Party like it’s 1992? The last Mpls. Super Bowl show didn’t age well

Published 10:06 am Friday, January 27, 2017

By Tom Weber FM

Thursday marked 25 years since Super Bowl XXVI was played in Minneapolis — a first for Minnesota and only the second time the big game had been held in a cold weather winter city.

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It was a bit ho-hum. Neither team scored in the first quarter but by the third, Washington had run up a 24-0 score on Buffalo and eventually won, 37-24.

One Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist wrote “the game was a mismatch … again putting the lie to all of this garbage about NFL parity.”

But the game does go down in memory for including what now plays as a very outdated and even ridiculous halftime show.

With a theme built around Minneapolis being a place that does winter right, a barrage of people dressed like snowflakes, inflatable snowmen, and what appeared to be 5 percent of the state’s population descended upon the field for 12 minutes of gosh-darn-wholesome goodness that the world never saw.

The halftime show on CBS had lower ratings than a live special of the show “In Living Color” on FOX.

Once the city won the bid in 1989 to host the 1992 game, the host committee got to work figuring out every logistic from securing hotel rooms to providing security and planning traffic flow.

While that happened, a company from Phoenix called Timberline Productions set ahead to plan the halftime show.

Timberline had produced shows like “Sesame Street Live,” but never a football game event. Its executives came together around a theme of showcasing Minnesota as the place where winter is the hottest time of the year!

Here’s what the Star Tribune said about Act One: Snowflake Fantasy: “Halftime opens w/ a 30-second overture by the 60-piece tuxedo-clad Minnesota Youth Symphonies.

They are followed onto the field by a 35-piece snowflake drill team, a 150-piece fabric drill team and 60 professional dancers, creating an effect of cascading, swirling snowflakes. “Winter Wonderland” will be accompanied by 20 ballroom couples, 30 costumed showgirls, and 60 hot dancers.”

Yes, the Strib actually said “hot dancers.”

Act Two saw a giant, silk Frosty the Snowman appear along with two 30-foot inflatable snowmen; three more dancing snowmen; a 400-member drill team and then the University of Minnesota marching band.

The songs included a wrap about Frosty called “Do the Frosty,” music that somehow didn’t survive in American lore.

Skating champions Dorothy Hamilll and Brian Boitano skated during a salute to the Winter Olympics that were about to begin in France; the 1980 Miracle on Ice hockey team was there, too, along with 75 people rollerblading because, why not?

Nearly 2,000 people performed. Several hundred more volunteered. A nice handful of people across the state get to regale the same stories when they watch the Super Bowl with friends.

There were dance teams and color guards from high schools in St. Cloud, Wayzata, Bloomington, North High in Minneapolis, Irondale and a lot more.

The spectacularly hokie show by Minneapolis and Timberline was just in keeping with the same kind of halftime show that had been performed up to that point.