Best Superbowl Halftime Shows of All Time

Superbowl LV is now in the books, while it certainly wasn’t the most memorable occasion, it gave fans plenty of talking point to dissect when they wake from their post Superbowl slumber.

Superbowl LV

The night belonged to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they comprehensible beat last year’s winners, Kansas City Chiefs.

Tom Brady continues to flip the bird to father time as the 43-year-old Quarterback won his seventh Superbowl championship. He was this years Superbowl MVP, becoming the oldest player to win the award. Plus, he is now the oldest player to start at and win the Superbowl.

This seventh title means Tom Brady has more Superbowl wins than any team, let alone any player, mental that.

While that surely makes him one of the greatest sports stars of all time, I’m now going to stop pretending I know anything about American Football before I make a fool of myself.

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Honestly, for casuals like me, we only watch for one of two reasons.

First, the be in the know and try keep up with our more knowledgeable NFL enthusiasts. For most, the main reason is to watch the absolute spectacle that is the Superbowl halftime show.

These are massive yearly pop culture moments, along with the Superbowl commercials.

It sums up the Superbowl perfectly. Of course, you have your committed fans, but ultimately, it’s a spectacle like no other and the American’s certainly know how to put on some razzle-dazzle.

2021 Halftime Show

Even this year, Covid didn’t put a stop to the Superbowl. Almost 25,000 fans shuffled into Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida to witness one of the biggest events in the yearly sporting calendar.

These fans and the multi-millions watching from home were treated to smooth tones of The Weeknd during this year’s halftime show.

He played some of his biggest hits and despite the fact it wasn’t a full house in the stadium, they didn’t skimp on the usual bells and whistles that you’d expect with the halftime show.

Online feedback on the performance has been mixed. Many critics enjoyed it, but football fans not keeping up with the latest releases of the Canadian artist weren’t too keen on it.

Personally, I loved it. It won’t go down in history as one of the best of all time. Saying that, The Weeknd is one of the best current artists going and I’m a massive fan of the guy so I was excited going into it anyway.

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So, if that wasn’t the best halftime show of all time, what is?

Well, that’s what we will be chatting about today folks.

The halftime shows as we know them today really kicked off in 1993. So, with all that ground to cover we must shout out some honourable mentions.

Diana Ross (1996), Bruce Springsteen (2009), Lady Gaga (2017), Madonna and co (2012) and that Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performance (2004)

5. Aerosmith, NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly (Superbowl XXXV, 2001)

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We stay in Raymond James Stadium for our first genre blending entry.

While looking back now this bizarre coming together of artist seems extremely dated in every aspect.

Believe it or not, this halftime show was revolutionary.

This was the first-time fans surrounded the stage, something that has become a staple of the modern halftime show. It heightened the energy levels up around the entire stadium and made it feels like a real concert.

It was over the top and a good time was had by all.

The older fans were happy to see Aerosmith and the younger viewers lost their collective minds for the hit boyband.

When Spears, Mary J and Nelly came out as surprises for the finale, everything ramped up a couple of notches.

It was fun spectacle that had a little something for everybody watching.

Look, Justin Timberlake shot fireworks out of his hands. If that doesn’t do anything for you, I don’t know what to tell you.

4. U2 (Superbowl XXXVI, 2002)

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The following year gave us less early noughties cheese, but still delivered in full.

This was the first Superbowl since the horrific 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. With the country in mourning, the Irishmen put on a simple yet poignant performance.

U2 belted out their classic “Where the Streets Have No Names” as a list of people that passed away during the attacks scrolled down in the background.

While you could argue this should have been done by an American, this was a beautifully personal performance by U2, and it made every American stand up tall during the Superbowl.

Bono and U2 in general aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Even their biggest detractors can’t begrudge their ability to captivate an entire stadium.

3. Michael Jackson (Superbowl XXVII, 1993)

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Certainly, one of the most iconic halftime shows of all time.

Before MJ’s set, the fabled halftime show was usual reserved for marching bands with the odd low key celebrity appearance.

However, in 1993 Michael Jackson changed the game and ushered in the era of the halftime show extravaganza.  

It may be the first, but trust me if you watched it live, it’s not as good as you remember.

It was a much grander affair than normal, and this caused some notable production issues. Also, Jackson didn’t really reach into his lengthy back catalogue. Fans received a rendition of “Billie Jean” and got to witness the moonwalk, but the hits didn’t keep on coming.

However, Michael Jackson was the ultimate showman, and he was at his best during this performance.

The charismatic superstar was on top form here and the fans in the Rose Bowl roared with approval.

For historical value alone this halftime show deserves a spot on any list like this one.

2. Beyonce (Superbowl XLVII, 2013)

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By the time Beyonce took the stage fans were used to jaw-dropping production value, and this is exactly what they got here.

She was like a woman on a mission on the night, putting to bed any rumours that she would be lip-synching her way through another marquee performance.

Jay-Z was tipped to be a surprise guest, but this night belonged to the ladies.

Besides having an all-female crew of back up dancers, Beyonce was joined by her former Destiny’s Child bandmates. The return of the girl group was a triumph.

Overall, it was another somewhat stripped back offering for a Superbowl halftime show.

However, Beyonce put to bed any question marks over her abilities as a live performer and sent a powerful message in the process.

A must watch for any fans of the world-famous superstar.

1. Prince (Superbowl XLI, 2007)

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Hands down the best Superbowl halftime show of all time.

Prince took to the stage that was in the shape of his famous symbol, boss move that.

From the word go, the magnetic pop idol had the crowd inside Hard Rock Stadium eating out of the palm of his hands.

Opening with the strains of Queen’s epic “We Will Rock You”, Prince quickly went into his own hits.

The Florida A&M University Marching 100 provided ample backing music.

Covers of Bob Dylan, Foo Fighters and Creedence Clearwater Revival came out of nowhere and fans loved every minute of it.

However, the finale is the icing on this masterclass of a cake.

Prince performed his massive hit “Purple Rain”, shredding the guitar solo mid-song too.

The song mixed with Prince’s giant backlit silhouette were simply epic.

To top it all off, it was pouring with rain. Even Mother Nature was on the side of Prince on that faithful night.

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