Every first Sunday of February, the National Football League (NFL) champion for the reigning season is decided in an event that has become one of the most watched in the history of sports. The 2019 Super Bowl Sunday pitted New England Patriots against Los Angeles Rams. It attracted 98.2 million viewers, a significant drop compared to higher records set in previous years; as noted by the broadcaster, CBS. Still, those numbers are phenomenal.
Although the NFL will turn 100 this season, Super Bowl has only existed in the last 53 years. Before this, football had two competing leagues, the NFL and the AFL that was formed by businessmen who couldn’t join the former. Each held its own matches and championships, a factor that divided fans and led the NFL to call for a merger of the two leagues to avoid further bleeding.
In 1967, they reached a compromise that saw the birth of Super Bowl, with the two leagues still holding different conferences. After 1970, they both decided to integrate completely, adopting the NFL’s logo and name. The rest is history.
Over the years, the NFL has turned Super Bowl half-time to money-minting events that attract some of the highest ranking artists and cutting-edge adverts. Those 13 minutes are action-packed, and some say they are becoming bigger than the main event.
So, before you make your NFL Superbowl predictions for 2020, here are the 5 half time performances in the history of the event.
- Prince – 2007 in Miami, Florida
February 4, 2007, the Indianapolis Colts played the Chicago Bears in a match that was quite dramatic. It poured heavily and caused slips in the field, but the game didn’t stop, and in the end, the Colts took the day. Even though the league tried to keep a tight lid on who would be performing at Super Bowl XXVII halftime, rumour had it the Purple One would be singing his heart out. And that he did.
With 93 million viewers tuning in and watching from the field, Prince gave the performance of his life. Not even a slippery stage could prevent his team of dancers from twirling and twisting to his melodies. Asked if the weather conditions disturbed him, the icon joked; “Can you make it rain harder? We Will Rock You, Let’s Go Crazy, and other ballads led to what is said to be his best rendition of Purple Rain.
- Beyoncé – Feb 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana
Super Bowl XLVII was graced by Beyoncé, who would return on the stage three years later with Coldplay and Bruno Mars. But for this 2013, performance, Queen Bey started off lightly with the cappella version of Love on Top, before bringing the crowd to life with Crazy in Love, End of Time, and Baby Boy. To end the show, the singer brought on members of her former girls’ group, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams for Bootylicious, Independent Women Part 1, and the showstopper, Single Ladies. Beyoncé is known for electrifying performances, and this one was no different. 108 million viewers watched that year’s Super Bowl, according to CBS.
- Michael Jackson – 1993 in Pasadena, California
Super Bowl XXVII Halftime show featured the King of Pop, who, dressed in a brass-buttoned military-style outfit, exploded out of the bottom of the stadium to rock the crowd with one of his hits, Jam. Before this performance, Super Bowl halftime wasn’t as hyped as it is now, but still, some 90.99 million fans tuned in for that performance. Apart from Jam, Jackson performed 5 more of his biggest hits, including Billie Jean, Black or White, We Are the World and Heal the World. Even though the rumors about Jackson behavior have risen again in recent years, this performance remains etched in the memory of the icon’s fans.
- Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and NSYNC – 2001 in Tampa, Florida
Super Bowl XXXV’s halftime show of 2001 featured some of the best artists in the music industry and has for the longest time been referred to as one of the most iconic of all. It all started with boys band ‘N SYNC performing Bye Bye Bye, before ushering in Aerosmith who drives the crowd wild with the ballad I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing. Justin Timberlake takes over with Its Gonna Be Me that ends with both bands singing harmoniously. Just as they coming to the end of their performance, Britney Spears, who was then a darling to many, rocks the crowd with her melodious voice that marries perfectly with Mary J. Blige’s tone. This performance was one for the books.
- Lady Gaga – 2017 in Houston, Texas
Stefani Joanna Angelina Germanotta was the official performer for SuperBowl LI, and she made sure the 117.5 million viewers watching her got their money’s worth. Gaga, known for dramatic and creative performances did not disappoint as she jumped into the stage from the sky – or so it seemed – to perform heartfelt renditions of God Bless America and then This Is Your Land, before launching into Poker Face, Telephone, Born This Way, Million Reasons, Just Dance, and Bad Romance. Being the star she is, Gaga managed to get all these – and five four costume changes – done in 13 minutes.