The creator of the iconic Nickelodeon cartoon series SpongeBob SquarePants, Stephen Hillenburg, passed away this week at the age of 57 following complications with ALS, a terminal disease he was diagnosed with last year. There was an outpouring of love and support from fans of the show upon hearing the unfortunate news, and now fans are campaigning to get the NFL to play a song in tribute to Hillenburg.
As ComicBook points out, fans have put together a petition on Change.org that has called for the NFL to play “Sweet Victory” from the show during the halftime show of the Super Bowl in February. At the time of publishing, 53,000 fans have signed the petition. The song in question is taken from the Season 2 SpongeBob episode “Band Geeks,” which sees a marching band conducted by Squidward perform for a bunch of humans at a Super Bowl-like event. The song was performed by David Glen Eisley, who co-wrote the track with Bob Kulick for the show.
“As some of you may or may not know, Stephen Hillenburg-the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants-has passed away recently,” the petition states. “As a tribute to his legacy, his contributions to a generation of children, and to truly showcase the greatness of this song, we call for ‘Sweet Victory’ to be performed at the Halftime Show.”
“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS,” Nickelodeon said in a statement when the news broke. “He was a beloved friend and long-time creative partner to everyone at Nickelodeon, and our hearts go out to his entire family. Steve imbued SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere. His utterly original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long stand as a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination.”