Take a Look at Some Epic Super Bowl Failures

From Janet’s nipple to the disappearing helmet, here are 10 wacky moments in Super Bowl history.

Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas performs with Slash during the Bridgestone Super Bowl XLV Halftime Show at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Feb. 6, 2011.

Al Bello/Getty Images

The Super Bowl has contributed its fair share of defining moments to football history, but it also lends itself to some pretty epic failures. Here are some memorable examples from recent years. 

1. Janet Jackson’s Wardrobe Malfunction
Carolina Panthers vs. New England Patriots 

Ten years ago an estimated 140 million people watched as Justin Timberlake ripped off part of Jackson’s corset, exposing her breast and creating the “nipple-gate” controversy of Super Bowl XXXVIII. In case you forgot: 

2. Keyshia Cole’s Tweet Read ’Round the World
Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers

Singer Cole took to Twitter to voice her displeasure about Michelle Williams’ singing abilities during the Destiny’s Child performance at XLVII Super Bowl, creating quite the stir. The tweet:


3. The Biggest All-Time Blowout Game
San Francisco 49ers vs. Denver Broncos

The 49ers’ offense trampled Denver defense during Super Bowl XXIV, scoring two touchdowns every quarter. Fans began feeling sorry for Broncos quarterback John Elway ... and grew bored with the game. The 49ers won 55-10.

Defensive lineman Jim Burt of the San Francisco 49ers holds the Lombardi Trophy Jan. 28, 1990, after winning the Super Bowl XXIV game with the Denver Broncos at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

Rick Stewart/Getty Images

4. The Great Stadium Blackout of 2013
Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers

Fans and players experienced a 34-minute delay when the electricity went out in the New Orleans Superdome during Super Bowl XLVII. The power outage on the full screen: 

5. The Black Eyed Peas Halftime Show—All of It
Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Poorly executed choreography, off-key singing and a painful rendition of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” made the show hard for Super Bowl XLV viewers to get through. Watch if you can:

6. M.I.A. Flips the Bird
New York Giants vs. New England Patriots

The gesture, along with a barely disguised expletive, came during Madonna’s performance of “Give Me All Your Luvin” during the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show. Relive the moment: 

7. The Displaced Ticket Holders
Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Just hours before the start of Super Bowl XLV, 1,250 temporary seats were declared unsafe at Cowboy Stadium, causing 475 ticket holders to watch from standing-room-only locations while others were relocated.

Some of the 400 temporary seats that will no longer be used because they were not complete are taped off before the Pittsburgh Steelers play against the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Feb. 6, 2011.

Al Bello/Getty Images

8. Thurman Thomas and the Case of the Disappearing Helmet
Buffalo Bills vs. Washington Redskins

Thomas had a ritual of placing his helmet in a certain spot before each game. Just before the start of Super Bowl XXVI, his helmet was moved, creating a search frenzy and causing him to miss Buffalo’s first possession.

Thurman Thomas of the Buffalo Bills during the preseason game against the Washington Redskins at Redskins Stadium in Landover, Md., Aug. 20, 1999.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

9. Christina Aguilera’s Bungled “Star-Spangled Banner”
Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Fans of Super Bowl XLV listened as the pop star messed up the lyrics of the national anthem. Try not to cringe:

10. Leon Lett’s Premature Celebration
Dallas Cowboys vs. Buffalo Bills

With Dallas dominating the Bills during Super Bowl XXVII, Lett grabbed a fourth-quarter fumble and headed toward a touchdown. Slowing down to celebrate (or gloat?) at the 5-yard line, Bills wide receiver Don Beebe batted for the ball, turning a touchdown into a touchback. For your viewing pleasure:

Nicole L. Cvetnic is The Root’s multimedia editor and producer.

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