By Steve Keating
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Diplomatic Coldplay frontman Chris Martin was asked on Thursday who he thinks will win Super Bowl 50, when his band will play the halftime show, and he joked, "I don't care as long as LeBron James has a good game".
Of course, NBA superstar James will not be on Levi's Stadium field on Sunday when the Carolina Panthers take on the Denver Broncos but Coldplay will follow some of music's biggest acts to perform on what they claim is the world's biggest stage.
"Everyone who does this show knows that it is the biggest honor, the biggest privilege and they put their life and soul into it," Martin said during one of the few serious moments in a playful press conference.
"We watched all the other halftime shows many times and most of them are fantastic.
"I think we are going to try and celebrate those other years and hopefully make a show as memorable as some of our favorites."
Coldplay's name will be added to a Super Bowl lineup that includes some of rock music's most iconic acts including Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Prince, U2, the Rolling Stones, the Who and Beyonce, who will be back on the Super Bowl stage for a second time on Sunday.
The last and only time that Carolina made a Super Bowl appearance, in 2004, their heart-stopping 32-29 loss to the New England Patriots on a last-second field goal was overshadowed Janet Jackson's now infamous wardrobe malfunction.
While Super Bowl I featured the once classic halftime marching bands as entertainment, the show has grown into a standalone mega-event that has on occasion rivaled the game itself.
The Coldplay press conference attracted the biggest media mob of Super Bowl week so far as the British band faced a wall of over 100 television cameras and hundreds of reporters, the vast majority from outside the mainstream sports media.
That was reflected in the frequent off-beat questions, one person asking for a hug and another requesting to audition for the Sunday gig before flying into a brief saxophone solo, while another explained to the band how they had helped her through a real bad break-up in 2004 before getting to her query.
The lighthearted atmosphere of the press conference will be far different from the pressure the Grammy-winning band says it will face when they step on stage to perform in front of a soldout crowd and a U.S. television audience that some estimates have put at close to 190 million people.
"We don't do press conferences that often so please forgive us if we are not that good at it," said Martin. "How do we cope with the pressure?
"We spoke to each other about what we would like to communicate in the halftime show and we decided we wanted to make it about togetherness and acceptance, the things we really believe in, and then we called the right guests.
"We know we have great people joining us."
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)