The history of the Super Bowl halftime Show

While millions tune in for the game, even more watch for the halftime show


Photo courtesy of Wikicommons

Beyonce’s performance at the 2013 halftime show is still considered to be one of the most popular

Maggie Blackburn, Assistant Editor, Arts and Culture

The first Super Bowl took place on January 15, 1967, featuring the two NFL teams Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs, with the Packers pulling out the win. When the first Super Bowl was introduced, so was the first Super Bowl halftime show, although most people were still only watching for the game. 

When the halftime show started out, it was referred to more as a “glorified station break,” and was headlined mostly by college marching bands. The first halftime show featured the University of Arizona Symphonic Marching Band and had appearances from Grambling State University’s Marching Band which is a Historically Black College (HBCU). It was huge for an HBCU to perform at the time because racial tensions were high after the Watts Riots. Another performer was celebrity guest Al Hirt, trumpet player. 

The halftime show didn’t really gain any traction until the 1993 Super Bowl, when Micheal Jackson gave a show-stopping performance, maintaining 133 million viewers during the halftime show, more than ever before. Since then, more stars have been spotlighted, including Justin Timberlake, The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, The Weekend, Shakira, Beyoncé, Destiny’s Child and even Prince. 

The Super Bowl halftime show now accumulates almost 450 million dollars, a lot of which comes from the halftime show, because many people only watch the performances. And contrary to what some believe, halftime show performers don’t get paid anything. 

There have been a number of memorable halftime shows in the past, including the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” of 2004, in which Janet Jackson “accidentally” exposed her bare breast to the entire audience, and 2020’s halftime show, featuring Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, who stunned audiences with their physique and pole-dancing skills. Super Bowl halftime shows have to walk a fine line of being exciting, even controversial, and being family-friendly and appropriate for all political spectrums.

This year we can look forward to seeing Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar perform. Personally, I don’t enjoy sports, and if I am going to be watching any of this game, it’s going to be the halftime show. I think the combination of sports and entertainment caters to families with mixes of interests, and keeps everyone enjoying the game.