An illustrated history of the Super Bowl Halftime Show

In the beginning, the mission of the Super Bowl halftime show was to fill time and entertain fans who weren’t stuck in lines at the concession stands or the bathrooms. As the NFL and its championship grew and evolved, the halftime show did as well, until a crazy afternoon in 1993 when Michael Jackson drew more eyeballs than the game. Here’s a look at every Super Bowl halftime show, in all its cheese-tastic glory.

By Bonnie Berkowitz and Lazaro Gamio

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Big bands

Early Super Bowls, like the still-maturing NFL, drew less press and prestige than many college games. Their earnest, patriotic halftimes featured marching bands, usually from nearby schools.

Super Bowl I, Jan. 15, 1967

University of Arizona Band, Grambling College Band, trumpeter Al Hirt

Performers
University of Arizona Band, Grambling College Band, trumpeter Al Hirt
Location
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Final Score
Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10

A new venue for change

The first show was wonderfully free of commercialization and bloat. Two college bands (neither from Michigan, contrary to the NFL's list of entertainers) formed shapes of classic Americana, such as a paddle boat and the Liberty Bell. And there were jet packs! All this played out in Los Angeles, which was recovering from the 1965 Watts riots. At the time, the band from Grambling was criticized by some in the African American community for playing amid the climate of racial tension, said Larry Pannell, the band's current director. But soon other historically black schools saw the Super Bowl as a grand showcase, and now the Grambling band is considered a trailblazer.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10

Super Bowl II, Jan. 14, 1968

Bands from seven local high schools:
Coral Gables, Hialeah, Miami Carol City, Miami Palmetto, Miami Senior, Northwestern Senior, Southwest Miami Senior

Performers
Bands from seven local high schools:
Coral Gables, Hialeah, Miami Carol City, Miami Palmetto, Miami Senior, Northwestern Senior, Southwest Miami Senior
Location
Orange Bowl, Miami
Final Score
Green Bay Packers 33, Oakland Raiders 14

Mystery bands revealed!

The NFL and nearly every published source — go ahead, Google it — say the Grambling band played this halftime show as well. But the folks at Grambling were adamant that they did not play again until Super Bowl IX. If not Grambling, then who? Archivist Jon Kendle of the Pro Football Hall of Fame settled the mystery by digging up the "1968 World Championship Game Pre-Game and Half-Time Entertainment Program," which stated that halftime entertainment, dubbed "Old Man Winter Takes a Vacation in Miami," was provided by seven Miami-area high school bands.

Orange Bowl, Miami

Green Bay Packers 33, Oakland Raiders 14

Super Bowl III, Jan. 12, 1969

Florida A&M; University Marching Band

Performers
Florida A&M; University Marching Band
Location
Orange Bowl, Miami
Final Score
New York Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7

Free bird

The start was somewhat odd as the iconic, high-stepping FAMU band appeared to emerge from a giant, inflatable intestinal tract. But once clear of the tunnel, the band members formed an excellent eagle in flight and the tribute to America was underway. A narrator quoted John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., who had been assassinated the previous year, then invited the crowd to sing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Orange Bowl, Miami

New York Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7

Star power

Big names from the world of entertainment are pulled in as the game begins to transcend sports, although the marching bands refused to yield.

Super Bowl IV, Jan. 11, 1970

Southern University Band, Al Hirt, Marguerite Piazza, Lionel Hampton, Doc Severinson — and, possibly, Carol Channing

Performers
Southern University Band, Al Hirt, Marguerite Piazza, Lionel Hampton, Doc Severinson — and, possibly, Carol Channing
Location
Tulane Stadium, New Orleans
Final Score
Kansas City Chiefs 23, Minnesota Vikings 7

Where is Carol?

Broadway and movie star Carol Channing brought glitz to the gridiron as the first solo halftime performer. But was it this halftime? The NFL, a 2014 Pepsi ad and Channing herself all say it was 1970, so who are we to quibble. But the video is Channing-free, and she is not mentioned with the other performers. She supposedly sang "When the Saints Go Marching In," but the video shows the band playing that number sans Channing. Archivist Jon Kendle from the Pro Football Hall of Fame found no news clips from the days after the game that mention her — not even a New York Daily News story that mentioned Hirt, Piazza and the Southern band. Did the New York paper just forget to name-drop a huge Broadway star? It's another mystery. (Don't worry, she shows up for certain in Super Bowl VI.)

Tulane Stadium, New Orleans

Kansas City Chiefs 23, Minnesota Vikings 7

Super Bowl V, Jan. 17, 1971

Anita Bryant, Southeast Missouri State Band

Performers
Anita Bryant, Southeast Missouri State Band
Location
Orange Bowl, Miami
Final Score
Baltimore Colts 16, Dallas Cowboys 13

Orange juice in the Orange Bowl

According the Anita Bryant Ministries website, Bryant sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," which was standard fare for her. Her appearance in this show is perpetually cited by folks who contend that the NFL's taste was stubbornly unhip. They could be right, but it's worth noting that at the time, Bryant was widely known for orange juice ads and the 1960 hit "Paper Roses" and not yet for her virulent opposition to homosexuality and gay rights. Also, the Southeast Missouri State band was probably pretty cool.

Orange Bowl, Miami

Baltimore Colts 16, Dallas Cowboys 13

Super Bowl VI, Jan. 16, 1972

Ella Fitzgerald, Carol Channing, Al Hirt, U.S. Marine Corps Drill Team

Performers
Ella Fitzgerald, Carol Channing, Al Hirt, U.S. Marine Corps Drill Team
Location
Tulane Stadium, New Orleans
Final Score
Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 3

Here is Carol — and Ella

Channing sang for sure this time: There is photographic evidence with the scoreboard in the background. The NFL says jazz great Ella Fitzgerald also led a tribute to another jazz great, Louis Armstrong, who had died the previous year.

Tulane Stadium, New Orleans

Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 3

Super Bowl VII, Jan. 14, 1973

Andy Williams, University of Michigan Band, Woody Herman Band

Performers
Andy Williams, University of Michigan Band, Woody Herman Band
Location
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Final Score
Miami Dolphins 14, Washington Redskins 7

Happy halftime

The theme was "Happiness is ..." and watching this will make you happy, or at least smirky. Among the things happiness is, apparently: America, a bullfight, air travel as demonstrated by guys carrying a white model airplane shell around a map made of band members, women high-kicking on the facemasks of motorized NFL helmets, and according to singer Andy Williams, marmalade and people who need people.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Miami Dolphins 14, Washington Redskins 7

Super Bowl VIII, Jan. 13, 1974

University of Texas Band

Performers
University of Texas Band
Location
Rice Stadium, Houston
Final Score
Miami Dolphins 24, Minnesota Vikings 7

Lone Star state of mind

The Longhorn Band and the reigning Miss Texas (on fiddle) played a musical ode to — what else? — America. Notable: This was the game about which Hunter S. Thompson wrote the hilariously profane and drug-riddled "Fear and Loathing at the Super Bowl."

Rice Stadium, Houston

Miami Dolphins 24, Minnesota Vikings 7

Super Bowl IX, Jan. 12, 1975

Mercer Ellington and Grambling State University Band

Performers
Mercer Ellington and Grambling State University Band
Location
Tulane Stadium, New Orleans
Final Score
Pittsburgh Steelers 16, Minnesota Vikings 6

All that jazz

Jazz got a lot of airtime in Super Bowl halftimes. In this one, the Grambling State band returned for the first time since Super Bowl I for this float-o-rama tribute to Duke Ellington in which his son, Mercer, led the Duke Ellington Band.

Tulane Stadium, New Orleans

Pittsburgh Steelers 16, Minnesota Vikings 6

Super Bowl X, Jan. 18, 1976

Up With People

Performers
Up With People
Location
Orange Bowl, Miami
Final Score
Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Dallas Cowboys 17

Sounds like 200 years

This show celebrated the country's bicentennial with several hundred relentlessly perky performers, including a few who danced on a giant, wheeled birthday cake while the rest executed marching-band-like formations such as a Liberty Bell (yep, with the crack). This was the first halftime show that brought in a concert-quality sound system that covered the stadium rather than relying on whatever audio equipment was in place for the game, according to Steve Rokowski, Up With People's technical director at the time.

Orange Bowl, Miami

Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Dallas Cowboys 17

Super Bowl XI, Jan. 9, 1977

L.A. Unified All-City Band

Performers
L.A. Unified All-City Band
Location
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
Final Score
Oakland Raiders 32, Minnesota Vikings 14

The mouse gets involved

The Walt Disney production included the only known entity that could out-perky Up With People: Mouseketeers. Formations were created by pairs of people holding cloth between them, resembling a field full of enormous hyphens. Makes you wonder what Hunter S. Thompson would have written if, on top of everything else, he'd had "It's a Small World" stuck in his head.

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.

Oakland Raiders 32, Minnesota Vikings 14

Super Bowl XII, Jan. 15, 1978

Tyler Apache Belles, Pete Fountain, Al Hirt

Performers
Tyler Apache Belles, Pete Fountain, Al Hirt
Location
Superdome, New Orleans
Final Score
Dallas Cowboys 27, Denver Broncos 10

Dancing and dogs

The first halftime show in a dome featured the Apache Belles, a drill team from Tyler Junior College whose trademark "high kick" dancers still tour the country. (Well, probably not the same ones from 1978.) The game's speediest runners appeared at halftime as well: two shirt-clad dogs that chased down Frisbees thrown from midfield.

Superdome, New Orleans

Dallas Cowboys 27, Denver Broncos 10

Super Bowl XIII, Jan. 21, 1979

Jamaican folk singer Ken Hamilton and various Caribbean bands

Performers
Jamaican folk singer Ken Hamilton and various Caribbean bands
Location
Orange Bowl, Miami
Final Score
Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31

Float 1, Goal post 0

The theme was "Salute to the Caribbean," but the mellow was harshed when a float snagged a goalpost as it was being wheeled off the field. Freeing the float — a giant map of the islands, according to a 1988 Philadelphia Daily News story — took eight minutes of maneuvering and delayed the third quarter. Steelers Coach Chuck Noll threatened to pull his team in protest of the foolishness.

Orange Bowl, Miami

Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31

Super Bowl XIV, Jan. 20, 1980

Up With People, Grambling State University Marching Band

Performers
Up With People, Grambling State University Marching Band
Location
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
Final Score
Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Los Angeles Rams 19

And this was before Red Bull!

Say what you will about Up With People, they didn't mail it in. Hundreds of polo-shirted and poodle-skirted teens and 20-somethings sang "People are the energy," and they were — a flurry of white teeth, feathered hair and saddle shoes, at one point forming what may be history's most awkward conga line.

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.

Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Los Angeles Rams 19

Super Bowl XV, Jan. 25, 1981

Southern University Band, Helen O'Connell

Performers
Southern University Band, Helen O'Connell
Location
Superdome, New Orleans
Final Score
Oakland Raiders 27, Philadelphia Eagles 10

Mardi Gras homecoming

Mardi Gras was the theme, but the biggest celebration was for the homecoming of 52 American hostages freed five days before the game after more than a year of captivity in Iran. The Superdome was festooned with yellow ribbons — on every fan, on beer taps and even on a mop handle, according to a story by The Post's Len Shapiro. Why yellow ribbons? A folk custom got new life in a popular 1973 song about a man returning home from prison. He told his beloved to tie a yellow ribbon around a certain tree that his bus would pass if she wanted him back. When he got to the tree, it was covered in 100 yellow ribbons. So long before pink ribbons symbolized the fight against breast cancer, yellow ones meant a long-awaited welcome home.

Superdome, New Orleans

Oakland Raiders 27, Philadelphia Eagles 10

Super Bowl XVI, Jan. 24, 1982

Up With People

Performers
Up With People
Location
Silverdome, Pontiac, Mich.
Final Score
San Francisco 49ers 26, Cincinnati Bengals 21

This was the '60s?

"Sounds of the 1960s" began with 430 people storming the stage in a chaotic rush, which seemed historically plausible, but then they started dancing, no punches were thrown and no police became involved. The sanitized medley of '60s music was more variety show than counter-culture and appeared to be devoid of any sex, drugs or rock-and-roll.

Silverdome, Pontiac, Mich.

San Francisco 49ers 26, Cincinnati Bengals 21

Super Bowl XVII, Jan. 30, 1983

Los Angeles Super Drill Team

Performers
Los Angeles Super Drill Team
Location
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
Final Score
Washington Redskins 27, Miami Dolphins 17

Card trick

The theme was "KaleidoSUPERscope," according to the NFL. It was staged by Robert Jani, the guru behind many spectacular live productions such as the 1976 bicentennial extravaganza in New York Harbor. (He also produced the goalpost-grabbing Caribbean show in 1979.) The show was notable for an audience-participation scheme that involved 103,000 synchronized flash cards held aloft, colorizing the Rose Bowl. Several Super Bowl halftimes, including Michael Jackson's in 1993, included card stunts that took advantage of the overhead capability of the big game's TV cameras.

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.

Washington Redskins 27, Miami Dolphins 17

Super Bowl XVIII, Jan. 22, 1984

University of Florida and Florida State University bands

Performers
University of Florida and Florida State University bands
Location
Tampa Stadium
Final Score
Los Angeles Raiders 38, Washington Redskins 9

More from the mouse

Disney's salute to Superstars of the Silver Screen was exactly as you would imagine. It was an explosion of floats, balloons, Disney characters, impossibly wholesome-looking dancers performing tightly choreographed Hollywood standards (i.e. "Puttin' On the Ritz") and a regal appearance by The Mouse himself. CBS co-anchor Phyllis George declared it "the best Super Bowl halftime we've ever had."

Tampa Stadium

Los Angeles Raiders 38, Washington Redskins 9

Super Bowl XIX, Jan. 20, 1985

U.S. Air Force Band: "Tops in Blue"

Performers
U.S. Air Force Band: "Tops in Blue"
Location
Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, Calif.
Final Score
San Francisco 49ers 38, Miami Dolphins 16

Inside kids' heads?

This was about children's dreams: Trains. The Olympic rings. Broadway. Pirate ships. Balloons. Clowns (insert nightmare joke here). The Space Shuttle. Freedom. The Air Force Band reprised the human map, filling it with stars and stripes. Best of all, there was another jet pack!

Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, Calif.

San Francisco 49ers 38, Miami Dolphins 16

Super stages

Who'd have thought the impossibly large stage productions of the Rolling Stones, Prince and Beyoncé would trace their roots to Up With People?

Super Bowl XX, Jan. 26, 1986

Up With People

Performers
Up With People
Location
Superdome, New Orleans
Final Score
Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10

Upstaged by a 'Shuffle'

The most memorable game-related musical performance was the Chicago Bears' prescient, audacious and awful-yet-awesome "Super Bowl Shuffle," recorded three months before the game and nominated for a Grammy. (Prince and the Revolution's "Kiss" won instead. Prince performed the next time the Bears appeared in a Super Bowl, in 2007. Coincidence? Yep.) Up With People's halftime show, the fourth for the group, was notable, however: It was the first to feature a large stage that had to be assembled on the field, the precursor to the massive stage designs of recent years. The 32-piece set contained as much lumber as a three-bedroom house and stretched between the two 32-yard-lines.

Superdome, New Orleans

Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10

Super Bowl XXI, Jan. 25, 1987

Grambling, George Burns, Mickey Rooney, Southern California high school drill teams and dancers

Performers
Grambling, George Burns, Mickey Rooney, Southern California high school drill teams and dancers
Location
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
Final Score
New York Giants 39, Denver Broncos 20

Even more mouse

Disney again, this time a Salute to Hollywood, which is different from Disney's Salute to the Silver Screen three years before. This one featured a pre-recorded intro by comedian George Burns, who was 91 at the time, and a song-and-dance by actor Mickey Rooney, arm-in-arm with Mickey Mouse. The music was more current than classic, with exceptionally Disney-fied songs from movies such as "Footloose," "Flashdance" and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." Brent Musberger introduced the show but did not employ his signature, "Youuuu are looking liiiiiiiiive!"

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.

New York Giants 39, Denver Broncos 20

Super Bowl XXII, Jan. 31, 1988

Chubby Checker, Rockettes

Performers
Chubby Checker, Rockettes
Location
Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego
Final Score
Washington Redskins 42, Denver Broncos 10

Key performances

Twelve hundred performers participated in Radio City Music Hall's extravagant ode to the piano. Included, according to the Philadelphia Daily News, were 400 swing band members, 300 Jazzercisers, 88 tuxedoed pianists on 88 Kimball grand pianos, 44 Rockettes, two college marching bands (San Diego State's and USC's) and one Chubby Checker. Radio City's publicist described it to the paper as "sequenced pandemonium."

Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego

Washington Redskins 42, Denver Broncos 10

Super Bowl XXIII, Jan. 22, 1989

South Florida-area dancers, Magician Elvis Presto

Performers
South Florida-area dancers, Magician Elvis Presto
Location
Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
Final Score
San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16

A new dimension

The halftime show was hyped not for content but for format: It was shown in 3-D. Coke distributed 3-D glasses in its packages leading up to the game, and a 3-D ad for Diet Coke started the show. The actual entertainment was an Elvis-impersonating magician (seriously) and a massive, audience-participation card trick. At the end, Bob Costas, dutifully wearing orange cardboard glasses, said with mock sincerity, "This is the single proudest moment of my life."

Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.

San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16

Super Bowl XXIV, Jan. 28, 1990

Pete Fountain, Doug Kershaw, Irma Thomas

Performers
Pete Fountain, Doug Kershaw, Irma Thomas
Location
Superdome, New Orleans
Final Score
San Francisco 49ers 55, Denver Broncos 10

More goalpost trauma

The transformation of a large stage into a behemoth 120-foot-long, five-story steamboat was part of the show, a salute to New Orleans and Peanuts (yes, the comic strip) for Snoopy's 40th birthday. It added a degree of difficulty to the job of the Superdome crew: A goal post had to be taken down to make room for the ship and hurriedly replaced before the third quarter.

Superdome, New Orleans

San Francisco 49ers 55, Denver Broncos 10

Super Bowl XXV, Jan. 27, 1991

New Kids on the Block

Performers
New Kids on the Block
Location
Tampa Stadium
Final Score
New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19

War news supercedes halftime

Because the United States had just begun Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf, the halftime show was tape-delayed until after the game and a Gulf War news report shown instead. It was just as well; the boy band couldn't compare to Whitney Houston's electrifying pregame National Anthem.

Tampa Stadium

New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19

Super Bowl XXVI, Jan. 26, 1992

Gloria Estefan, Brian Boitano, Dorothy Hamil

Performers
Gloria Estefan, Brian Boitano, Dorothy Hamil
Location
Metrodome, Minneapolis
Final Score
Washington Redskins 37, Buffalo Bills 24

Fox steals the show

Upstart network Fox made a cheeky move that upped the ante for all future halftime shows. It flouted conventional wisdom and aired a live episode of edgy sketch comedy "In Living Color" opposite CBS's Super Bowl halftime show. A snow-themed production starring Gloria Estefan and the two Olympic ice skaters were no match, and the game broadcast lost 10 ratings points.

Metrodome, Minneapolis

Washington Redskins 37, Buffalo Bills 24

Retrain-Your-Bladder Era

The recruitment of bona fide superstar Michael Jackson caused a change in viewers' behavior. Millions apparently opted to go to the bathroom around the two-minute warning, as halftime ratings surpassed ratings for the actual game for the first time.

Super Bowl XXVII, Jan. 31, 1993

Michael Jackson (plus 3,500 local children)

Performers
Michael Jackson (plus 3,500 local children)
Location
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
Final Score
Dallas Cowboys 52, Buffalo Bills 17

King of halftime

NBC, determined to keep viewers, came up with a show that couldn't be ignored. James Earl Jones set it up in his best voice-of-God intonation, and the King of Pop stood motionless for nearly a minute and a half as the Rose Bowl crowd screamed. It was a high-energy, feel-good inclusive-o-rama (theme: "Heal the World") featuring a finale with 3,500 children and teens in the days before MJ in a crowd of kids would raise eyebrows.

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.

Dallas Cowboys 52, Buffalo Bills 17

Super Bowl XXVIII, Jan. 30, 1994

Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, the Judds

Performers
Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, the Judds
Location
Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Final Score
Dallas Cowboys 30, Buffalo Bills 13

More is more

An astonishing number of backup performers crowded onto the field for this, all in lockstep like the world's biggest line dance, except that many were armed with pink light sabres. The finale, the Judds' song "Love Can Build a Bridge," included random guests Stevie Wonder, Joe Namath, Ashley Judd (the one who doesn't sing), Lisa Hartman Black (Clint's wife) and a young, pre-Frodo Elijah Wood. Many shows to come would feature a seemingly random collection of famous people seemingly thrown together in a blender to see what would happen.

Georgia Dome, Atlanta

Dallas Cowboys 30, Buffalo Bills 13

Super Bowl XXIX, Jan. 29, 1995

Tony Bennett, Patti LaBelle, Arturo Sandoval, the Miami Sound Machine

Performers
Tony Bennett, Patti LaBelle, Arturo Sandoval, the Miami Sound Machine
Location
Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
Final Score
San Francisco 49ers 49, San Diego Chargers 26

Too bad the Raiders weren't playing

Disney has been responsible for some of the more bizarre halftime shows, such as this Raiders of the Lost Ark motif featuring flaming skydivers, snakes, skulls, a giant rolling boulder, a stolen Vince Lombardi trophy and, naturally, Tony Bennett.

Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.

San Francisco 49ers 49, San Diego Chargers 26

Super Bowl XXX, Jan. 28, 1996

Diana Ross

Performers
Diana Ross
Location
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.
Final Score
Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17

Maybe she wanted to beat traffic

The award for Best Exit from a Halftime Show goes to Diana Ross. After beginning the show perched on a spindly tower at midfield and climbing to the top of a gold-draped mountain that clearly wasn't high enough, Ross sang "take me higher" and a helicopter swooped in to do just that. It wasn't subtle or nuanced at all, but it was pretty cool.

Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.

Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17

Super Bowl XXXI, Jan. 26, 1997

The Blues Brothers (Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, James Belushi), James Brown, ZZ Top

Performers
The Blues Brothers (Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, James Belushi), James Brown, ZZ Top
Location
Superdome, New Orleans
Final Score
Green Bay Packers 35, New England Patriots 21

Tragedy in rehearsal

The performances weren't somber, but the mood was. The show was dedicated to aerialist Laura "Dinky" Patterson, who had died three days earlier during practice for the finale. She was among a 16-member team who planned to bungee jump from the Superdome's roof, but she died of head trauma after her equipment failed, and the bungee sequence was removed from the show. Also noted was the passing of longtime NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, who had died the previous month of brain cancer.

Superdome, New Orleans

Green Bay Packers 35, New England Patriots 21

Super Bowl XXXII, Jan. 25, 1998

Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, Temptations, Queen Latifah, Grambling University Marching Band

Performers
Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, Temptations, Queen Latifah, Grambling University Marching Band
Location
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
Final Score
Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay Packers 24

Motown in San Diego

If you ever said to yourself, "Why do we so rarely hear Brett Favre and Martha Stewart sing?" here's your answer. After that intro in which famous non-singers cover "The Way You Do the Things You Do," bona fide Motown royalty took over Radio City's production. This collection of people actually made sense together!

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay Packers 24

Super Bowl XXXIII, Jan. 31, 1999

Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, dancer Savion Glover

Performers
Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, dancer Savion Glover
Location
Pro Player Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
Final Score
Denver Broncos 34, Atlanta Falcons 19

Stevie Wonder keeps busy

The man didn't just sing, he also tap-danced with Glover and drove an antique car onto the field. Fortunately, he sat at the keyboard for awhile, also. Estefan turned the beat around.

Pro Player Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.

Denver Broncos 34, Atlanta Falcons 19

Super Bowl XXXIV, Jan. 30, 2000

Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton

Performers
Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton
Location
Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Final Score
St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16

A strange millennial trip

This celebration of the new millennium is puzzling, as apparently Disney expected a major theme of the 2000s to be headgear that resembled exaggerated animal parts. A multi-story tapestry figure presided godlike over endless swirls of faceless puppets, dancers in tentacled hats, and drummers who sprouted porcupine spines. Edward James Olmos's narration did nothing to clear up the confusion, although he did mention dreams, so maybe someone was hallucinating.

Georgia Dome, Atlanta

St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16

Super Bowl XXXV, Jan. 28, 2001

Aerosmith, N'SYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Nelly

Performers
Aerosmith, N'SYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Nelly
Location
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
Final Score
Baltimore Ravens 34, New York Giants 7

Aerosmith and everybody else

This was a classic example of the melting pot philosophy of halftime assembly. Did Aerosmith really need Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears to adequately handle "Walk This Way?" And what were Mary J. Blige and Nelly doing in there? Still, the song did make people all over America bust a little move on their way to refill the dip bowl before the second half.

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

Baltimore Ravens 34, New York Giants 7

Super Bowl XXXVI, Feb. 3, 2002

U2

Performers
U2
Location
Superdome, New Orleans
Final Score
New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17

Moving tribute to 9/11 victims

Irish rockers in the first post-9/11 Super Bowl? No problem. During the finale, "Where the Streets Have No Name," the names of the victims and where they died scrolled up a massive backdrop in a literally moving tribute. At the end, Bono opened his jacket to reveal Stars and Stripes lining close to his heart.

Superdome, New Orleans

New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17

Super Bowl XXXVII, Jan. 26, 2003

Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting

Performers
Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting
Location
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
Final Score
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48, Oakland Raiders 21

Girl power

Shania Twain opened with "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" then during "Up!" rotated aloft over the field on the metal arm of a cherry picker-like contraption. Gwen Stefani did pushups before "Just a Girl," and she and Sting apparently ditched Shania and closed with a duet of "Message in a Bottle." There was a minor lip syncing hubbub — did Shania or didn't she? She probably didn't — but no greater cultural implications materialized.

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48, Oakland Raiders 21

Super Bowl XXXVIII, Feb. 1, 2004

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

Performers
Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, P. Diddy, Kid Rock, Nelly
Location
Reliant Stadium, Houston
Final Score
New England Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29

You know what this is

With a swipe of Justin Timberlake's hand, Jackson's right nipple was televised for 9/16ths of a second, and amid a spasm of FCC complaints, fines, apologies, legal maneuvering, hard feelings and the-world-is-ending angst, "wardrobe malfunction" became part of the American lexicon. The incident contributed to the growth of digital video recorders, the rise of YouTube, and of course, the expansion of the networks' use of several-second broadcast delays during live events.

Reliant Stadium, Houston

New England Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29

Over-the-hill rockers

This is subjective, of course — and it's not to say that past-their-prime stars haven't appeared before. But after Nipplegate, the NFL and networks booted MTV and lined up some long-in-the-tooth superstars whose edgier days were behind them. Mostly, these were single acts, but never fear! The bizarre ensembles and some younger pop stars come back in 2011.

Super Bowl XXXIX, Feb. 6, 2005

Paul McCartney

Performers
Paul McCartney
Location
Alltel Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla.
Final Score
New England Patriots 24, Philadelphia Eagles 21

Puppies vs. a Beatle

McCartney was a bit of an odd choice, no? A couple of times, he yelled, "Thank you, Super Bowl!" as if that were the name of the stadium. But there was one transcendant moment: McCartney had the good sense during his finale of "Hey, Jude," to silence the band and himself to listen to the crowd of 84,000 belting out the na-nas. In the alternative programming category, Animal Planet debuted the Puppy Bowl, in which a stadium-shaped playpen full of puppies romped around with a human referee. Highlights: A Jack Russell Terrier named Max was named MVP for his takedown of a much larger retriever named Mr. Sparkles, and a pup named Riley drew a key momentum-changing foul for unsportsmanlike piddling on the field.

Alltel Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla.

New England Patriots 24, Philadelphia Eagles 21

Super Bowl XL, Feb. 5, 2006

The Rolling Stones

Performers
The Rolling Stones
Location
Ford Field, Detroit
Final Score
Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Seattle Seahawks 10

After a Beatle, the Stones

As Mick said before launching into "Satisfaction," the Stones "could've done this one for Super Bowl I." An opening montage confirmed that, with photos of the band and NFL stars in the 1960s. The show was low on pyrotechnics but had an interesting visual: The stage was shaped like the Stones' logo, then the tongue was removed to reveal a pit packed with people, like writhing, colorful little taste buds.

Ford Field, Detroit

Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Seattle Seahawks 10

Super Bowl XLI, Feb. 4, 2007

Prince

Performers
Prince
Location
Dolphin Stadium, Miami
Final Score
Indianapolis Colts 29, Chicago Bears 17

A suspicious silhouette

After The Purple One sang "Purple Rain" in a stormy Miami downpour, CBS received complaints that his guitar, which was shaped like his name symbol, appeared weirdly sexual when he was shown in silhouette through a pale backdrop. Late-night talk show hosts riffed for days on what Stephen Colbert called Prince's "demonic guitar phallus."

Dolphin Stadium, Miami

Indianapolis Colts 29, Chicago Bears 17

Super Bowl XLII, Feb. 3, 2008

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Performers
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Location
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
Final Score
New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14

No frills for Petty

The guitar-shaped stage was part light show, but this mini-concert for adults had none of the outlandish costumes and elaborate staging of other productions, and it had a mellower vibe with songs like "Free Fallin'" and "Runnin' Down a Dream."

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14

Super Bowl XLIII, Feb. 1, 2009

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Performers
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Location
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
Final Score
Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23

Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuce!

After a pre-recorded clip of Steelers and Cardinals players and coaches doing the signature "booty-shakin', love makin', etc." E Street Band intro, The Boss warned people to "put the chicken fingers down" and he was off and running — quickly, because 12 minutes is a 100-meter dash compared to his usual marathon shows. There was a classic live-TV moment when Springsteen flew across a stage on his knees and his crotch hit the camera. Notable: After a fake referee threw a flag for delay of game, Springsteen left the stage yelling, "I'm going to Disneyland!" an indication that, unlike several previous performers, The Boss had actually watched a few Super Bowls.

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23

Super Bowl XLIV, Feb. 7, 2010

The Who

Performers
The Who
Location
Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
Final Score
New Orleans Saints 31, Indianapolis Colts 17

Halftime hears The Who

"Who?" was probably asked by millions of young viewers when the legendary but aging band took the stage. But the five classic songs they performed, the most recent of which came out in 1979, enjoyed a nearly 400 percent jump in digital sales the week after the game compared with the week before.

Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.

New Orleans Saints 31, Indianapolis Colts 17

Super Bowl XLV, Feb. 6, 2011

Black Eyed Peas

Performers
Black Eyed Peas
Location
Cowboys Stadium, Irving, Texas
Final Score
Green Bay Packers 31, Pittsburgh Steelers 25

Electric weirdness

The theme was "Tron legacy," and most of the show featured the robotically dressed group — Fergie wore what appeared to be electrified football pads — with hundreds of androgynous, green glowing dancers. Then, in an apparent break from theme, Fergie sang a bit of "Sweet Child O' Mine," while Slash played guitar. Axl Rose Legacy, perhaps?

Cowboys Stadium, Irving, Texas

Green Bay Packers 31, Pittsburgh Steelers 25

Super Bowl XLVI, Feb. 5, 2012

Madonna with Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., LMFAO, CeeLo Green

Performers
Madonna with Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., LMFAO, CeeLo Green
Location
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
Final Score
New York Giants 21, New England Patriots 17

Madonna goes a little overboard

The stated theme was "Polytheism," but unless you count Madonna's Cleopatra-like entrance, the worship of multiple gods didn’t really come up during the set that included “Vogue” and “Sexy And I Know It.” NBC had to apologize for M.I.A.'s flipping the bird for no apparent reason during "Give Me All Your Luvin.'" Overshadowed by the finger hubbub but still notable was a small slip by Madonna during "Music." But, hey, the woman was 53 years old and still doing cartwheels over the laps of young male professional dancers, so let's cut Madge a bit of slack.

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

New York Giants 21, New England Patriots 17

Super Bowl XLVII, Feb. 3, 2013

Beyoncé, Destiny's Child

Performers
Beyoncé, Destiny's Child
Location
Superdome, New Orleans
Final Score
Baltimore Ravens 34, San Francisco 49ers 31

Winning combo: Lombardi and Bey

Two names you don't expect to see in the same sentence: Vince Lombardi and Beyoncé. But if there's anything to be learned from Super Bowl halftime shows, it's that nothing is too strange. A Lombardi speech on excellence and the will to win led into Bey in front of an enormous, glowing outline of herself. She and her Destiny's Child cohorts reunited for three songs, including "Bootylicious" and "Single Ladies."

Superdome, New Orleans

Baltimore Ravens 34, San Francisco 49ers 31

Super Bowl XLVIII, Feb. 2, 2014

Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers

Performers
Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Location
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Final Score
Seattle Seahawks 43, Denver Broncos 8

Mars lands a ratings bonanza

The award for best-dressed goes to Bruno Mars and the Hooligans, whose gold jackets and old-school skinny ties oozed understated cool rather than just-landed-from-Neptune wacky like some recent performers. (We're looking at you, Madonna and Fergie.) The show attracted 115.3 million viewers, the most of any halftime show ever and almost 4 million more than the game itself.

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

Seattle Seahawks 43, Denver Broncos 8

Super Bowl XLIX, Feb. 1, 2015

Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott

Performers
Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott
Location
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
Final Score
New England Patriots 28, Seattle Seahawks 24

Perry catches fire, sort of

How many costumes can Katy Perry wear in 12 minutes? Apparently four. First, a mod flame paint job borrowed from 1970s-era Hot Wheels cars. Next, a surf-motif dress, then a sort-of football jersey, and finally a starry, silver evening gown for the finale. "Faces will melt," Perry had promised before the show, and her face appeared close to melting as she floated through the air looking terrified and singing “Firework” as actual fireworks went off around her. Post-show buzz centered on the species of a giant metallic feline Perry rode (lion or tiger?) and two dancing sharks.

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

New England Patriots 28, Seattle Seahawks 24

Super Bowl 50, Feb. 7, 2016

Coldplay, Beyonce, Bruno Mars

Performers
Coldplay, Beyonce, Bruno Mars
Location
Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
Final Score
Carolina Panthers 10, Denver Broncos 24

We miss Left Shark. (And so, apparently, does Twitter.)

When the NFL announced that Coldplay was the halftime show, fans around the country reacted with a resounding “Meh.” So the league quickly added Beyoncé and a “surprise guest” whom everyone knew was Bruno Mars. But halftime for the 50th Super Bowl had to be retro, right? Cue a psychedelic stage, dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of flower umbrellas right out of a “Laugh-In” episode — Google it, Millennials — and more smiling, perky young people than we’d seen since the Up With People days. Yet all that couldn’t keep people from the big question, “When is Beyoncé showing up?” When Bruno Mars and the Hooligans came out in suits apparently made from Hefty leaf bags, Beyoncé joined them for “Uptown Funk,” and all was well.

Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.

Carolina Panthers 10, Denver Broncos 24

Super Bowl LI, Feb. 5, 2017

Lady Gaga

Performers
Lady Gaga
Location
NRG Stadium, Houston
Final Score
New England Patriots 34, Atlanta Falcons 28

Flying Gaga

The roof at NRG Stadium opened and 300 giant Houston mosquitoes flew in — wait, no. They were (prerecorded) glowing Intel drones flying in formation as Lady Gaga appeared to belt out a quick patriotic riff on top of the building. She then tumbled to the field in a dizzying aerial stunt wearing a 1970s-style silver suit, simultaneously channeling Ziggy Stardust and Peter Pan. Her set included “Poker Face,” “Born This Way” and “Million Reasons,” but did not appear to include Satan, as had been speculated by a prominent conspiracy theorist. Her finale was equally gasp-inducing: After catching a silver football, she abruptly leaped off the ironwork set and … disappeared. Is she okay? Where did she go? Gaga’s performance was astonishing but not controversial. Controversy came moments before, in a commercial for 84 Lumber depicting a mother and daughter trying to cross the Mexican border. The ad was initially rejected as too political, and the company had to retool it.

NRG Stadium, Houston

New England Patriots 34, Atlanta Falcons 28