Maroon 5 Surprises SpongeBob SquarePants Fans With Tribute During Super Bowl Halftime Show

SPONGEBOB OPENED UP SICKO MODE! 😱 (via @thecheckdown)— ESPN [...]

For SpongeBob SquarePants fans, it doesn't matter who ultimately wins Super Bowl LIII. They've been handed a "Sweet Victory" of sorts.

After much speculation and hoping by fans, Maroon 5 performed incorporated a sweet SpongeBob tribute during their halftime show tonight, using the cue from for "Sweet Victory" to set up for Travis Scott's portion of the performance. Squidward introduced the performance while fans were treated to footage from the SpongeBob Squarepants episode "Band Geeks" that fans had petitioned for, thus incorporating the fan-favorite moment into the show much to the delight of fans.

If you're wondering how unusual performance came about, it's actually an interesting story that, in a sense, starts almost twenty years ago. Back in 2001 during the second season of Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants series, the titular sponge performed "Sweet Victory" during a halftime performance at the Bubble Bowl -- that universe's version of the Super Bowl. It was an instant fan-favorite, but it recently came back into the spotlight thanks to Travis Scott's "Sicko Mode". Fans have been taking the song and applying it to the footage of the animated "Sweet Victory" performance in a pretty clever meme. It's that meme that tonight's show played off of perfectly.

As Scott is guesting with Maroon 5 in the show, it seemed like a natural fit that "Sweet Victory" might come up, but it gets much deeper than that. Maroon 5 themselves seemed to tease something SpongeBob related when they released a teaser for their performance that featured a brief glimpse of the character. Then last week Rodger Bumpass, the voice actor behind Squidward, reportedly shared a series of Facebook posts announcing that Squidward would introduce the halftime show -- which is exactly what he did.

There were also some other teases that had fans hoping for "Sweet Victory". Last fall, a petition was started on attempting to get SpongeBob SquarePants to perform the halftime show to honor his creator, Stephen Hillenburg, who passed away from ALS. That petition gathered over a million signatures. Then, in December, Atlanta's Mercedez-Benz Stadium, the venue for the Super Bowl, posted an interesting tease: a GIF featuring SpongeBob, Patrick Star, Mr. Crabs, and the crew as they prepped for their iconic Bubble Bowl performance.

While the performance may not have been exactly what fans were hoping for -- they were hoping for a full performance of "Sweet Victory", fans are no doubt thrilled by the SpongeBob nod. And there are likely some fans who are feeling pretty lucky, too. Some fans were placing actual bets on whether the song would make it into the halftime show are not and, depending on how they bet, some folks are celebrating a Sweet Victory indeed.

What did you think about Maroon 5's SpongeBob tribute at Super Bowl LIII? Let us know in the comments below!