Super Bowl National Anthem Length & Odds: Jazmine Sullivan & Eric Church Clear 2 Minutes With Ease
UPDATE: Jazmine Sullivan’s and Eric Church’s national anthem performance clocked in at 2:16 by Action’s unofficial count.
Editor’s note: This prop may be unavailable Sunday after a Florida reporter recorded and posted video of the national anthem rehearsal at Raymond James Stadium.
Super Bowl 55 will feature a unique twist on the national anthem: The NFL has paired an R&B artist and a country singer who have never performed together for the first duet since Aretha Franklin and Aaron Neville teamed up for Super Bowl 40.
Considering the Super Bowl anthem is an annual favorite among sports bettors, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to equip you with all the relevant knowledge you need to bet it.
Below you’ll find:
- More information on the performers
- An analysis of the past 20 performances
- How our in-house expert is handicapping it
- Where you can legally bet on the anthem
Who Are Jazmine Sullivan & Eric Church?
Like we mentioned earlier, the two have never performed together — in fact, according to an interview Church did with Apple Music, the two had never even met before accepting this invitation — so we don’t have a past performance to reference. Our best guess is that Sullivan will lead the performance vocally while Church harmonizes and plays guitar (more on that below). But what about their individual history of singing the national anthem?
Based on our research, Church has never sang the Star Spangled Banner at a professional sporting event, although we found two past performances for Sullivan:
Past Super Bowl Anthem Performances
We watched video and timed the length of the past 20 Super Bowl anthem performances for a better understanding of what to expect from Sullivan and Church. Since the 2000 season, they’ve averaged just under one minute and 58 seconds.
But over that span of 20 performances, only four have featured more than one singer:. Of course, two of those four featured groups with established chemistry while the third featured multiple choirs. The only true duet in that sample size was Franklin and Neville, which easily cleared two minutes (by our watch).
Here’s how the average lengths of both sample sizes compare:
- Past 20 performances: 1:57:27
- Feat. more than one performer: 1:51:15
We’ve outlined every performer since the 2000 season — coincidentally the first time the Super Bowl was hosted ay Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay — along with our timed lengths below.
Super Bowl Anthem Odds
Editor’s note: The following analysis was written before a video leaked of the apparent rehearsal, which clocked in at 2:15 — nearly 30 fewer seconds than our initial projection.
Since legal sportsbooks are not offering a line on the national anthem, we asked Ryan Collinsworth — our colleges editor whose work as a musician includes vocal coach — to set one for us.
His line? One minute and 49 seconds.
Below is his four-part analysis, which we’ve kept in bullet point form so you can follow his reasoning as it builds:
1) Jazmine is a strong alto. Period. She can SANG. In most of her live contexts, you can just tell how much she cares about the band arrangement and how “in pocket” she strives to be relative to the music surrounding her. She’s no diva — she doesn’t, as a rule, break out beyond the bar unless it’s scripted.
2) Eric Church has likely been chosen due to name recognition; not because he’s expected to shine. Therefore, I’m expecting him to be accompanying Sullivan via acoustic guitar. And, because of that, he’ll likely take the role of harmonist. This role better suits his vocal range — baritone, though his timbre is lighter than most baritones — enabling Sullivan to own the song while Church focuses on rhythm (via guitar accompaniment) and tactful placement of choreographed harmonic runs.
3) As a guitar player, when one considers playing the national anthem and supporting via rhythm, two conceits stick out: A commitment to triplets with heavier accents on every down beat … much like a rolling snare cadence; or mid-tempo syncopation. The latter of these two options is much more in Church’s lane as a guitar player, given his country roots. Therefore, I’m expecting mid-tempo.
4) The problem is the national anthem is a painful slog of a rhythmic cadence. With adrenaline high and a guitar in his hands, Church will naturally want to push tempo a bit in order to give himself more momentum to stay in pocket. While this might strain Sullivan’s breath support, she is a professional. And given that she has no instrument to counteract the tempo Church sets, she will adapt to him and pick up her own pace, mixing in more melisma of her own to try to steady him.
The effective result of this dynamic will be a more uptempo version of the national anthem than we’d traditionally expect for the Super Bowl.
Where You Can Bet on the National Anthem Prop
While United States sportsbooks will not offer a traditional over/under on the national anthem, you can still technically bet on the length of it at DraftKings, which will offer the following prop in New Jersey, Illinois and West Virginia:
“Any scoring drive to take less time than it takes to sing the National Anthem?”
- Yes: -335
- No: +250
For an idea of how long the shortest drive could be, here are both teams’ average time of possession per offensive drive (per Football Outsiders):
- Chiefs: 3:06 (fourth-slowest)
- Buccaneers: 2:37 (fifth-fastest)