For non-football types, the Super Bowl halftime show can be the only life raft in a confusing sea of frowning men wearing shoulder pads and over-long commercial breaks. And, since 1993, when Michael Jackson turned in his game-changing, five-song performance in Pasadena, standards for a successful halftime have been incredibly high.
No wonder. Super Bowl viewing figures haven't fallen under 100 million since 1981, and are more commonly closer to the 150 million mark—and that's in America alone.
When it's done right, the halftime show can be a source of national pride (as when U2 tried to heal the nation after 9/11). It can have an immediate and lasting impact on pop culture (Katy Perry's Left Shark will live on as a meme forever). And it can bring the country together during turbulent times (everyone stopped thinking about 2017's divisive inauguration the second Lady Gaga threw herself off the top of that stadium).
So it's easy to forget quite how much the pre-Jackson Super Bowl halftime, well, sucked.