Tom Ross: Purple Reign in the rain

Petite Prince deserved Super Bowl MVP more than Peyton


I was more than happy for Peyton Manning after he got the primate off his back in the Not So Super Bowl Sunday night. Heck, I was happy for myself. I won't be listening to any more sports talkers flapping their yaps and speculating about whether Archie's boy is ever going to win the big one.

Thankfully, we can all put that one behind us.

But I have bad news for the Manning football family. Peyton didn't deserve the Most Valuable Player Award. That trophy should have gone to the artist formerly known as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince.

Super Bowl XLI will forever be remembered as Purple Reign in the rain.

OK, so Peyton and what's-his-face from Da Bears struggled to get a firm grip on the football in all that South Florida precip. That's probably legit. I have trouble throwing a spiral with a dry Nerf ball.

But have you ever tried to play searing rock guitar in a downpour? Never mind that it's almost impossible to hang onto a highly polished chunk of wood and slide your fingers around the frets when they are wet. Prince dazzled with his licks and pranced around like a peacock while he did it.

And what about the personal safety of his royal eminence?

Would you hang an electrical appliance around your neck, plug it in and stand out in the purple rain? Prince showed less regard for his body than any of the Bears' linebackers did in the third quarter.

Do you know how long Prince's hair stylist worked on his Super Do? How bold was it for him to toss his scarf to the crowd in mid-set and expose his perfect hair to the elements?

Not only did the halftime show go on, but Prince managed to do justice to Bob Dylan and channel Hendrix in his rendition of "All Along the Watchtower."

I'd like to see Peyton pull that off.

For the record, Prince's band started with a stale intro of "We Will Rock You" by Queen. That was followed by "Baby I'm a Star." Prince did a brief duet with Shelby Johnson on "Proud Mary" before launching into "All Along the Watchtower," the Foo Fighters' "Best of You" and finally "Purple Rain."

I've heard mixed reactions to Prince's halftime show. Some of my colleagues observed that he hasn't had a hit in 20 years. Tell me, what is a "hit record" any more? I listen to a lot of music, and I don't think I listen to "hits."

Plenty of people felt that Prince's set represented the penultimate Super Bowl halftime show.

The truth is, that ain't saying a lot.

I actually thought the Stones blistered the stage last year, but most people couldn't get past their appearance - I don't deny it, they're starting to look a little like lizards that have been out in the sun too long.

Paul McCartney was polished at halftime of Super Bowl XXXIX, but the year before that was the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction. The prolific Irish rock band U2 redefined the halftime experience in 2002.

But, if you want to revisit a nightmare, recall Super Bowl XXVII in 1993, when the Cowboys spanked the Bills 52-17 in Pasadena. Then think about Michael Jackson and 3,500 local children performing a show called "Heal the World." Yikes!

The truth is, for most of its history, the Super Bowl's halftime shows have either been budget affairs or downright cheesy.

How many of you realized that "Up With People" was the featured attraction four different years?

Marching bands were Super bowl halftime staples for the first 18 years of the defining American spectacle. The Pepsi commercials must have sold for cheap back then because the producers certainly weren't spending big bucks on talent at Super Bowl XXI. Southern California high school drill teams and dancers performed the halftime show entitled "Salute to Hollywood's 100th Anniversary."

One year later, 1950s rock-n-roll icon Chubby Checker ("The Twist") performed with the Rockettes and 88 grand pianos in a pageant cleverly titled "Something Grand."

The modern era was ushered in at Super Bowl XXV when the first boy band, "New Kids on the Block," took the halftime stage. Who can ever forget Donnie Wahlberg and the rest of the fellas crooning, "I'll be Loving You (Forever)"?

The Blues Brothers Bash at Super Bowl XXXI was pretty entertaining. Imagine Dan Akroyd, John Goodman, James Belushi, ZZ Top and, yes, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, in one very tight show.

So, if you were king or queen, whom would you invite to perform at Super Bowl XLII?

If you want to go new school, I'm thinkin' John Mayer. The kid's wardrobe isn't super, but he can play guitar almost as well as Prince.


bolter 10 years, 2 months ago

After "we will rock you" was "let's go crazy".


DiamondDan 10 years, 2 months ago

Why did "plenty of people" feel that Prince's set was the next to last Super Ball half time show? Are they going to discontinue this entertainment after next year because so many shows have been lame?


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