The idea for a SpongeBob tribute at the Super Bowl started to kick off in the weeks after Hillenburg’s passing in November 2018. Fans of the Nickelodeon series will recall the episode “Band Geeks,” in which Squidward directs a halftime show performed by various Bikini Bottom residents. Many thought that playing “Sweet Victory” — the song the band performed in “Band Geeks” — would be a fitting halftime homage to Hillenburg.
A Change.org petition launched and, at the time of writing, has since amassed nearly 1.2 million signatures.
The idea further cemented when a brief SpongeBob clip appeared in Maroon 5’s Super Bowl hype video (it’s at the 32-second mark, if you don’t want to sit through the Maroon 5 hype).
Then, in a private Facebook post, Rodger Bumpass — Squidward’s voice actor for the past 20 years — reportedly announced that Squidward would be introducing the halftime entertainment.
Turns out that tribute was Squidward announcing Travis Scott’s entrance after Maroon 5’s first performance, with a quick cut to the Bikini Bottom band playing as Scott entered — not a full “Sweet Victory” performance, but a touching little homage nonetheless.