Michael Jackson: The Super Bowl Legacy

Michael ClineSenior Analyst IJune 26, 2009

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 31: Michael Jackson performs during the Halftime show as the Dallas Cowboys take on the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVII at Rose Bowl on January 31, 1993 in Pasadena, California. The Cowboys won 52-17. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

With the passing of Michael Jackson yesterday, people around the world have gathered to remember his life and his legacy, to try and share the shock, the feeling of loss with others who feel the same.

And although I haven't attended a prayer vigil, or made a trip to The Apollo to be a part of the mourning crowd, I have had conversations with friends and family about the King of Pop's tattoo on our memories. 

When Michael Jackson released his famed album "Thriller", I was just seven years old. But my youthfulness didn't keep me from realizing that what I was listening to was genius at work.

The sounds of "Thriller", "Beat It", and "Billy Jean" as heard from MTV, mesmerized my eyes and ears as I grew from just an intrigued listener to a fan from then until now.

Michael Jackson was an amazing singer, dancer, and entertainer.

And nothing demonstrates that more than the halftime show at Super Bowl XXVII.

The Cowboys were playing the Bills that day, and Dallas came out victorious with a 52-17 romp of a Buffalo team making their third consecutive appearance, and getting their third consecutive loss.

There was a lot of talk about the game afterwards, how the Cowboys were the new 49ers, and Buffalo's inability to win the big one. But there was also a lot of talk of the halftime show. 

Michael Jackson performed in what is to many, the best Super Bowl halftime show ever.

I, for one, will never forget it.

I was 14 years old at the time, and I can still see the image of Michael on the stadium's big screen TV, as if he were trapped, and suddenly an impersonator is seen on top of the monitor in a cloud of smoke.

The same happens on the second stadium monitor and the crowd is just going wild, awaiting for the actual King of Pop to appear.

The camera pans to center stage, and suddenly from below the stage Jackson is catapulted into everyone's view.

The crowd goes wild, and my jaw is on the floor.

It was one of those moments in time when you realized that what you were seeing would never be seen again.

He stood there in black, except for the classic white socks, and gold trim on his infamous jacket.

He stood there knowing that although Dallas had the stars on their helmets, he was the real star in the stadium that night.

For over seven minutes, all eyes were on Michael Jackson and for every Super Bowl from that moment on, other performers would live with the knowledge that they could only hope to be second-best.

Michael Jackson's fame permeated all aspects of human society, even that of the greatest game ever invented.

He stole the show that Sunday night and will be remembered by sports fans for that thrilling performance.

So thrilling we realized "Thriller" was more than a name of an album, or the name of a song. It was the very word to describe the man behind the music. The man we'll all remember as the guy who rocked Super Bowl XXVII.