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Prince’s connection to basketball is well chronicled — he was known for playing hoops in between recording sessions, was famously parodied in a basketball sketch on Chappelle’s Show, and caused a bit of a stir earlier this year when he sat courtside to take in a Warriors game. But he may be best remembered for his participation in football’s greatest event.

A photo posted by @nfl on

Prince’s halftime show at Super Bowl XLI in a South Florida downpour is widely regarded as the finest in the history of the event. Prince opened his set with Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” followed by “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Baby I’m a Star,” Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary,” Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” and Fu Fighter’s “Best of You.”

Prince managed to avoid electricution while playing several different electric guitars in the rain, and fittingly closed with an electrifying performance of his Oscar-winning hit “Purple Rain.”


Prince’s one-of-kind show was foreshadowed by his unorthodox press conference earlier in the week, in which he chose to answer questions from the media via a 12 minute-long rockin’ three-song set.

Prince led off with Chuck Berry’s “Johhny B. Goode,” followed by two of his originals — “Anotherloverholenyohead” and “Get on the Boat.”


Prince’s 2007 performance finishes no lower than second in four rankings of best Super Bowl halftime shows in history. Billboard has him in the top spot, while Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated go with U2. USA Today opts for Michael Jackson.

Billboard Rolling Stone USA Today SI
Prince U2 Michael Jackson U2
U2 Prince Prince Prince
Madonna Beyonce Springsteen Beyonce
Springsteen Aerosmith Beyonce Bruno Mars
Beyonce Springsteen Janet Jackson Aerosmith
Rolling Stones Madonna U2 Springsteen
Janet Jackson Rolling Stones Tom Petty Rolling Stones
Paul McCartney Katy Perry Coldplay Paul McCartney
Aerosmith Paul McCartney Diana Ross Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson Michael Jackson The Who Janet Jackson


When the rankings by Billboard, Rolling Stone, USA Today and Sport Illustrated are composited, Prince’s performance finishes at the top, followed by U2’s 2002 show and Beyonce’s show in 2013.

Prince (2007) – 37 points

Super Bowl XLI – Dolphin Stadium
Miami Gardens, Florida

U2 (2002) – 34 points

Super Bowl XXXVI – Louisiana Superdome
New Orleans, Louisiana

Beyonce (2013) – 29 points

Super Bowl XLVII – Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, Louisiana

Springsteen (2009) – 26 points

Super Bowl XLIII – Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, Florida

Rolling Stones (2006) – 16 points

Super Bowl XL – Ford Field
Detroit, Michigan

Aerosmith (2001) – 15 points

Super Bowl XXXIV – Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, Florida

Michael Jackson (1993) – 14 points

Super Bowl XXVII – Rose Bowl
Pasadena, California

Madonna (2012) – 13 points

Super Bowl XLVI – Lucas Oil Stadium
Indianapolis, Indiana

Janet Jackson (2004) – 11 points

Super Bowl XXXVIII – Reliant Stadium
Houston, Texas

Paul McCartney (2005) – 8 points

Super Bowl XXXIX – Alltel Stadium
Jacksonville, Florida


After Prince’s sudden passing in April of 2016, several of the other artists in the top ten list took to Twitter to pay tribute to the gifted Minnesotan.


Shortly after Prince passed, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band remembered the His Royal Badness by playing “Purple Rain” to open their concert in Brooklyn — but not before Stevie Van Zandt got in a quick jam session on the intricate guitar solo.


One artist that has never headlined the Super Bowl halftime show, and wields a pencil rather than a guitar, dealt with his grief at Prince’s passing by applying pencil to paper. Watch as Eugene Chung renders the Purple One in a striking speed drawing. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words…