5 Worst Super Bowl Halftime Performances Ever

By Aaron Kroh
January 27, 2013 11:04 pm
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50,827 Views 35 Comments

The San Fransisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens will be rolling into New Orleans this week in preparation for Super Bowl XVII. The Super Bowl is the most watched event every year in America. Last year, 111 million Americans tuned into Super Bowl XLVI and broke many television ratings records.

Even more impressive than that, is the fact that even more people tuned in to see pop legend, Madonna perform during halftime. Since the mid-1980's, the Super Bowl halftime show has become an integral part of pop culture. It has featured chart-topping musicians from all genres over the years. They perform a 12-15 minute set of hits and put on a show for the fans and viewers around the globe.

For those of you too young to remember the first decade-plus of Super Bowls, they used the traditional marching band theme; a college or university marching band would play as the halftime entertainment. The marching band lasted in some capacity during halftime shows up through the 1990 Super Bowl. 

In 1991, the NFL celebrated their 25th anniversary of the Super Bowl and it was the first year the halftime show featured a popular recording act as the main attraction. Walt Disney World and Coca-Cola sponsored the event that featured the New Kids on the Block, Disney characters, Warren Moon and 2,00o local Tampa children.

From that point on, we have seen the likes of Gloria Estefan (1992), Michael Jackson (1993), the Rolling Stones (2006), the Who (2010), U2 (2001) and Madonna (2012). With all of the talent that has graced the Super Bowl stage, none had a larger audience than Madonna's show, with about 114 million viewers. Three more million than the actual game.

There has been a lot of talented performers take the big stage, but in no way have all of the Super Bowl halftime performances been winner's. Here is a look at the top five acts that will have you shaking your head instead of shaking to the music.

Comment with your favorite Super Bowl halftime performance and if you would like to see them change back to a marching band style halftime show.

 

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Previous Comments (35)

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14 months ago
The Janet Jackson performance was the best ever.
14 months ago

I didn't care for that performance. I liked the individual performers a lot better than a bunch of big names. It's really hard to fit everything they want to do into 15 minutes.
14 months ago
Great list, although I like Tom Petty and have enjoyed three of his concerts in person. I agree with your point that single-artist shows have been the most successful.

Another problem I had with the Black-Eyed Peas performance was that Fergie's voice was terrible because it wasn't electronically enhanced.
14 months ago

Thanks Tom. I listen to Tom Petty myself occasionally, but for a halftime show, he just isn't someone that would be one top of the list.
I forgot about how bad Fergie's voice sounded also. That was just a bad performance.
14 months ago

....Fergie's voice was fine. They just tried to cram too much into that performance
14 months ago
If you look at my rankings for the 5 Best Halftime shows, it's nice to see that neither one of us had any of the same acts. I like Tom Petty in concert. But when it comes to the Super Bowl, The Boss was better. And NO ONE remembers the Janet Jackson performance, everyone remembers the ending.
14 months ago
Petty was grrrrreat.
14 months ago

So was Tony the Tiger! :-)
14 months ago
Janet Jackson, even with the tit misfit..
14 months ago
Tom petty should not be on this list. "American Girl" is an anthem. You could go back a little further and find some much worse.
14 months ago

I could've put the Phil Collins and Christina Aguilera one in Petty's place, but again it's not that I'm bashing Tom Petty, I just think his show could've used a little more. It just was a bland performance, that's all.
14 months ago
All of the Tom Petty fans are reading this post! When I composed this list, he was the last one that I thought anyone would care about. Well, turns out a lot of you liked the Petty performance. There were some better than his (Rolling Stones, Prince, Diana Ross) and at least four that were worse in mind. I went back and forth with the Phil Collins one a few others, but Petty ended up being the one put up on the chopping block. I did like the fact that he performed alone.
14 months ago
HOw the hell is a titty exposed a bad thing? Every freakin day men hope a titty pops out. At work, walking down the street, or even at your sons Bar Mitzvah. Anybody that shouldnt have seen that titty shouldnt have been up that late on a school night.
14 months ago

The "wardrobe malfunction" is a tiny part of what makes Super Bowl XXXVIII number one on this list. It was just a poor production in my opinion and the so-called wardrobe malfunction topped it off. There is no possible way to cram Janet Jackson, P. Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock, and a duet with Janet and Justin into the short time they tried to. I am just thankful MTV doesn't produce the shows anymore.
14 months ago

well im thankful that youre not in charge of the halftime shows either. What band/singer would YOU pick to satisfy the millions of music fans out there once a year during a football game? Only the people/person you like? How selfish.
14 months ago

Not at all. I would love to pick performers for the halftime show, but I'm certain my choices would get criticized just as these ones did. There were some good shows put on over the years, where I didn't care for the performer, but felt they did well. U2 comes to mind, Shania Twain w/ No Doubt, etc... Prince put on a great show a few years ago. I will say that I am partial to the single acts, rather than a bunch of individuals. Thanks for your opinion.
14 months ago
Yes Aaron...clearly the performers you listed were terrible in comparison to these stellar halftime shows

1967 ~ The University of Arizona Symphonic band, The Anahiem High School Marching Band, Grambling University Marching Band & Al Hirt

1968 ~ Grambling State University Marching Band

1969 ~ Florida A&M Marching Bands

1970 ~ Carol Channing, Southern University Marching Band

1971 ~ Up With People, Southeast Missouri Marching Band

1972 ~ Tribute to Louis Armstrong & The USMC Marching Band

1973 ~ Andy Williams and the University of Michigan Marching Band

1974 ~ A musical tribute to America featuring Miss Texas on the fiddle

1975 ~ Tribute to Duke Ellington with Mercer Ellington & Grambling State University Marching Bands.

1976 ~ Up With People

1977 ~ Walt Disney presents "It's a Small World"

1978 ~ "Trom Paris to Paris to Americqa" (WTH?) featuring Tyler Apache Belles Drill Team, and Apache Band Pete Fountain & Al Hirt

1979 ~Carnival Cruise Line Salute to the Caribbean with Ken Hamilton, various Caribbean bands

1980 ~ Up With People and the Grambling University Marching Band

1981 ~ Mardi Gras Festival with Southern University Marching Band, Helen O'Connell

1982 ~ Salute to Motown with Up With People

And the list goes on....why no mention of all the crap halftimes of the first 25 years of the Super Bowl, every one of which was worse than the 5 you listed.

you should be embarrassed
14 months ago

Hugh, clearly I would rather see marching bands performing at the halftime shows than over-produced mega-acts that we have grown accustomed to. It is all about money and advertising. Who can draw the biggest ratings? Who will sell the most ad time? I am much more of a traditionalist when it comes to sports and I would love to see a few marching bands performing for fifteen minutes as opposed to what we are in store for this Sunday evening.
14 months ago
Hugh Jardon nails it. What a pathetic list. You include Madonna but now The Who? Christ, they were worse than Clint Eastwood at the Republican convention. At least I know to avoid your "typing" (it soitainly ain't writing) in future.
14 months ago

Mark, indeed you are entitled to your opinion, but I think you meant "no" The Who, not "now". Clearly as I told Hugh, I have a different respect for halftime entertainment than some.
14 months ago
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band! Great halftime show.
14 months ago
U-2--BEST HALFTIME SHOW EVER!!!!!!!!!!
14 months ago
I agree that the Boss & U2 was the best Halftime performance in the last 10 yrs+. MJ was decent, and I did like Madonna. I agree Tom Petty was pretty bland, Fergie & others uneven, but I like Madonna with the performers. It was entertaining in the 12 minutes+ slot, which all Half time shows should be.
14 months ago

Bill, I too agree that U2 and Bruce were among the best halftime shows of the past 20-plus years. I would put Prince and the Stones on that list as well. Madonna would've been good if it was just her and the drum lines. She didn't need all the collaborations for that short of time frame.
14 months ago
Are you kidding me? Janet Jackson worst performance ever? who made up this stupid a@# list.....
14 months ago
Must have been a bunch of old farts that voted.....
14 months ago
KISS!!!!!
14 months ago

Steve, I think Kiss would put on a really good halftime performance, as long as it was just Kiss. They would have to in full costume too!
14 months ago
I would love to see marching bands for the halftime show again. Yep I am that old.
14 months ago

I'm with you Brooke and I don't know that age has anything to do with it. I think it would be great to at least give marching bands a try again.
There is nothing like the sound of a really good marching band and like football, it is an ultimate team event.
14 months ago
What about a band like Jimmy Buffett for the halftime show in Miami
14 months ago

Buffett would be great Hank! My wife and I have been going to see his shows for the past ten years. I would like to see him at any halftime show.
14 months ago
I must agree with Janet/Justin at No. 1. I watched that SB at a grimy dive bar in the Twin Cities. That halftime performance was so bad that not a single deviant in the place noticed the waredrobe malfunction! I didn't find out about it until I got home that night and turned on the news.
14 months ago
The Who had to rank right up there among the worst. Roger Daltrey could barely sing.
14 months ago
The hype and build up to the game outweigh's the half-time show, no matter who it is. Thats the way it will always be. Otherwise people use it for an intermission to chow down, make a call on the phone, relieve themselves, or take the dog for a quick walk. If you like the act, you'll stay.

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