Super Bowl Halftime Show: 10 Most Memorable Halftime Show Moments

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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5. Areosmith, N*Sync Brittny Spears and ADHD Attack the Super Bowl
From Super Bowl XXXV: Ravens 34, Giants 7

The 2001 Super Bowl featured a weird intro but an even weirder show itself. After Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler had a skit to open the show, we had about 30 solid seconds of N*Sync  running to the stage while a strange mashup of Nirvana, Kid Rock, Rolling Stones and just about every single other song that has been popular over the last 30 years played over the loud speakers.

If you weren’t already confused or put off by the convoluted nature of the show, it continued from there.

N*Sync played for a while before being joined by Areosmith who were joined by Brittny Spears. Then Mary J. Blige showed up out of absolutely nowhere. They all finished the show by singing together at the same time, thus giving an entire generation of children watching ADHD.

To be honest, while it was, as Lewis Black put it ‘a trifecta from Hell’, it was actually an entertaining show. It came at a time when we were digesting pop culture as fast as we consume Big Macs and it hit every single level of entertainment it could, from literally playing every song from the 90s during the intro to bouncing from old rock to new pop and R&B. Love it or hate it, Super Bowl XXXV had one of the most entertaining halftime shows ever.

4. Bruce Springsteen Shows He’s Still The Boss
From Super Bowl XLIII: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23

The Super Bowl experienced a trend of timidness following the Janet Jackson incident, but even though all they did was roll out old rocker after old rocker, Bruce Springsteen managed to make the best of it and turned in one of the most energetic halftime shows in recent memory. There wasn’t any crazy choreography, not wild pyrotechnics or dance numbers — just The Boss and his E Street Band rocking out to old tunes that everyone of every age knows and loves.

It’s a halftime show that featured no controversy (although Springsteen did crotch slide into a stage camera, but you can’t win them all), yet we still talk about it today.

3. U2 Makes Sure We Never Forget
Super Bowl XXXVI: Patriots 20, Rams 17

9/11 changed so much about America, and the Super Bowl is absolutely no exception. For the first time in the history of the game, the Super Bowl was being held in February, the logos were changed to reflect patriotism and the halftime show was notably mild but poignantly powerful. The band started off their set with their usual power and force, but it was their closing number that is still remembered to this day as one of the most touching moments in Super Bowl history.

While the band played “Where The Streets Have No Names” a massive screen behind them on stage scrolled through every single name of every single person killed on September 11th, and when the set was over, Bono closed the show by tearing open his jacket to reveal the Stars and Stripes lining the inside of his jacket.

It’s still moving to watch 12 years later.

2. Michael Jackson Revolutionizes the Halftime Show
Super Bowl XXVII: Cowboys 52, Bills 17

Before 1993, Super Bowl Halftime shows were basically throwaway gags that interrupted the biggest game of the year. After 1993, The King f Pop had turned it into a spectacle, something that continues even to this day. Setting aside all your lame jokes about how Michael Jackson was surrounded by kids at one point in his show, MJ did as much for the Super Bowl as any athlete who’s ever played in the game.

Whoever came up with the idea to put the most popular music act in the world on a stage at halftime of the Super Bowl is a genius. Busting out classics like ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Jam’, and ‘Black or White’ before capping things off with a snippet of ‘We Are The World’ with 3,500 children from the Los Angeles area, Jackson turned in one of the most revolutionary concerts ever. Anytime you get to see Michael Jackson live, it’s a big deal.

Putting him in the halftime show changed the face of what the halftime show was and created the spectacles we live with today.