't be next year though. Odds: 15-1