Country Singers at the Super Bowl

Football is by far the most popular sport in the United States. In 2019, 17 million Americans went to support their favorite teams in person, paying an average of $151 per ticket. Meanwhile, each game was watched by an average of 16.5 million from the comfort of their own home.

Then, of course, there is the Super Bowl. The biggest sporting event in the country, watched by 100 million people. The entire country comes down with Super Bowl fever as every news outlet discusses the prospects of each team, while almost every retailer is running some sort of “big game special”.

Football is also the most popular sport for those that like to bet on games. Increasingly, fans are going online to make wagers and search for the best NFL picks for each game. The NFL even has created the biggest “non-sporting” with its Draft, with millions following the event closely to help them make predictions about the upcoming season.

When it comes to music, country is the third most listened to genre in the entire United States. According to a survey conducted by the streaming service Deezer, 49.9% of Americans listen to country music, closely behind pop and rock music which had 56.1% and 56.8% respectively.

It shouldn’t be too surprising then, that two of America’s biggest loves have come together on several occasions with country singers performing at the Super Bowl.

2003 – Shania Twain

In 2003, the Oakland Raiders took on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. It was one of the biggest margins of victory seen in a Super Bowl, with the Buccaneers dominating the Raiders from the second quarter onwards to achieve a 48-21 victory.

At the half time show, Shania Twain performed to the crowd of 67,603 fans and the 88 million watching on TV, singing her famous hits “Up!” and “Man! I Feel like a Woman”. The performance was, in part, to help promote her new album “Up!” which she’d released two months prior.

Shania Twain wasn’t alone during the half time show though. No Doubt performed “I’m Just a Girl” and Sting entertained the crowd with his hit “Message in a Bottle”.

2003 – Dixie Chicks

Shania Twain wasn’t the only country singer to perform at Super Bowl XXXVII. The Dixie Chicks, famous for their hits Wide Open Spaces and Fly, performed The Star-Spangled Banner before the game got underway.

Photo by Wasted Time R, CC BY-SA 2.5

1993 – Garth Brooks

10 years earlier, Garth Brooks also performed the National Anthem at Super Bowl XXVII. That year saw an even bigger margin of victory, with the Dallas Cowboys thrashing the Buffalo Bills 52-17.

Brooks’ performance almost didn’t go ahead as he’d requested to debut a music video before the game. However, Super Bowl broadcaster, NBC, had refused on the grounds that the content of the video wasn’t suitable for the wide audiences that watch the big game. Brooks won though, he left the stadium 45 minutes before the scheduled kickoff time, resulting in NBC agreeing to his demand.

Since then, all National Anthem performances have been pre-recorded to prevent the same situations occurring.

1994 – Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt and Wynonna Judd

Five years after his record-breaking 1989 debut album Killin’ Time, Clint Black performed at Super Bowl XXVIII in 1994. He was justed by fellow country music stars Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt and Wynonna Judd in a half-time performance that was called “Rockin’ Country Sunday”.

The game, which was played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, was a rematch between the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills. The Cowboys came out on top again, but with a less embarrassing score for the Bills, finishing 30-13. This was the only time that the same two teams have faced each other in consecutive Super Bowls.

The half time show was the first year that the stadium’s main lights were dimmed for the performance to provide the opportunity for better lighting effects in the performance itself.