Anti-Rock: The 10 All-Time Worst Choices for Super Bowl Halftime Performer
If the Super Bowl was really for football fans, every year's halftime show would be the same: John Cougar Mellencamp, Bruce Sprinsteen or Kid Rock covering songs from Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet as an attractive woman blows up household furniture with M-80s. In actuality, the Super Bowl is the Jerry Maguire of television events, pretending to be about football while catering to people who think a first down is something you pull off a baby goose. This year's show will feature Tom Petty, Paula Abdul and hopefully a few other things that were cool in the early '90s and now make us sad. But if you think this is the strangest lineup, you obviously don't remember ...
StingSuper Bowl XXXVII, 2003
Buccaneers Vs. Raiders
"Sting is the perfect choice for this testosterone charged media event. I mean, 'sting' is what happens to you if you touch a bee, which hurts. Umm, and 'The Police' is a pretty intimidating name too. Black people are scared of the police."
The only thing that gets fans less fired up than watching a 125-pound British guy sing about fields of gold is watching a 125-pound British guy with one name sing about fields of gold. That, and "Roxanne."
Phil CollinsSuper Bowl XXXIV, 2000
Rams Vs. Titans
"Hey, he's the guy with the song about the 'air tonight,' right? Isn't that about letting someone die or something? That sounds kind of bad ass."
Hey, he's the guy who brought us soft-pop shitbombs like 'Sussudio' and recently penned the soundtrack to the decade's most mind-numbingly stupid children's film, Brother Bear, right?
John GoodmanSuper Bowl XXXI, 1997
Packers Vs. Patriots
"Say, Goodman really looks like your average football fan: he's fat, whiskery and is a legitimate heart attack risk any time he's standing upright. Those slobs will love him."
Goodman performed as part of the new Blues Brothers, an outfit that specialized in pissing on the grave of the late, beloved John Belushi. If there's one thing those slobs don't like, it's Dan from Rosanne dishonoring Bluto from Animal House. But you can never accuse the halftime promoters of doing anything half way. They also got professional-Belushi-legacy-ruiner Jim Belushi in on the performance. Not only was this one of the worst Super Bowl halftime shows, it may have been the worst musical performance ever.
Enrique IglesiasSuper Bowl XXXIV, 2000
Rams vs. Titans
"Let's really go after that Latino demographic this year. Jennifer Lopez is hot right now, but since football fans are primarily heterosexual men, they'd probably prefer to watch male pop singer Enrique Iglesias. Men seem to like that whole 'sensitive guy in a half-buttoned shirt who always seems to be standing in a wind tunnel' thing."
Heterosexual men hate Enrique Iglesias with a ferocity that is actually visible if the weather is cold enough. Not only does he make women everywhere slip off their chairs by passing within a one-mile radius of a television camera, he flaunted his power by making out with whomever the most sexually repressed men were jacking off to that month. While Snopes claims that the statistic about the Super Bowl being a second Christmas for wife beaters isn't true, we wouldn't be surprised if it was true for this particular one.
Diana RossSuper Bowl XXX, 1996
Cowboys Vs. Steelers
"The Pointer Sisters are all either in rehab or having hip surgery, but we still want to target the too-old-to-work-a-cell-phone demographic."
If there's one thing that people from Dallas and Pittsburgh have in common, it's that they'd rather get shot in the kneecap with a crossbow than listen to "Endless Love" between halves.
New Kids on the BlockSuper Bowl XXV, 1991
Giants Vs. Bills
"Say, pre-teen girls seem to dig this group of hip lesbians."
You can look at the above picture and figure out why the New Kids were a bad match for the gridiron. What's amazing is that the people who scheduled the damn show knew it was a bad idea, too. CBS didn't even show the halftime show that year, opting instead to air an edited-down version after the broadcast. Instead they showed news about the first war in Iraq. Take a moment to let that sink in. These days, the News doesn't even show news about the war in Iraq. It's admirable and all, but so are a lot of things that will get you fired so quickly you'll leave behind a hat spinning in midair.
This marked the beginning of the, "Honestly we stopped giving a fuck" era of halftime show programming.
*N'SYNCSuper Bowl XXXV, 2001
Giants Vs. Ravens
"Okay, so the NKOTB performance went poorly, but that was a decade ago. Football has come a long way since then. Plus, New York fans and Baltimore fans will like this sassy, highly choreographed boy band more than that last one."
If there's one thing a guy from Baltimore can't stand, it's a teenager with frosted tips and a denim vest who makes more money in one day than his entire union has in its pension fund. The show did manage some excitement: *N'SYNC started the show by sprinting out of the tunnel, looking over their shoulders like they were being chased. For that brief, glorious moment, football fans were free to imagine that Tony Siragusa had caught the unmistakable scent of Axe body spray, and was going to burst out of the tunnel, run them down at the 20 yard line and eat them alive on national television. Instead, a gaggle of screaming teenage girls came running after them. We're not sure what happened next because we lost consciousness.
Gloria EstefanSuper Bowl XXVI, 1992
Redskins Vs. Bills
"Hey, her band's name is 'The Miami Sound Machine,' and that sounds like it could be the name of a legendary D-Line or something. Also, the game's being played in Minnesota, and as everyone knows, nothing evokes a Northern Hinterland in the dead of winter like Gloria Estefan."
Gloria Estefan is what you would get if the Taco Bell chihuahua impregnated Celine Dion. This halftime show was so bad that it was nearly beat in the ratings by a live episode of In Living Color. The next year the NFL spent millions of dollars to get Michael Jackson to perform, vowing to never again stake their claim on a washed-up soft-rock has-been like Estefan.
Gloria Estefan, againSuper Bowl XXXIII, 1999
Broncos Vs. Falcons
"Not Gloria Estefan, she's the one who nearly got us beat by the fucking Wayans brothers back in '92. And that was when she was popular ... Oh, hello Michael Irvin. Try some of your crack-cocaine? Well, I don't see how that could be a bad idea ... COUGH, COUGH ... Estefan you say? Hmmm, football fans might just go for her emotional take on romantic adult Latin pop this time around!"
The above scenario is really the only explanation we could come up with.
Related: The XFL Is (Once Again) Dead
Dorothy Hamill & Brian BoitanoSuper Bowl XXVI, 1992
Redskins Vs. Bills
"Hey, why don't we slam each other in the temple with a crowbar and then throw a dart at this wall of pictures of people that wouldn't be safe in an NFL stadium parking lot?"
Please see above photograph.
For more things that probably couldn't rock any less, read our rundown of the most unnecessary greatest hits albums of all-time or Ross Wolinsky's breakdown of what might just be the the worst CCR cover ever posted on YouTube.