New Kids on the Block Super Bowl Halftime Show


Following an owner’s meeting that was held in Coronado, California on June 14, 1979, Super Bowl XXV was awarded to Tampa, Florida. This marked the second time in Super Bowl history that Tampa had hosted the game.

Super Bowl XXV was played between the AFC’s Buffalo Bills and NFC’s New York Giants on January 27, 1991, at the Tampa Stadium in Tampa decide which team would be crowned champions of the 1990 football season.

The New York Giants rose to victory over the Buffalo Bills with a score of 20-19.

Noteworthy for:

  • Super Bowl XXV was the only Super Bowl in history to end with a one-point difference.
  • Whitney Houston’s performance of the Star-Spangled Banner attracted critical acclaim and was later released as a hit single.
  • New Kids on the Block were the first contemporary pop group to perform during the halftime; however, their performance was not televised because ABC had switched to news coverage of the Gulf War.
  • Super Bowl XXV was the first Super Bowl to feature two teams from the same state.

Utilizing a ‘ball-control offensive,’ New York took possession for a total 40 minutes and 33 seconds, a Super Bowl record. Whereas the high scoring Bills, who had pumped out 95 points in the two playoff games prior to the Super Bowl, had the ball for less than eight minutes in the second half and recorded possession of just 19.27 for the entire game.

New Yorks’ first drive of the third quarter consisted of 14 plays and covered 75 yards, consuming 9 minutes and 29 seconds, a Super Bowl record. It ended in a one-yard touchdown run for Giants running back Ottis Anderson.

New York quarterback Jeff Hostetler managed to keep the long drive alive by converting three third down plays; on third and eight David Meggett completed an 11 yard pass, then a 14 yard completion to wide receiver Mark Ingram on third and thirteen and finally, on third and four, to give the Giants a 17-12 third quarter lead, a nine yard pass to Howard Cross.

The Bills had taken control of the game with 12-3 second quarter lead before Hostetler completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Baker to close the deficit to 12-10 going into halftime.

The opening play of the fourth quarter saw Buffalo recapture the lead after Thurman Thomas put in a 31-yard run for a touchdown that put the Bills ahead 20-19. The Giants responded with a 21-yard field goal from kicker Matt Bahr to put New York back on top 20-19 and, in the dying seconds, Buffalo’s Scott Norward had the chance to seal the game with a 47-yard field goal, only to see it fly wide right of the uprights.

The player highlights were headed by Hostetler who completed 20 of his 32 pass attempts for a gain of 222 yards and one touchdown and Thomas who complied 190 scrimmage yards, rushing 15 times for 135 yards and catching 5 passes for 55 yards.

The Super Bowl MVP went to Ottis Anderson, who rushed a total of 21 times for 102 yards and one touchdown. Anderson also received one pass for a 7-yard gain.

Final Score: Buffalo Bills (AFC) – 16 Vs. New York Giants (NFC) – 20
Date: January 27, 1991
Stadium: Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida
MVP: Ottis Anderson, Running back
Favorite: Bills by 7
Referee: Jerry Seeman
Attendance: 73,813

Pregame: SuperShow XXV; fly over by 56th Tactical Training Wing, U.S. Central Command & U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill AFB
Anthem: Whitney Houston
Coin Toss: Pete Rozelle (Former NFL Commissioner)
Halftime: New Kids on the Block
Halftime theme: A Small World Salute to 25 Years of Super Bowl (Produced by Disney)
Halftime set:

  • “It’s a Small World After All”/ “We Are the World”/ “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” (children)
  • “Step by Step” (NKOTB)
  • “This One’s For The Children” (NKOTB and children)
  • “It’s a Small World After All” (children)

The Star-Spangled Banner was performed by Whitney Houston with the backing of The Florida Orchestra and was a particularly poignant performance due to the fact that the US was currently involved in the Gulf War. Houston’s performance attracted strong critical claim and was later released as a single, making it to position 40 in the charts.

Prior to Super Bowl XXV, the halftime shows had been somewhat dull affairs and had typically featured college marching bands and local music artists. However, Super Bowl XXV was the first time a contemporary pop group took to the stage, and this proved to be a defining moment for the future of the halftime show. The show, which was entitled “A Small World Salute to 25 Years of the Super Bowl,” was produced by Disney and was performed by New Kids on the Block with guest Warren Moon. Over 3,500 children of a variety of ethnic backgrounds took to the stage during the performance.