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The ghosts of Super Bowl halftimes past

January 31, 2014


As the Boss said, step back from the guacamole dip. Put down those chicken fingers and turn the television all the way up.

Or don’t, either way is fine.

There has long been a love/hate relationship with the viewing audience and the Super Bowl halftime time show. There is a peculiar set of guidelines that go into picking the performers, one that was drastically altered after Janet Jackson and nipplegate and the fear of heavy FCC fines.

The act has to be hugely popular and have a stable of greatest hits and have some kind of appeal to the widest possible audience, either the people watching for the game or the people watching for the commercials. For the most part, that makes the halftime show a bathroom break for me during the one football game a year that I watch (one I watch for the commercials unless the Giants are in it, then I watch for the football).

This year’s card of Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers isn’t hugely attractive to me, but I’m mildly interested in what Flea does because he’s a lunatic and Under the Bridge has a lot of nostalgic value to me. While I was thinking about nostalgic value, I though it would be a good idea to go back and find the five most interesting halftimes since the show became an actual event with Michael Jackson in 1993.

One last thought: it’s a real shame that Queen never got to play the halftime show.


Super Bowl XLII, 2008
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Glendale, AZ
Winner: NY Giants
Highlight: American Girl, the heart and guitar light show.


Super Bowl XL, 2006
The Rolling Stones
Detroit, MI
Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers
Highlight: Satisfaction, and Mick’s joke in the preamble.


Super Bowl XXVII, 1993
Michael Jackson
Pasadena, Ca
Winner: Dallas Cowboys
Highlight: Billie Jean+moonwalk, MJ’s leaping entrance from under the stage and Jennifer Batten’s six-foot high hair.


Super Bowl XLIII, 2009
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Tampa, FL
Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers
Highlight: Tenth Ave Freeze Out, the Boss sliding crotch first into the camera… and of course, the Big Man’s solo on Born to Run.


Super Bowl XLVI, 2012
Madonna (w/ LMFAO, Nikki Minaj, MIA, Cee Lo Green)
Indianapolis, IN
Winner: New York Giants
Highlight: Like a Prayer, the break dancing, that guy on the highwire who kept landing on his balls.

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