Maroon 5 — a quasi-soul, quasi-rock, utterly funkless band — was the main attraction at the Super Bowl halftime show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, likely the third or eighth or maybe 14th choice for a headliner.

In a year in which the Super Bowl halftime show has become a referendum on political mindfulness, in which the N.F.L. has become a staging ground for conversations about racial justice in America, Maroon 5 was a cynically apt choice. It is neutral, inoffensive, sleek without promising too much. For nearly two decades, it has been wildly popular without leaving much of a musical mark, as easy to forget as mild weather.

And the band did no better during its 13 and a half minutes onstage, in a performance that was dynamically flat, mushy at the edges, worthy of something much worse than derision: a shrug. It was an inessential performance from a band that might have lost some moral authority if it had any moral authority to lose.

Perhaps for the N.F.L., which probably sought to make the halftime performance as anodyne as possible, this was a victory.