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Whitney Houston's contribution to a classic Super Bowl [Video]

February 12, 2012 |  9:01 am

Whitney Houston made countless musical contributions in her way-too-short life, one of which came on football's biggest stage.

Super Bowl XXV in January 1991 will always be remembered for its classic ending, when Buffalo kicker Scott Norwood missed a potential game-winning field goal on the final play, giving the New York Giants a 20-19 victory.

But it also had an unforgettable beginning thanks to an amazing performance by Houston, who died Saturday at age 48. Her rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" before the game set a standard for our national anthem that few performers, if any, have been able to live up to.

And it was just what our country needed at the time,  days into the Persian Gulf War. I remember several songs on the radio being dedicated to the troops, mainly sentimental ballads with lyrics that seemed to fit the mood of the country. Some of those songs even had war-related sound bites added to them just in case we didn't make the association ourselves.

Houston's rendition went on to become a hit single, but it was different from those others. It was meaningful. Even though she was singing words we had heard hundreds of times, she seemed to be speaking for all of us right at that moment.

And that smile that stayed on her face the entire time conveyed a bit of optimism during a scary time in our country.

I was in college at the time and considered myself way too cool to be a Whitney Houston fan. But even I got chills watching her that day -- and did again when I viewed it again Saturday, more than 20 years later.

Take a moment to appreciate that classic performance one more time.


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-- Chuck Schilken