Legendary recording artist Tom Petty died at a Los Angeles hospital on Oct. 2 at the age of 66, after being found unconscious at his Malibu home. (Erin Patrick O'Connor/The Washington Post)

Compared with recent Super Bowl halftime shows, Tom Petty’s appearance at Super Bowl XLII was a fairly low-key affair.

The 2008 game in Glendale, Ariz., was memorable for other things, such as the New England Patriots’ bid for a 19-0 season falling short and David Tyree’s miraculous catch for the New York Giants. Against that backdrop, it’s easy to forget that Petty and the Heartbreakers delivered a great show, hitting on some of his best material.

Petty, who died Monday night at the age of 66, didn’t need to descend from a rooftop.

It was enough that he ran through “American Girl,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Free Fallin’” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream” in a performance that lasted 12 minutes and left everybody Googling for more.

Warren Zanes, author of “Petty: The Biography,” explained to The Post’s Geoff Edgers in 2015 that Petty was often underrated. “People go, ‘oh, it’s too commercial.’” And music was always the thing for Petty.

“He didn’t ever get a trampoline out and do a back flip,” Zanes said. “No, he goes out and plays the songs that he wrote.”

At Super Bowl XLII, that was more than enough.

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