Looking back at Tom Petty’s Super Bowl XLII halftime performance

Music, Super Bowl

With the sobering news of Tom Petty’s death, let’s take a look back at his halftime performance at Super Bowl XLII.

The health situation of rock icon Tom Petty was buried in the headlines on Monday, amid other more violence-based or wide-ranging stories. But after falling into full cardiac arrest at his home in California Sunday night, Petty was pulled off life support with no brain activity Monday afternoon and he has passed away at age 66. Prayers and condolences obviously go out to his loved ones and friends.

On the heels of Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” with upcoming Super Bowl LII performer Justin Timberlake, the NFL went with far less risky or provocative acts to perform at halftime of the Super Bowl until further notice. Petty and his band The Heartbreakers clearly fit that mold as older men in the classic rock genre, and thus they were asked to do halftime of Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona.

Super Bowl XLII was notable in that the New England Patriots were trying to complete a record 17-0 season with a win over the underdog New York Giants. An interesting “where are they now?” can probably be done on helmet-catcher wide receiver David Tyree, as the Giants pulled off the upset and Eli Manning got his first Super Bowl ring.

Petty’s performance at halftime was quite good though, if a bit understated on such a huge literal and figurative stage. Here are a couple of clips of it to enjoy, approaching 10 years after the performance, to celebrate Petty’s life today.


This has been another pretty tough year for losing musicians, as Petty now follows Glen Campbell, Chris Cornell, Gregg Allmann and others that aren’t specifically coming to my mind immediately. But Petty will also live on forever in the memories of fans, in YouTube clips and on iTunes playlists.

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