(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

With Super Bowl LIIIVXIIICLXM on the horizon, it’s time for you to crown the best Super Bowl Halftime Show ever.


And I truly mean you. I’m not a football guy, an NFL guy, or a Super Bowl guy. Sure, I’ve sat through my fair share of The Most Important American Cultural Event of the Year over the years, but I just don’t have the attention span for it. Watching an NFL game is like having ADD, from what I’ve been told by those close to me who’ve been diagnosed with ADD. Adding Super Bowl ads to the mix is like giving ADD PEDs.


That being said, when the act is an interesting one, I’ll check out the Halftime Show. Sometimes live during the game, other times online the morning after. I feel like, next to each year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee announcement, who’s playing the Halftime Show is the most polarizing popular music subject in America. Both leading up to, during, and after the performance.


What’s the Best Super Bowl Halftime Show Ever? Pick Your Fave!

Here’s the deal: I’ve done the research, but I need you to do the rest. Starting with Michael Jackson’s Big Game performance during the Bills-Cowboys matchup in January of 1993, I’ve identified what I believe to be the biggest Halftime Show spectacles of the last 30 years. Scroll through my list below, then vote for your favorite.


And again, since this isn’t my area of expertise, I’m leaning on you. After you vote, hit the ROCK 92.9 Facebook page to tell me why you chose the performance you chose. Or, if there’s a year I left off (apologies to ’94’s “Rockin’ Country Sunday” with Clint Black and Tanya Tucker), you can holler at me about that, too. We’re ROCK 92.9, so I’ve focused mainly on the “rock” acts that have performed over the years. OK, let’s kick this off! See what I did there? Football terminology!

  • Michael Jackson

    Super Bowl XXVII, 1993 – Throughout the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, the Super Bowl Halftime Show consisted mainly of college marching bands and Up With People. That changed with the King of Pop in ’93.

  • Diana Ross

    Super Bowl XXX, 1996 – After a couple of years of themed shows with all-star lineups, the NFL went back to supernova star power with Ms. Ross in ’96 for the 30th anniversary of the Super Bowl. Nothing but hits.

  • Aerosmith & NSYNC

    Super Bowl XXXV, 2001 – Billed as “The Kings of Rock and Pop,” 2K1 saw the Bad Boys from Boston join one of the biggest Boy Bands of the day for a musical Marvel Team-Up. There were some pretty big special guests, too.

  • U2

    Super Bowl XXXVI, 2002 – U2 headlined a touching tribute to 9/11 victims just months after the tragedy. It was a moving, memorable performance that still lingers over two decades later.

  • "Nipplegate"

    Super Bowl XXXVIII, 2004 – Sure, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake were joined by Jessica Simpson, Nelly, Kid Rock, and Puff Daddy in ’04. But all anyone will ever remember is Ms. Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction.” NSFW, of course.

  • Paul McCartney

    Super Bowl XXXIX, 2005 – So how do you follow up the most controversial performance in the history of the Super Bowl Halftime Show? You book a Beatle. Because everyone loves the Beatles and Sir Paul.

  • The Rolling Stones

    Super Bowl XXXL, 2006 – It’s almost as if the NFL execs were like: “Hmmm…people seem to love classic rock…and we were nipple-free last year…so…” So they booked the Stones. Wise choice.

  • Prince

    Super Bowl XXXLI, 2007 – A halftime performance so iconic that oral histories have been written about it and documentaries have been produced. Prince playing “Purple Rain” in the rain.

  • Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

    Super Bowl XXXLII, 2008 – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers might be the very definition of “crowdpleaser.” It’s hard to find anyone who didn’t enjoy this Super Bowl Halftime Show.

  • Bruce Springsteen

    Super Bowl XXXLIII, 2009 – Isn’t this the one where Little Stevie shouts “IT’S BOSS TIME!” Cringe. But hey, it’s The Boss playing at the Super Bowl. How did it take this long for these two to come together?

  • The Who

    Super Bowl XLIV, 2010 – The late 2000s really were a golden era for big-name performances at the Super Bowl Halftime Show. The Who continued that trend into the first year of the 2010s.

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers

    Super Bowl XLVIII, 2014 – Sure, Bruno Mars was the “headliner” that year. And he was great! But I was tuning in to see the Chilis. And I’m guessing if you’re reading this, you probably were, too. Even though they had to “fake it.”

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