The Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, which took place on February 1, 2004 in Houston, is perhaps the most famous of all and not because of the quality of the show, but because of an infamous ‘wardrobe malfunction’ that sparked a scandal that had immediate consequences for live broadcasts.
On that occasion, the show featured Janet Jackson, P. Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Simpson, with Janet and Justin as the lead performers.
At one point during the show, Timberlake ‘ripped off’ Jackson’s wardrobe, revealing the singer’s right breast, which was adorned with a sun as a piercing.
The image lasted less than 5 seconds, but it sparked an international scandal because the show was supposed to be family friendly, and there was no shortage of protests from thousands as to why minors were watching this.
From that moment on, all live transmissions have a delay of a few seconds, just to prevent something similar from happening and to be able to edit it out of the direct transmission.
For Brady, it was a good thing that happened to the NFL
On the ‘Let’s Go!’ podcast with Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray, the now-retired Tom Brady said that awkward moment was “probably a good thing for the NFL.”
That year, Brady and the New England Patriots won the game over the Carolina Panthers, and Brady remembers not knowing what they were talking about when they asked him what he thought about it upon returning to the field.
“I didn’t see much. I’d rather not watch it (the halftime show) when I’m playing. I remember we came off the field and that’s when we had the wardrobe malfunction with Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson. The media was asking me about it. I didn’t even understand what they were saying. They’d say, ‘Did you see the halftime show,’ and I’d say, ‘I didn’t see anything.’ I was thinking about the game,” he explained.
“It took a while to find out exactly what had happened, but I think, in the end, it was probably a good thing for the NFL because everybody got to talk about it, and it was just more publicity and more publicity for the halftime shows. Bad publicity is publicity, too? So they say, so who knows?” he added.
Years later, Jackson spoke on the subject, “We talked one time and Justin said, ‘I don’t know if I should speak up and make a statement.’ And then I said, ‘Look, I don’t want any drama for you. If I were you, I wouldn’t say anything,'” Jackson said.
“Justin and I are very good friends and always will be. We talked a few days ago. He and I have moved on and it’s time for everyone to do the same,” she expressed.