Craziest Super Bowl moments ever, including a bizarre halftime helicopter exit

Diana Ross makes her grand exit from the halftime show at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., during Super Bowl XXX Sunday Jan. 28, 1996.
Diana Ross makes her grand exit from the halftime show at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., during Super Bowl XXX Sunday Jan. 28, 1996.
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It had to be the helicopter at the end of halftime.

I've been to every Super Bowl held in Arizona — 1996, 2008 and 2015. I went to one in 1995 in Miami for good measure.

And I’ve seen some weird things. Events like the Super Bowl are magnets for that.

I've also seen some cool things, like David Tyree’s famous "helmet catch" that helped the New York Giants upset the undefeated New England Patriots in 2008. Or Malcolm Butler's interception at the goal line to help the Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks in the 2015 game.

That was the most-watched Super Bowl of all time, by the way, with 115.8 million viewers.

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Would you kiss a rattlesnake for tickets to the Super Bowl? I've seen it done

I've also seen some things that were so unusual that I still remember them. There are doubtless others that I have forgotten.

Certainly, I remember a local radio station competition in 1996 that brought out all kinds of nuttiness. The person with the weirdest submission would win tickets to the Super Bowl, between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I don't remember all of the things people did, but I do remember a few. One was a guy who balanced a baby like it was a bowling pin or something. Another was a guy who kissed a rattlesnake on the lips. Does a snake have lips? I don’t know, but if it has them, that’s where he kissed it.

Luckily, the snake didn’t bite. Nor did the guy win the contest.

The guy who did win brought in a truckload of manure, the truck bed filled to the brim. He jumped in and did a headstand — and then threw his hands in the air. When he pulled his head out (it was submerged) it made a THWACK! sound. He won, but man, at what price?

I also remember him lunging toward Mike Golic, the former NFL player who was then a sports-talk radio host, and Golic roaring that if he touched him, he could forget the tickets.

In 2008, during Media Day, which stretches the definition of "media" to the breaking point, Ines Gomez Mont, a reporter for TV Azteca in Mexico, proposed to then-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

That alone was odd. That she was wearing a wedding dress to the event was stranger still.

(For the record, this story has an even stranger twist. In 2021, Gomez Mont and her husband were accused of embezzling almost 3 billion pesos from the Mexican government. That makes getting Super Bowl credentials extremely difficult, you'd think.)

Media Day, which is now a nighttime extravaganza called Super Bowl Opening Night, is a magnet for craziness. But really, so is anything where you throw thousands of people from everywhere together for a few days.

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I saw, live and in-person, Left Shark do his thing — a shark-outfitted dancer during Katy Perry's halftime show whose seeming ineptness captured the nation's attention, to put it diplomatically. I also talked to a guy during the 1996 game who, after a play that sealed the win for the Cowboys, said that had just cost him a quarter-million dollars.WHAT??? And why wasn't he more upset?

Turns out he was a professional gambler. Just another day at the office. He'd get it back on another bet (maybe).

But the wackiest was, indeed, the helicopter, the one that swooped into Sun Devil Stadium after Diana Ross' halftime show.

"Oh my, here comes my ride," Ross said while she sang "Take Me Higher." She got inside, strapped in and took off into the evening sky.

It was pretty amazing, in part because it seemed vaguely dangerous to send a helicopter into a stadium packed with fans. A big gust of wind and that's a different story.


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Reach Goodykoontz at Facebook: Twitter: @goodyk.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Weirdest Super Bowl moments: Patriots, Giants, Tom Brady, Diana Ross