Britney Spears kicked off the National Football League's 2003 season last night (Sept. 5) with a glitzy, muddy concert on Washington's National Mall.

Britney Spears kicked off the National Football League's 2003 season last night (Sept. 5) with a glitzy, muddy concert on Washington's National Mall. Sporting a skimpy black-and-white referee's uniform, the teen idol debuted her new song "Me Against the Music" as fireworks framed the U.S. Capitol and football jersey-wearing dancers prowled the stage.

The megawatt event drew hundreds of thousands to the National Mall, the two-mile-long grassy strip that usually plays host to political rallies, tourists and picnickers.

Aerosmith, Mary J. Blige and Good Charlotte also entertained the hundreds of thousands of fans who braved traffic jams and occasional rain to be part of the spectacle. Soul legend Aretha Franklin sang the national anthem shortly before the Washington Redskins and the New York Jets kicked off in nearby Landover, Md.

The event was billed as a patriotic salute to U.S. fighting forces, and white-capped sailors and camouflage-wearing soldiers mingled in the crowd. President Bush, in a television message broadcast after the concert, said football epitomized teamwork, sacrifice and determination, values that he said reflected the spirit of the nation.

"It's the spirit ... that guides the brave men and women of our nation's armed forces fighting in the name of peace and freedom around the world," Bush said.


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