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9 Most Controversial Super Bowl Moments Over the Years: Barrett Robbins' Disappearance, Janet Jackson's Wardrobe Malfunction and More

most controversial super bowl moments over the years
Source: MEGA

Feb. 10 2024, Published 10:40 a.m. ET

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Barret Robbins Disappeared Before Super Bowl XXXVII

barret robbins disappeared before the super bowl
Source: MEGA

Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders played the match at the time.

Football star Barret Robbins left everyone worried when he missed the morning breakfast and practice the day before Super Bowl XXXVII. His teammates eventually informed the NFL of his disappearance, and the league contacted local law enforcement agencies to track and find Robbins.

Former Raiders player Calvin Branch soon found him and brought him back to the La Jolla Hyatt hotel.

Upon arrival, Robbins said they thought they already won the Super Bowl. However, it turned out he was in a medical facility on the day of the Super Bowl and missed the game.

After the blunder, he admitted himself to the Betty Ford Center, where he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

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Black Eyed Peas Had a Confusing Collaboration

black eyed peas had a confusing collaboration
Source: MEGA

Black Eyed Peas shared the stage with Usher and Slash.

The members of the Black Eyed Peas found themselves in the middle of a confusing collaboration after performing their version of "I've Had the Time of My Life." Usher appeared on stage before Slash performed "Sweet Child o' Mine" with Fergie.

Rolling Stone even compared their performance to "witnessing something magical and special — like seeing a unicorn cough up blood."

Eugene Robinson Was Arrested

eugene robinson was arrested
Source: Adrian Curiel on Unsplash

Eugene Robinson prepared himself to receive the Bart Starr Award due to his high moral character on the night of his arrest.

Eugene Robinson played with the Atlanta Falcons at the Super Bowl XXXIII and took on the Denver Broncos. However, he stole the spotlight and the headlines before the big game as he was arrested for soliciting prostitution.

According to reports, the woman he contacted was an undercover cop.

"I cried all night. Dude, I cried all night," Robinson said, reminding everyone not to be like him. "I've shared my story with different church groups. It was painful. I cried the entire night. How did I get way over here when I was way over here?"

He added, "It's easy to lose your way when you are selfish and thinking about yourself, and that's the only thing you are thinking about. And that's what I did. To hear the word solicitation is still painful for me. I've got to call it what it is. I don't try to sugarcoat it."

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Janet Jackson Suffered a Wardrobe Malfunction

janet jackson suffered a wardrobe malfunction
Source: MEGA

Viewers are still mad over the infamous incident two decades after it happened.

Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson shared the stage at the Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show on February 1, 2004, but it did not go as expected.

The incident, dubbed "N-------gate," started when Jackson and her stylist planned a costume stunt, former SVP for MTV Salli Frattini said. The "That's the Way Love Goes" singer wanted to reveal a red bustier — not her private part — though Timberlake only learned about it the day of the performance and did not have the chance to rehearse, per Esquire.

During the show, the *NSYNC member tore off part of Jackson's clothing and exposed the right part of her chest. It had a sun-shaped cover that prevented more from being exposed.

"I think the outrage toward Justin, at this point, not only is it unfair, but I actually believe that it continues to revictimize Janet," culture critic Gerrick Kennedy told CNN. "I think it really does this other piece that really bothers me the most, where it strips two adults from autonomy over a mistake."

The incident was revisited in The New York Times Presents' installment, Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson.

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Justin Timberlake Brought Back Prince Onstage

justin timberlake brought back prince onstage
Source: MEGA

Justin Timberlake reportedly wanted to honor Prince during his Super Bowl Halftime Show.

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Timberlake found himself in hot water again when he spearheaded the halftime show in 2018 as he tried to duet with Prince's hologram for his "I Would Die 4 U" performance. He played the piano while his team projected a film of Prince, but it attracted condemnation from the public.

"There was never a hologram," a source close to Timberlake told People. "It was never in the plan — holograms take months to create. It was always a projection."

The halftime show's then-executive producer Ricky Kirshner added that having a hologram was never possible at the event.

"We are a 360-degree stadium environment with people at every corner. Every year a hologram company comes to us, but we never even seriously consider it because we don't believe technologically it could work," he continued. "It never even came up with Justin."

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M.I.A. Showed Off a Controversial Gesture

mia showed off a controversial gesture
Source: MEGA

It became the most controversial Super Bowl Halftime Show after Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction.

Madonna's halftime show went wrong when British singer M.I.A. held her middle finger up. It immediately ignited comparisons to Jackson's live wardrobe malfunction in 2004, sparking new controversy.

NFL issued a statement after what happened, writing, "The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans."

Meanwhile, an NBC spokesperson said the company's monitoring system tried to blur the gesture, but they too late "by a fraction of a second."

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NFL Hired an Elvis Presley Impersonator

nfl hired an elvis presley impersonator
Source: MEGA

Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977.

For the 1989 Super Bowl Halftime Show, the league hired an Elvis Presley impersonator to perform a magic trick with a song. The number, however, left everyone puzzled in the end.

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Stanley Wilson Violated the NFL's Substance Abuse Policy

stanley wilson violated the nfls substance abuse policy
Source: Adrian Curiel on Unsplash

NFL instituted the substance abuse policy in 1986.

Stanley Wilson missed the Super Bowl XXIII in 1989 after the then-Cincinnati Bengals running back was suspended for reported drug use. He reportedly violated the NFL's substance abuse policy, and his suspension was announced seven hours before the big game of his team against the San Francisco 49ers.

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Why Was Joe Namath the MVP?

why was joe namath the mvp
Source: Thomas Serer on Unsplash

Joe Namath scored 17 out of 28 passes for 206 yards.

One of the NFL's biggest MVP mistakes happened at the Super Bowl III when Joe Namath was named the MVP despite not throwing or running for a touchdown during the match.

He became the first player in Super Bowl history to become an MVP without having even a single touchdown.

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