Tom Brady is weighing in on the never-ending “Nipplegate” discourse surrounding the infamous 2004 Super Bowl halftime show featuring Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.
On a recent episode of his podcast, “Let’s Go!” with Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray where the co-hosts were discussing Rihanna’s halftime show from Super Bowl 2023 — which saw the Kansas City Chiefs defeat the Philadelphia Eagles — Brady was asked whether the NFL players participating in the big game are able to watch the show.
Brady, 45, admitted that the players are typically too focused on the game to pay attention — and brought up Jackson’s areola-flashing wardrobe malfunction as an example — saying that it was “probably a good thing for the NFL.”
“[Reporters] were asking me about that, and I couldn’t even understand what they were telling me about,” Brady recalled. “They were like, ‘Did you see the halftime show?’ and I said, ‘Nah, I didn’t see anything.’ I was thinking about the game and was trying to figure out halftime adjustments.”
“It took a while for us to figure out what had gone on. That’s for the fans and not for the players,” he added.
The recently retired quarterback led the New England Patriots to victory over the Carolina Panthers at the Super Bowl XXXVIII and won the game’s MVP award, but what’s remembered most was the halftime performance featuring Jackson, Timberlake, Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock and Jessica Simpson.
The halftime show ended with an infamous moment when Timberlake exposed Jackson’s breast while performing “Rock Your Body.”
“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,” Brady said. “Is any publicity bad publicity? That’s what they say. So, who knows?”
Jackson, 56, referred to the controversy in her Lifetime documentary that aired last year, saying that it “shouldn’t have happened.”
“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 in the documentary.
“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.”
She added that Timberlake, 42, invited her back to join him at the 2018 Super Bowl halftime show, but she turned it down to leave the incident in the past.
“When I think about it, would it be nice to be able to perform? Yes,” she recalled in the doc. “Our family, we love entertaining. But on the flip side of it, it’s stretching out the past, reliving something that happened over 10 years ago.”
While Brady never watched the halftime shows while he was playing in the Super Bowl, he did get to see Rihanna hit the stage for the first time in seven years — and reveal she was pregnant with baby No. 2.
“She’s great. She’s a great performer,” Brady said about 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.”