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Top Five Super Bowl Halftime Shows

Bruno-Mars-Red-Hot-Chili-Peppers-Anthony-Kiedis Super Bowl Bruno Mars Red Hot Chili Peppers LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 21: Recording artist Bruno Mars performs onstage during the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 21, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Clear Channel) DETROIT, MI - JUNE 08: Flea and Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers perform during the 2013 Orion Music + More Festival at Belle Isle Park on June 8, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Theo Wargo, Getty Images)
Rich Polk / Theo Wargo, Getty Images

Some people watch the Super Bowl, like me, because they really like football. Others watch it for the commercials, others for the halftime extravaganza. Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers could be one of the better shows this Sunday.

While, yes, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers have graced the stage of the Super Bowl, their performances just didn’t trip my trigger. With that, here is my top five.


Aerosmith, ‘N Sync, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Nelly

Super Bowl 35 – 2001



MTV produced this show and it had something for everyone except country fans, but they had their own in 1994. Also notable in this one is that it is one of the few that was obviously not lip synced. Everyone, even a then 19-year-old Britney Spears, was unquestionably singing live. The jam on “Walk This Way” at the end was an amazing way to end the performance. While, yes, it was a little weird to have ‘N Sync, Aerosmtih, and Britney on one stage, it’s still one of my favorites.




Super Bowl 47 – 2013



A lot of Super Bowl halftime shows have been average to horrible. Beyonce’s performance last year was way, way above average. The inclusion of Destiny’s Child in the performance made it really fun to watch. The fact that they weren’t retirement aged men didn’t hurt either.



Janet Jackson, P. Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock, and Justin Timberlake

Super Bowl 38 – 2004



Does anyone remember that Kid Rock, P. Diddy (as he was calling himself then), and Nelly were in the 2004 halftime show? Of course not! That was the notorious Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” show.

Justin Timberlake ripped off a part of Janet Jackson’s top at the end of the performance and changed history forever. How? FCC fines for indecency were raised from $27,500 to $325,000. Facebook launched three days later to capitalize on the buzz of the event, and YouTube was inspired by co-creator Jawed Karim not being able to find a video of the incident on the Internet. MTV produced this show and has not been asked back by the NFL since.



Michael Jackson

Super Bowl 27 – 1993



This was the performance that revolutionized the Super Bowl halftime show forever. Before MJ’s performance in 1993, the halftime show had been slowly growing from college marching bands in the ’60’s and ’70’s to having higher profile performances, including Disney produced shows. After Jackson significantly improved the TV ratings for halftime, the trend changed to booking top music stars every year.




Super Bowl 36 – 2002



Super Bowl 36 was actually the first Super Bowl to be played in February. It wasn’t scheduled that way, the game was supposed to be played on January 27. The attacks of September 11th caused the rescheduling of week 2 to January 6 and pushed the playoffs back a week.

Five months after 9/11, U2 played the halftime show and rocked it with a very emotional tribute to the victims, scrolling the names up a sheer curtain that extended all the way to the ceiling of the Superdome.

I’m not even a big fan of U2, but to me this is the best and most significant halftime show ever.


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