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Shutdown Corner

All the Super Bowl halftime show facts, figures and history you need before Beyonce takes the stage

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(USA Today Sports Images)

The halftime show of the Super Bowl officially became bigger than the Super Bowl itself last year.

Madonna's performance last year had a higher rating than the average rating for the game. So while Beyonce's grandiose press conference this week seemed out of place, more people will recognize her than any of the players, coaches and coaches' family members who gave press conferences this week.

The halftime show has grown since its humble beginnings (and really, why? Nobody goes to a concert and expect to be entertained by seeing football players play four downs of ball halfway through the set), and will be more talked about on the Internet than how well Joe Flacco plays or that cute Clydesdale commercial that has already won the pre-Super Bowl buzz contest.

[Related: When and where to watch the big game]

So if you need to have some background trivia on the Super Bowl halftime show before getting down to "Single Ladies," we have you covered:

• Didn't believe that Madonna's show got better ratings than the Super Bowl, did you?
During Madonna's halftime show last year, the rating was 48.1, according to TVbytheNumbers.com. The average rating for the entire broadcast of Patriots-Giants was 47.8 (it did spike to 51.8 in the final half hour of game action). The highest rating for a game in Super Bowl history is 47.9.

Madonna's rating means that about 114 million people watched her perform, probably more than watched "Dick Tracy" and "Shanghai Surprise" combined. All that exposure means ...

• The performers don't get paid
Of course you read this on Shutdown Corner yesterday, but Beyonce won't get paid for performing. Nobody else has gotten paid by the NFL for performing at halftime either. The artists get expenses paid for and that's it.

It makes sense, because even the biggest artists in the world aren't going to have an audience of more than 110 million people ever again. The exposure is priceless, as long as you don't screw it up (hello, Black Eyed Peas!). And if Michael Jackson didn't get paid for his halftime show, you've got no shot.

• Gratuitous Beyonce photo No. 1

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(Associated Press)

• The Super Bowl halftime show started as a small time gig
The University of Arizona and Michigan marching bands were the Super Bowl I halftime entertainment. Marching bands were the flavor of the game's halftime early on. The bands from Florida A&M, Grambling and Texas all got a turn, with some themes (“Tribute to Duke Ellington” was Super Bowl IX, for an example) being mixed in to jazz it up. That led to ...

• The Up With People era
The fact that Up With People played the Super Bowl four times from 1976-86, and basically began the trend of over-the-top halftime shows at the big game, is often cited and mind boggling no matter how many times it is repeated. The group is a large ensemble of young people providing a "common message of hope and goodwill to people around the world." This actually happened at four Super Bowls:

• Gratuitous Beyonce photo No. 2

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(AP)

• Weirdest modern Super Bowl halftime performance, non-Up With People division
Michael Jackson's performance at Super Bowl XXVIII was far from the worst (hello, Black Eyed Peas!), but it was one of the strangest just for the way, way too long and uncomfortable "I'm gonna just stand here for a couple minutes" pause at the beginning.

• The best halftime performance
There will be no argument (and Yahoo! Sports' Les Carpenter wrote a great history of U2's fantastic performance this week, to top it off):

• Gratuitous Beyonce photo No. 3

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(AP)


• Beyonce might have a surprise up her sleeve, and you can bet on it ... literally
There are rumors that Beyonce will have either Destiny's Child (the group she used to be with when she came on the scene) or her husband Jay-Z on stage with her at some point during her set. These rumors must be well founded, because she was asked about them during her press conference.

“I can’t really give you any details," she said. "I’m sorry.”

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You can actually bet on Jay-Z being on stage with Beyonce. According to the Super Bowl proposition bets sent along by R.J. Bell, the founder of gambling information site Pregame.com, the bet "Will Jay-Z join Beyonce on stage during halftime show?" is being offered. For a $100 bet you can win $110 if the two are on stage together. Pretty sure there were no Up With People prop bets offered back in the day.

• This is a big deal, even for a star like Beyonce
No matter how famous one is, the thought of performing for that many people is a bit overwhelming. One screw up can define a career. When you think of Janet Jackson, your first thought likely isn't about the majesty of "Rhythm Nation 1814."

“It is nerve-racking and it is something that we’ve been preparing for about four or five months," Beyonce said. "So, of course I’m nervous."

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