What Lincoln is Thinkin' - Halftime Show Rankings

by Matt Lincoln

Super Bowl Sunday should be a national holiday.  I feel terrible for some of my coworkers (Yvette, Joe, Ros, sorry guys) who have to miss the day of the year that for me falls right behind Christmas and Thanksgiving as the days that I look forward to the most.  From the copious amounts of food, and what should be an endless supply of liquid refreshment, to the camaraderie of friends, and, of course, the football.

But one of my least favorite parts of Super Bowl Sunday is the halftime shows.  They've spent months hyping us up for the Black Eyed Peas, in what promises to be the worst 15 minutes of the 6 hours of programming.  Well, minus the time that Howie Long opens his mouth.

Usually, if there's a woman in the room, you'll be forced to watch the halftime show.  But let's be honest, even for us football-loving fellas, it can be a guilty pleasure.  Especially if it's a train wreck.  So I thought I'd count down the best Super Bowl halftime shows of the last 15 years... before the Black Eyed Peas inherit the bottom spot.

1. U2, 2002, Super Bowl XXXVI.  This was an awesome performance that had it all.  The scrolling names of the people that died on 9-11 being played, with the uplifting performance of "Beautiful Day", it was a transcendent performance.

2. Prince, 2007, Super Bowl XLI.  Just when the world was ready to forget about the symbol-named musician, Prince came out and rocked Miami.  He performed some of his greatest songs, while also covering All Along the Watchtower.  Purple rain actually came down as he sang purple rain.  And he used his guitar to symbolize his you-know-what.  It was awesome.

3. Paul McCartney, 2005, Super Bowl XXXIX.  I mean, friggin' Paul McCartney.  You going to get up and get some more Spinach Dip during Paul McCartney?  I think not.

4. Rolling Stones, 2006, Super Bowl XL.  Detroit made a big deal about having Super Bowl XL, but the halftime performers it had could not be rivaled.  Start Me Up and I Can't Get No Satisfaction are not two of my favorite Rolling Stones songs however, but the performance certainly sounded great for a some 80 year olds running around a stage.

5. Diana Ross, 1996, Super Bowl XXX.  Obviously she's a legend, and she sang all of her best songs.  But she left the stage via a helicopter.  That puts this performance into the "great" category.

6. Bruce Springsteen, 2009, Super Bowl XLIII.  Full disclosure, I'm not a fan of the Boss.  But he provided a halftime moment that will never be forgotten - giving all of America a big face full of crotch.

7. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 2008, Super Bowl XLII.  I personally would not put Tom Petty in with the caliber of the performers ranked higher than him on this list.  But, this performance was a good one because they didn't try too hard.  He came out, played his best songs, sounded great, then exited stage left.  I appreciated that.

8. James Brown, ZZ Top and the Blues Brothers, 1997, Super Bowl XXXI.  This was the first Super Bowl that experimented with putting some different genres together.  This was also before we knew everything that was going to happen before it actually happened.  So there was some surprise element here, and seeing the Godfather of Soul in a red jumpsuit was cool.

9. Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Kid Rock, P. Diddy, and Nelly, 2004, XXXVIII. Before I looked it up, I couldn't  have told you the other three performers on the stage with Janet and Justin.  This performance will always be remembered for the wardrobe malfunction.  Unfortunately, it probably ruined the chances of us ever getting nudity again in a Super Bowl halftime show.  So it loses points for that.

10. The Who, 2010, Super Bowl XLIV.  I like the Who.  But while I felt the Stones and McCartney were both great performances despite of their age, I just remember watching this show and thinking to myself that they looked REALLY old.  Not a bad show, but not one of the best.

11. Boyz II Men, Queen Latifah, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, 1998, XXXII.  A nice mix of new performers and legendary performers to honor the 40th anniversary of Motown.

12. Gloria Estefan, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Savion Glover, 1999, XXXIII.  This was sort of an odd mix of performers, but it did introduce the world to Savion Glover.  Who is the man.

13. Aerosmith, NSync, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Nelly, 2001, Super Bowl XXXV.  Why? Why did we have to live through this dreck?  I love Aerosmith, but I couldn't stand the I Don't Want to Miss a Thing, song.  Plus you had all of them coming out and singing Walk This Way together, which ruined a great song.   This was the beginning of the end of the death of this type of Super Bowl halftime performance.  Thank goodness.

14. Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting. 2003, Super Bowl XXXVII.  No desire to see these three performers on the stage together.   The songs that were involved?  "Man, I feel like a Woman", "Just a Girl" and "Message in a Bottle".   Miserable.

15. Phil Collins, Enrique Iglesias, Christina Aguilera, Toni Braxton.  2000, Super Bowl XXXIV.  This is not a terrible lineup for a halftime show.  But, it was produced by Disney, they sang a bunch of songs that no one cares about.  Give me Iglesias singing Bailamos.  Give me Phil singing the song about a studio. Give me Christina Aguilera signing just about anything.  Give me Toni Braxton..... okay don't give me Toni Braxton.  But they were singing songs that no one had heard of.  And that's what made it the worst halftime show of the last 15 years.

I'll take your thoughts.  What was your favorite halftime show?

Oh, and by the way, Steelers 33-28 over the Packers.