Tom Brady said on a recent episode of his “Let’s Go!” podcast with Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray that Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show was “probably a good thing for the NFL.” Brady led the New England Patriots to victory that year over the Carolina Panthers, but it was the halftime show that had the nation talking. Jackson was featured alongside Justin Timberlake, Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock and Jessica Simpson. The performance infamously ended with a wardrobe malfunction in which Timberlake exposed Jackson’s breast while performing “Rock Your Body.”
“I didn’t see much. I’d much rather not see it when I’m playing,” Brady said about Super Bowl halftime shows. “Even I remember when we beat Carolina…We came off the field and that was when we had the wardrobe malfunction with Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson. [The media was] asking me about that. I couldn’t even understand what they were telling me about. They said, ‘Did you see the halftime show?’ and I said, ‘I didn’t see anything.’ I was thinking about the game.”
“It took a while for us to figure out exactly what had gone on,” Brady continued. “I think in the end, it was probably a good thing for the NFL because everyone got to talk about it, and it was just more publicity and more publicity for halftime shows. Is any publicity bad publicity? That’s what they say, so, who knows?”
Super Bowl 2003 broadcaster CBS and halftime show producer MTV issued apologies for the wardrobe malfunction. Jackson’s career took a hit because of the incident as she was vilified in the press despite the malfunction being an error on Timberlake’s part. In her eponymous 2022 Lifetime documentary, Jackson said she was eager to move on from the controversy.
“We talked once and Justin said, ‘I don’t know if I should speak up and make a statement.’ And then I was like, ‘Look, I don’t want any drama for you. If I were you, I wouldn’t say anything,'” Jackson said. “Justin and I are very good friends and we always will be. We talked a few days ago. He and I have moved on and it’s time for everyone to do the same.”
While Brady never watched halftime shows during the Super Bowls that he played in, he did check out Rihanna’s buzzy performance at this year’s game.
“She’s great. She’s a great performer,” Brady said of Rihanna. “She blows everyone away all the time. She’s one of the unique performers. It’s great to see people on that stage… that stage of the Super Bowl is reserved for special people. She did a great job.”
Listen to Brady’s full “Let’s Go!” podcast episode here.