November 01, 2017 12:40 PM
With the Super Bowl returning to Minneapolis in February, KSTP took a look back at the Super Bowl halftime show from the last time the big game was held in Minnesota. The show was a lot different than the blockbuster performances fans have grown to expect today.
If fact, the performance in 1992 is often labeled as one of the worst ever -- and is even credited with changing the way the performances are programmed now.
The field inside the Metrodome flooded with nearly 2,000 performers -- most of them local volunteers -- and erupted into a dizzying display of all things winter. From teenage dancers in shiny teal and mauve outfits doing a dance called "The Frosty," to Olympic skaters and gymnasts doing flips and snowmobiles on wheels -- it was like the organizers of the performance just couldn't say "no" to turn anyone away.
Digital Extra: 1992 Super Bowl Halftime Show in Minneapolis
"It's like a good high school musical," said Dave Mona, who was on the Super Bowl Host Committee in 1992. "This kind of makes us laugh now because history has changed our interpretation. But looking at it for the first time in 26 years, it did what it was supposed to do."
From the 1992 Super Bowl halftime show.
Mona said that while the performance looks cheesy and low-tech compared to today's standards, it was on par with previous Super Bowl halftime shows at the time. The show was produced by Arizona-based Timberline productions.
"This was a Super Bowl halftime," Mona said. "We just happened to put an end to it."
"I do remember this song!" said DeAndra Knighten of St. Paul as she watched the performance on a laptop.
Knighten was 13 years old in 1992 and auditioned to perform in the show with her local dance group. She says she can't do the dance anymore, but she still remembers the experience.
"My friends back in seventh grade will tell you 'that's all she talked about' -- they didn't believe me," Knighten said. "The Super Bowl was a big deal."
For the big finish, Gloria Estefan appeared on a rising stage in front of a giant face that looked like Jack Frost wearing a State of Liberty crown. But that year, television ratings during the halftime show dropped like the January temperatures. The 12-minute explosion of wholesome "Minnesota nice" was overshadowed by a strategically-planned live broadcast of a popular show on an opposing network. Super Bowl advertisers turned up the heat on the National Football League in response.
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"The NFL said 'we can't have this happen,' and said 'what can we do?'" Mona said. "And that started the discussion of upping the level and that brought in Michael Jackson the next year."
The age of superstar halftime shows was born.
But for Minnesotans who were part of the halftime show in 1992, the experience is a cherished memory.
"Twenty-five years later we look at back and I'm like, 'this is a big corn ball,'" Knighten said. "But at the time, it was the best because we were one of two African-American groups. I will never forget it."