‘It Was Probably a Good Thing for the NFL:’ Tom Brady Opens Up for First Time About Janet Jackson’s Nipplegate

by Xara Aziz
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Now that Tom Brady is officially retired from the NFL, it appears the seven-time Super Bowl champ finally has time to relive memories playing football on the world’s largest stage.

In a recent episode of the podcast Let’s Go, Brady recalled all the chatter that came in the wake of the 2004 Super Bowl, where Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performed during the halftime show.

In case you forgot, Jackson and Timberlake caused international controversy after the NSYNC bandmate ripped off a piece of the multiple Grammy Award-winning singer’s top, exposing her breast while they performed Rock Your Body. They would later call it a “wardrobe malfunction.”

The then-26-year-old quarterback said following the performance, everyone’s attention seemed to veer toward the malfunction, and no one seemed to care that his team won the game that night. However, he said he had no idea what was going on because he was so focused on the game.  

“We came off the field and that was when we had the wardrobe malfunction with Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson,” Brady told the show’s host. “And they were asking me about that. I couldn’t even understand what they were telling me about. It took a while for us to figure out exactly what had gone on.”

That night would end up being one of the most talked about moments in pop culture history and was widely regarded as “nipplegate,” which illicited a colossal controversy that plagued the NFL and its sponsors for years to come. Both CBS and the halftime show’s producer MTV issued apologies for nudity, as well as Jackson and Timberlake.

Next year marks 20 years since the scandal reverberated throughout the nation, but Brady insists that it didn’t do anything but help the league.

“I think in the end, it was probably a good thing for the NFL,” Brady concluded. “Because everyone got to talk about it, and it was just more publicity and more publicity for halftime shows.”

“Is any publicity bad publicity?” he asked rhetorically. “That’s what they say, so, who knows?”

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