01/31/2002 at 01:00 AM EST
Britney Spears will be there to pitch for Pepsi, and Danny DeVito -- in animated puppet form -- also will be around to sell Lipton tea. But the real stars of the Feb. 3 Super Bowl XXXVI (musically speaking, that is) make up a lineup so star-studded that even the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams will probably be tapping their cleated feet. According to the Associated Press, the National Football League is claiming that this will be the most entertainment-packed Bowl ever, with performances by U2, Paul McCartney, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Marc Anthony and others. So jam-packed is the bill that the musical interludes won't just take place during the game, but all weekend long. Patriotism also will be spotlighted. "With the events of Sept. 11, we've redefined and refocused the game presentation, and the theme is celebration of the human spirit and the values of freedom, and also to everyday heroes," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told reporters Wednesday in New Orleans. "And with that in mind, we sought out the entertainment community. They sought us out as well." Among the highlights: McCartney is due to sing his Sept. 11-inspired song, "Freedom," during the pre-game show, which also will feature Barry Manilow performing "Let Freedom Ring" with Patti LaBelle, Wynonna and others. Blige and Anthony will sing "America the Beautiful," backed by the Boston Pops, and Carey will deliver the national anthem. At halftime, U2 will sing three songs, including the inspirational "Walk On."