11/22/2004 at 07:00 AM EST
The National Football League, desperate for a bit of good publicity concerning its pre- and post-game entertainment, announced Sunday that Paul McCartney will be the featured performer for this year's Super Bowl halftime show.
McCartney returns to the show's lineup for the second time, Reuters reports. The former Beatle also appeared in the 2002 Super Bowl halftime show for a memorable performance, which marked the first NFL championship game after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
"There's nothing bigger than being asked to perform at the Super Bowl," McCartney said in a statement. "We're looking forward to rocking the millions at home and in the stadium."
The league is hoping that McCartney's selection will help erase the controversy that surrounded last year's halftime show. The infamous Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake performance that resulted in Jackson's breast being bared on national television resulted in a $550,000 fine for CBS and helped usher in a new era of scrutiny by the Federal Communications Commission.
"We're very cognizant we'll be under the spotlight with this year's halftime show and we've looked at all facets of the show including talent selection, song selection and costume selection," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told reporters.
The NFL caused more controversy last week, in a spot that aired on Monday Night Football Nov. 15. A steamy segment that featured a nude Desperate Housewives star Nicollette Sheridan jumping into the arms of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens drew widespread criticism, and prompted apologies from all parties involved.
The Super Bowl is the highest-rated single-day sporting event. More than 144 million U.S. viewers tuned into last year's game, and this year's show will be broadcast in 200 countries. The game airs Feb. 6 on FOX.