Despite a rainstorm--the first in Super Bowl history--the National Football League's event team managed to keep the halftime show featuring Prince a high-energy, mud-free spectacle.

Before an audience of 75,000 at Miami's Dolphin Stadium and a TV audience estimated at 93 million, fans enjoyed a pre-game show that included Cirque du Soleil's colorfully costumed acrobats and the U.S. national anthem sung by veteran singer/songwriter Billy Joel.

The centerpiece, however, was a pulsing show by R&B/funk/soul/rock master Prince. Backed at times by the Florida A&M Marching Band's "Marching 100," Prince raced through highlights of hit after hit including "Baby I'm a Star," "Rolling on the River," "All Along the Watchtower" and, wryly, "Purple Rain." Los Angeles-based Don Mischer Productions teamed up with White Cherry Entertainment to produce the pre-game and halftime show, officially dubbed the "Pepsi Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show."

GOING GREEN

Ensuring that the field in the open-air stadium would be perfect, NFL management started growing two complete fields of sod--one in Georgia and one in Florida--10 months ago, NFL senior vice president of events Frank Supovitz told Special Events Magazine the day after the big game. With rain in the forecast 10 days before Sunday's mega-event, the NFL event team switched out the 1 1/2-inch thick Georgia sod and replaced it with the Florida turf. "It rained all day," Supovitz says, "and nobody was muddy. That saved us. We couldn't have put Prince's stage in a field full of mud."

Another show saver: The field at Dolphin Stadium features an underground pump system that clears water away. Still, the event team took no chances. "We were monitoring the National Weather Service and had a laptop tracking Doppler radar for thunderstorms," he said. "In a lightning storm, the field would have to be cleared."

Supovitz is most proud of the NFL fans. He said, "From the beginning of the pre-game show with Cirque de Soleil through the game and halftime show and post-game ceremonies, they sat in driving rain and soaked up the moment."

Photos by Special Events Magazine