Robbed of “Sweet Victory”

Bennett Carollo, Sports Editor

On November 26th, 2018, the creator of the long enduring and beloved Nickelodeon cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants, Stephen Hillenburg, died at the young age of 57 due to ALS. For many, including myself, this was very sad news as SpongeBob was a mainstay in countless childhoods. I can honestly say that Hillenburg made my childhood better through his creation, and to this day a reference to a classic SpongeBob episode or joke can make me laugh and brings back fond memories. For these reasons, SpongeBob fans wanted to find a creative way to honor Hillenburg. This past Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show seemed to present the perfect opportunity.

“Band Geeks,” the 15th episode in SpongeBob’s second season, which first aired on September 7th, 2001, is considered by many to be the greatest episode in the show’s history, and for good reason. The final scene of the episode features Squidward leading his Bikini Bottom marching band to a heroic and surprisingly powerful performance of the song “Sweet Victory” at the Bubble Bowl. The Bubble Bowl is an obvious reference to the Super Bowl, and so a petition was started on to “Have ‘Sweet Victory’ Performed at the Super Bowl.” This, of course, seemed like a long shot at first, but the cause quickly picked up steam, with the petition having gained over a million signatures by the time Super Bowl 53 rolled around. Hopes only grew even more when a promotional video for Maroon 5’s halftime show featured a SpongeBob cameo.

Finally, as the lights dimmed at Mercedes Benz Stadium on Sunday, the wait was over. As the halftime show dragged on, I kept my eyes peeled for Hillenburg’s famous characters. My heart leapt when Squidward did appear on my TV screen, wearing his band conductor garb and all. It was really going to happen! Until it didn’t. As it turns out, that brief blink-and-you-missed-it appearance of Squidward would be all we would get, as it was nothing more than an introduction for rapper Travis Scott and his song “Sicko Mode.” A devastatingly cruel tease, no doubt. The halftime show as a whole was widely disliked, as most viewers would’ve liked to see less shirtless Adam Levine and more SpongeBob. No matter how bad the show was, and the entire Super Bowl for that matter, “Sweet Victory” would’ve made up for it all and then some. It’s a shame Hillenburg won’t get the tribute he deserves.