The Only Musicians To Play The Super Bowl Halftime Show More Than 2 Times

Those who reign from the land of the red white and blue are all too familiar with traditional American holidays; fireworks and cookouts on the Fourth of July, lake or beach days on Memorial Day, celebrating the long weekend on Labor Day, roasting a turkey and eating delicious pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, and of course, throwing huge house parties on Super Bowl Sunday as people cheer on their favorite football team, watch the amusing ads, and check out the halftime shows hosting some of the world's most famed musicians. But only a handful of people get to play at one of the most watched events of the year, and only two artists have had the privilege of performing three times (via Billboard).

Originally, the Super Bowl began as a tradition in 1966 when the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFC) merged and decided that the last game of the season would be a face-off between the champions of each league. Originally, it was called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game, but because only the United States was allowed to participate and won by default, the rest of the world requested the name change. Okay, maybe that's not exactly what happened, but by 1969 the game had been changed to the Super Bowl, according to Britannica.

Early Halftime Shows

As for the Super Bowl halftime show, and the performers who make them special, the first demonstrations were usually held by college marching bands that didn't garner much press or advertisements, according to The Washington Post. At the first Super Bowl, the one that was named the AFL-NFL World Championship Game, the University of Arizona and Grangling University marching bands performed, which would set the trend for performances for the next few decades.

For a while, marching bands dominated the halftime show. Sometimes singers would come out to perform with the bands, or other famous musicians would contribute, but for the most part, it was all dominated by this kind of performance. That is until Michael Jackson was tapped to play the halftime show in 1993 and completely revolutionized how people watched not only the halftime show but the Super Bowl in general (via The Washington Post).

Justin Timberlake and Gloria Estefan

Since 1967 only five superstars have performed at the halftime show at least two times, Gloria Estefan being the first to do so. In 1992, she took the stage and paid homage to Winter Olympic athletes who were performing that same year. Three years later, in 1995, Estefan sang at an Indiana Jones-themed show. Four years later, Estefan performed with Savion Glover, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and Stevie Wonder, which happened to be his second show (via Billboard). Previously, Stevie Wonder had performed at the Super Bowl in 1994, a year before Estefan. By 1999, Estefan became the first musician to play at America's favorite football game a third time, but it would also be her last. 

Nelly, Mary Blige, and Justin Timberlake all performed in 2001 while Timberlake was still part of NSYNC. Nelly and Timberlake played again in 2004, making them the next two to perform twice at the halftime show. That was the year Timberlake was joined by Janet Jackson. He later got a third go-around, in 2018, becoming tied with Estefan for Super Bowl shows. 

Beyoncé performed in 2013, and in 2016 joined Bruno Mars for the final act during the show. Only two years prior, Mars had performed for the first time. Mary Blige finally got her second performance with Dr. Dre, Eminem, and Kendrick Lamar in 2022 (via Billboard). As to who will be the next to make it on this list, only time will tell.