There’s no doubt Tom Petty was a safe choice for entertainment in this desexualized, post-wardrobe-malfunction Super Bowl halftime era we find ourselves in, but it’s nice to see the NFL still knows the imagination capturing ability of a good ol’ phallic allusion. Last year’s Best Super Bowl Halftime Ever featured of course Prince’s pointy purple cock which must’ve left a good taste in the entertainment organizers’ mouths; watch as “American Girl” starts, after the heartbeats, and after the hot six-string injection.

Aside from that little sexual interlude, though, this was a no frills, bearded, sorta boring, free fallin’ halftime show; a Heartbreakers performance by billing and personnel (note the band’s logo formed by the Flying V’s heart penetration, Mike Campbell’s licks and skinny Adam Duritz look), but interestingly featuring three songs from Petty’s solo debut Full Moon Fever (“I Won’t Back Down,” “Free Fallin’,” “Runnin’ Down A Dream”). Check ’em after the jump.

“I Won’t Back Down”

“Free Fallin’”

“Runnin’ Down A Dream”

If you missed it, you didn’t miss much — but at least now you’re caught up. Lip syncing? Really? Didn’t think so! You? Also if you were wondering “how old is tom petty” after the game, you weren’t alone: that search was #2 post-game on Google Trends (#6 this morning — fyi he’s 57).

In other news, yes that was “No Cars Go” in a commercial for the NFL itself after halftime (apparently used without permission).

And in a footnote to Tom Petty’s and Arcade Fire’s involvement with the festivities Sunday, the Giants pulled off arguably the biggest upset in Super Bowl history with a dramatic 17-14 victory, ruining the Patriots perfect season and Tom Brady’s perfect life (if only for one night). Told ya!

Comments (18)
  1. Rob  |   Posted on Feb 4th, 2008 0

    Lip-syncing? My vote is “no.” That reporter from Dallas is an idiot.
    Delay effect on TP’s voice during Free Falling? Uh…yes.
    Bad link of audio and video as it hit my TV? Oh yeah.

    I thought the Arcade Fire song was used as the sdtk for a game re-cap coming back from a commercial break but perhaps I remember it wrong. If it were just that, then that seems like the NFL didn’t do anything wrong.

    I apologize to Eli Manning for every horrible thing I ever said about him.

  2. Dave  |   Posted on Feb 4th, 2008 0

    Safe….dull….very ‘not’ 2008. God bless Tom Petty & his crew for the fine 60s-based guitar songs they’ve made for years, but apart from American Girl opener, it was all snoresville. (though to his credit, Petty looked as if he was starting to enjoy it a bit by their last song…)

  3. Just happened to get home (after visiting a Chocolate Fest, woohoo) in time to remember– oh hey, maybe it’s halftime! We happened to turn on the t.v. just as Free Fallin’ was starting up. “Safe” would be a pretty good way to describe it, especially considering how everyone was waving around LEDs and cell phones instead of lighters… Do they even allow lighters into football games anymore? Anyhow, I always thought Petty would be a good show to see, provided he didn’t just play the old songs we all know.

    Nice one on the prediction, though, ‘gum.

  4. andrew  |   Posted on Feb 4th, 2008 0

    What was up with Benmont getting no closeups? The guy has been there from the beginning.

  5. DB  |   Posted on Feb 4th, 2008 0

    Benmont is the man. Couldn’t agree more.

  6. sas  |   Posted on Feb 4th, 2008 0

    That writer is obviously either retarded or looking for a scandal on which to base his name. Anyone with half a brain can tell you that Petty’s way too good for lip-syncing and that there’s absolutely no proof he did anything of the sort. Idiot.

  7. Webbster  |   Posted on Feb 4th, 2008 0

    To keep myself awake during their halftime performance I thought of 10 other bands/artists who would have been better than this.

    REM, although they probably wouldn’t, was my number one choice.

    (Well they do have some new stuff in the pipeline, it would make sense.)

  8. MB  |   Posted on Feb 4th, 2008 0

    REM? For a Superbowl halftime show?

    Get real. You have to remember that the Superbowl halftime show tries to appeal to one of two demographics, men who watch football every Sunday, or women who are forced to watch one game a year…the Superbowl. Petty was therefore an appropriate act since the majority of his fans are middle-aged, beer guzzling men. Same with last year. Prince, though he’s progressed as an artist, still represents the “sexual musician” that perhaps would be appealing to women.

    REM only appeals to skinny suburban kids from the 80′s…a group on its way to extinction. If the NFL ever decides to have a charity flag football game maybe they’ll give REM a call. Until then…

  9. Allah  |   Posted on Feb 4th, 2008 0

    Just put John Mayer up there and be done with it.

  10. Conversely, there’s *no way* McCartney was playing the bass guitar during that halftime snooze-fest two years ago.

  11. The Other Matthew  |   Posted on Feb 4th, 2008 0

    Even if he was lip-syncing, I don’t see a big deal. Artists have done it for the Super Bowl before. It’s a nightmare, trying to get a live performance to sound just right in a giant stadium filled to the brim with tons of screaming football fans. I didn’t see any signs of lip-syncing, though, apart from the perfect performance.

    Incidentally, I was rooting for the Patriots. Bah.

  12. Rob  |   Posted on Feb 4th, 2008 0

    There was no lip syncing…they used digital delay on his voice (just an effect). anyone who has ever seen Jane’s Addiction will understand that one. I thought they played great…just a good old rock set.

  13. arsetothat  |   Posted on Feb 4th, 2008 0

    Tom Petty was not lip-syncing. Jordin Sparks on the other hand…

    BTW, Go Giants!

  14. christian  |   Posted on Feb 4th, 2008 0

    Jordin Sparks DEFINITELY was lip-synching

  15. No way Tom Petty or Jordin Sparks were lip synching! On the other hand, Paula Abdul was, without question.

    And BTW, Tom Petty and the boys, especially Mike Campbell rocked like it was 1989!

    Does anyone else here think Campbell now looks like Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes?

  16. Mark  |   Posted on Feb 4th, 2008 0

    I wont back down, should be America’s song

  17. Mark  |   Posted on Feb 4th, 2008 0

    America’s song – I won’t back down

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