The King of Pop Michael Jackson Super Bowl Halftime Show


The original venue for Super Bowl XXVII had been the Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. However, following a controversial series of events surrounding Arizona’s refusal to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday that was created to honor the historic civil rights campaigner, the NFL was given no choice but to remove the Super Bowl from Tempe. The owners held an emergency vote in Hawaii on March 19, 1991, during which they selected Pasadena as the replacement hosts.

Martin Luther King Day was eventually voted into force in Arizona, following which, the NFL selected Tempe as the host for Super Bowl XXX at their 1993 meeting.

Super Bowl XXVII was played between the AFC’s Buffalo Bills and NFC’s Dallas Cowboys on January 31, 1993, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California to decide which team would be crowned champions of the 1992 football season.

The Cowboys completely dominated the game, crushing the Buffalos by 52-17.

Notable for:

  • The Buffalo Bills became the second team to successfully qualify for three straight Super Bowls and the first team to lose all three.
  • The halftime show featured a live performance from Michael Jackson. From this Super Bowl onwards, it became the norm for top acts to provide halftime entertainment in a bid to add hype to this major event in the US sports calendar.

The Dallas Cowboys completely dominated the game, scoring a record nine turnovers. A total of 35 of their 52 points were converted from these turnovers. At one point, the Buffalo Bills looked like they may make a comeback. In the second quarter, the Buffalo’s quarterback, Frank Reich, threw a 40-yard touchdown to take the score to 31-17, but Dallas soon put an end to any hopes with three further touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman was named MVP having completed 22 of 30 passes for 273 yards. He achieved a passer rating of 140.6, while also rushing for 28 yards.

Final Score: Buffalo Bills (AFC) – 17 Vs. Dallas Cowboys (NFC) – 52
Date: January 31, 1993
Stadium: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
MVP: Troy Aikman, Quarterback
Favorite: Cowboys by 6.5
Referee: Dick Hantak
Attendance: 98,374

Pregame: “Movies, Music, Hollywood” Tribute to music and movies featuring the Rockettes, Fleetwood Mac, and Eagles singer Glenn Frey; fly over by Navy’s Strike Fighter Squadron, USS Nimitz
Anthem: Garth Brooks
Coin Toss: O.J. Simpson
Half time: Michael Jackson and 3,500 local children. The finale included an audience card stunt.
Halftime theme: Heal the World.
Halftime set:

  • “Jam” (M. Jackson)
  • “Billie Jean” (M. Jackson)
  • “Black or White” (M. Jackson)
  • “We Are the World” (children’s choir)
  • “Heal the World” (M. Jackson)

In response to strong competition from CBS and a bid to attract more viewers to the Super Bowl, from Super Bowl XXVII onwards, the NFL commenced aggressively recruiting star performers, a practice that has continued to this day.

In 1993, the show’s producers targeted Michael Jackson. Although Jackson’s managers originally demanded a performance fee of $1 million dollars, they later agreed that Jackson would perform if the NFL and the Super Bowl sponsors Frito-Lay donated $100,000 to the Heal the World Foundation.

Jackson’s halftime set included Billie Jean, Black or White, Jam, and Heal the World. The audience was also involved in a card stunt. At the end of Jackson’s performance, 3,500 children from the local area joined him on stage to sing a rendition of We Are the World. The NFL’s efforts paid off and viewer ratings increased during the halftime period for the first time in the history of the Super Bowl.