The most infamous moment in Super Bowl halftime history still overshadows the game itself. A duet between pop-music superstars Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson took a risqué twist when he tugged her shirt to reveal her breast and nipple shield. With its family-friendly image taking a hit over the wardrobe malfunction and the Federal Communications Committee fielding complaints, the NFL shifted to 'safer' and more conventional halftime rock acts like Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones at future Super Bowls. The $550,000 indecency fine levied by the FCC against CBS was ultimately dismissed upon appeal by the Supreme Court in 2008.
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Lightning strikes twice
Adam Vinatieri made one of the most clutch kicks in NFL history to help New England win Super Bowl XXXVI. Two years later, Vinatieri came through again in another pressure-packed moment by booting the game-winning 41-yard field goal with four seconds remaining.
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Another MVP award for Tom Brady
Brady’s passing statistics in this contest (32 of 48 passing for 354 yards and three touchdowns) were far more impressive than in his first championship-game appearance in Super Bowl XXXVI (16 of 27 for 145 yards and one touchdown). However, there is a common link between those performances that earned him Most Valuable Player honors in both games. Brady led the drives in the final two minutes that put the Patriots in position for Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goals. Against Carolina, Brady moved the Patriots 37 yards on six plays in 1:04 to set up Vinatieri’s 41-yard kick with four seconds remaining. Brady’s 32 completions against the Panthers also were a Super Bowl record, breaking the mark previously held by Buffalo’s Jim Kelly.
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From snoozer to sizzler
The first 26:55 was forgettable as both teams failed to score, marking the longest 0-0 start in Super Bowl history. The floodgates then opened with New England and Carolina combining for 24 points in the 3:05 before halftime. After a scoreless third quarter, the Patriots and Panthers then combined for a Super Bowl record 37 fourth-quarter points.
A huge Super Bowl gaffe committed by Carolina’s kicker shouldn’t define his 16 seasons with the Panthers or NFL legacy. Still, the kickoff that John Kasay sent out of bounds with just over one minute left and the score tied at 29-29 is something that Panthers fans will never forget. New England took advantage of the good field position by driving for Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goal.
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The terrorist attacks of 9/11 led to the NFL implementing much stricter security measures. Those efforts failed at halftime. Mark Roberts, who had gained notoriety in the U.K. for streaking at sporting events, shed the referee’s outfit he was adorning to sneak onto the Reliant Stadium field. As both teams were preparing for the second-half kickoff, Roberts ran around in only a thong until being knocked to the ground by Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham. Roberts was arrested on a misdemeanor charge and later fined $1,000 for the incident.
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Had the Panthers won, quarterback Jake Delhomme was the clear choice for Super Bowl MVP. After a rough 1-for-9 start that included getting sacked three times and losing a fumble, Delhomme rebounded to complete 15 of his next 24 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns. Delhomme’s most spectacular throw -- an 85-yard bomb to Muhsin Muhammad midway through the fourth quarter -- put the Panthers ahead, 22-21, midway through the fourth quarter and set a Super Bowl record for longest completion.
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Kevin Faulk scores -- finally
Including the postseason, Patriots running back Kevin Faulk compiled 248 touches as a rusher and receiver during the 2003 campaign without registering a touchdown. Faulk, though, couldn’t have timed his only score of the season any better. His two-point conversion on a direct snap with 2:51 remaining extended New England’s lead to 29-22 and effectively prevented the possibility of Carolina aiming for a two-possession finish.
Getty ImagesJim Rogash
He Hate Me
Whether the XFL could have made a long-term impact as a spring-time pro football entity is a moot point. WWE announcer Vince McMahon and partner NBC pulled the plug in 2001 when money losses reportedly totaled $70 million after just one season. But the alterative league did produce talent that went on to have an NFL impact. The most well-known player was a running back/returner allowed to sport the nickname 'He Hate Me' on the back of his XFL jersey. That made Carolina’s Rod Smart the subject of a pre-Super Bowl media blitz. Smart, though, didn’t make as big of a splash in the game itself and probably hates the fact he gained only 74 yards on four kickoff returns.
Getty ImagesLarry French
The drug scandal
Two years after Super Bowl XXXVIII, the Charlotte Observer reported that three starting offensive linemen and two other Panthers were receiving performance-enhancing drugs from a South Carolina doctor who was busted by the federal government for illegal steroid and human-growth hormone distribution. None of those players tested positive under the league’s PED policy that at the time didn’t include monitoring for HGH.