Skip to main content

10 strangest Super Bowl moments of all time, ranked

Ronald Reagan throws a football in the Oval Office.
Wikipedia Commons

The Super Bowl is always one of the biggest entertainment events of the year, and millions have witnessed some strange events. Audiences have seen things from scandals involving the players to mistakes with the festivities to random incidents that make for great water cooler talk the next day.

So, with this year’s final game day fast approaching, readers can prepare by looking back at the weirdest moments to ever occur at the Super Bowl.

Need more Super Bowl 2024 recommendations? Check out who is performing in the Super Bowl halftime show, how to watch the Super Bowl for free, and 3 great sports documentaries to watch.

Still want more Super Bowl alternatives? Try the 5 best Netflix TV shows to watch instead of the 2024 Super Bowl, 10 great TV shows to stream instead of the 2024 Super Bowl, 10 great movies to watch instead of the 2024 Super Bowl, and 3 great Hulu shows to watch instead of the 2024 Super Bowl.

10. Max McGee wins hungover

This hungover, old as dirt backup became a Super Bowl legend

The Super Bowl is a time for hard partying for many, but this incident of pre-gaming is something else. On the eve of the very first Super Bowl, the Green Bay Packers’ own Max McGee went out and drank so much that he ended up playing with a hangover the next day.

Amazingly, McGee made seven receptions for 138 yards and scored two touchdowns, winning the Packers the game.

9. Don Shula’s stolen watch

Don Shula wears sunglasses on the football field.
Wikipedia Commons

Remember that iconic moment when Miami Dolphins Coach Don Shula was carried up by his team after they won Super Bowl VII?

Well, while the players hoisted up Shula, a fan came onto the field to try and shake his hand, only to yank his watch right off his wrist. Fortunately, Shula was able to go after the fan and retrieve his watch.

8. President Reagan tosses a coin

President Reagan Tossing the Coin for Super Bowl XIX on January 20, 1985

Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration was on the same day as the Super Bowl XIX, so the U.S. president could not appear at Stanford Stadium to do the coin toss in person. The solution: Reagan flipped the coin from the White House while being broadcast on satellite TV.

7. ‘Left Shark’ upstages Katy Perry

Katy Perry performs at the Super Bowl Halftime show.
Wikipedia Commons

Katy Perry headlined the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show on a fantastic beach party-themed stage. But what most people seem to remember from it was how one of her shark-dressed dancers seemed to dance out of sync with the other backup dancer.

To be fair, it can’t be easy dancing around in that shark costume. Nevertheless, “Left Shark” has since become an Internet phenomenon that did the unthinkable and stole Katy Perry’s spotlight.

6. The Indiana Jones Halftime Show

Super Bowl 1995 Halftime Show

The Super Bowl has featured many bizarre halftime shows over the years, including one with an ice skating rink and another with Mickey Mouse and his friends from Disney. But the weirdest gimmick has to be when Disney promoted their new Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye at Super Bowl XXIX.

Audiences saw Indy and Marion Ravenwood embark on a bizarre quest to steal back the Vince Lombardi trophy, encountering singers Patti LaBelle and Tony Bennett in one of the most outrageous musical performances ever.

5. The Great Brady Heist

A still image of Tom Brady's 12 jersey.
Wikipedia Commons

Tom Brady’s celebration of the Patriots’ victory at Super Bowl LI was cut short when his gameday jersey went missing. This disappearance led to an investigation by the NFL, who even brought in the FBI to help retrieve the jersey. A month passed before the authorities found the jersey all the way in Mexico.

The investigation revealed that a tabloid journalist from Mexico used his credentials to sneak into the Patriots’ locker room before making off across the border with the jersey. To think all this trouble was over a shirt that reeked of Brady’s B.O. Who says football isn’t fun to watch?

4. The Blackout Bowl

A blackout occurs at the Superdome during the Super Bowl.
Wikipedia Commons

Super Bowl XLVII came to a grinding halt when part of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans went dark. This sudden blackout resulted from a failure in the Superdome’s electrical relay system, which was ironically supposed to protect the power supply.

The lights went out, and people were trapped in one of the stadium elevators. This blackout put the game on hold for 34 minutes until the power came back on.

3. Thurman Thomas loses his helmet

A still image of the Buffalo Bills helmet.
Wikipedia Commons

Bills running back Thurman Thomas suffered every player’s worst nightmare when he lost track of his helmet during Super Bowl XXVI. Thomas put the helmet in a special area as part of his regular pre-game ritual.

But after the coin toss, Thomas didn’t see the helmet in its usual spot, forcing him to sit through the first two quarters until it was recovered.

2. Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction

Janet Jackson - WARDROBE MALFUNCTION - Super Bowl

While performing together in the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, Justin Timberlake accidentally exposed Janet Jackson’s breast while ripping off part of her costume.

This wardrobe malfunction may have only lasted less than a second, but that brief glimpse at Jackson’s bedazzled nipple sent shockwaves that stunned millions of viewers, outraging parents and censors alike, making it one of the most talked-about moments in TV history.

1. The Super Bowl streaker

Super Bowl XXXVIII Streaker

Janet Jackson wasn’t the only one who showed more than expected at the Super Bowl. The singer’s wardrobe malfunction overshadowed the moment in Super Bowl XXXVIII when infamous streaker Mark Roberts snuck onto the field disguised as a referee and then sprinted around in a football thong with his million-dollar sponsor tattooed on his body.

The Super Bowl is famous for its wild marketing campaigns, but this was on another level.

Editors' Recommendations

Anthony Orlando
Anthony Orlando is a writer/director from Oradell, NJ. He spent four years at Lafayette College, graduating CUM LAUDE with a…
5 best Netflix movies to watch after the 2024 Super Bowl

The 2024 Super Bowl is over. Even if your favorite team won, there's an anticlimactic feeling that is hard to get over. Is that all there is? And what's worse, the weekend is over too, and for a lot of people, the prospect of a long work week is too much to bear.

One cure for these post-Super Bowl blues is Netflix. As the world's most popular streamer, it offers a plethora of movies to access anytime you want. But which ones should you watch? Digital Trends has selected five great Netflix movies to watch after the Super Bowl.
Moneyball (2011)

Read more
The 2024 Super Bowl is over. Watch these 3 great Amazon Prime Video movies now
Kiernan Shipka crouches with a bat in Totally Killer.

We all must face the sad fact that the 2024 Super Bowl is over. The epic clash between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers is in the record books and everyone will continue to speculate what next adventure Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce will go on once the limelight is off them.

What's left to do? How about watching some good movies? Amazon Prime Video has plenty of them, from uproarious comedies to probing sci-fi films, and these three movies stand out as ideal to watch after the Super Bowl.
A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

Read more
5 best Super Bowl 2024 movie and TV trailers, ranked
Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool and Wolverine.

When it comes to the Super Bowl, TV and movie studios don't have to worry about making innovative commercials. Fans just want to see some great trailers for upcoming shows and films. This year's Super Bowl was a little light in that department, as a handful of major studios didn't bother to buy ad time. But the studios who reserved spots for the Big Game came away with some of the buzziest moments of the night.

To recap this year's best Super Bowl movie and TV trailers, we're counting down from five to name our pick for the top entry.
5. Knuckles
Knuckles Series | Official Trailer | Paramount+

Read more