I was a mere twelve years old when I entirely missed Janet Jackson's soul and flesh-baring performance at the 2004 Super Bowl. While her infamous "wardrobe malfunction" pioneered use of the term, it also marked the end of many a childhood in the United States. As we acknowledge the ten-year anniversary of this landmark event in network broadcasting, we should consider what potential effect Jackson's second of infamy had on the unfolding year. Yes, correlation does not imply causation, but who's to say Jackson's slip didn't affect many of these 2004 events?
1. The Patriots Win the Super Bowl on February 1
The Patriots narrowly beat out the Carolina Panthers, 32-29. I hypothesize that, rather than delivering a rousing halftime speech, Patriots coach Bill Belichick simply had players watch the halftime show.
2. Google Launches Gmail on April 1
Internet users rejoiced at the rise of another mail system with which to share scandalous news. Granted, Gmail must have been in the works before the Super Bowl, but response to the halftime show may very well have accelerated the process.
3. Friends Ends on May 6
Like Jackson's red bra and her right bosom, these famous actors must part ways. Phoebe's faked malfunction in the plane's "left phalange" is actually a veiled reference to Jackson's malfunction.
4. Massachusetts Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage on May 17
Massachusetts becomes the first state to recognize the right of gay couples to wed. Supporters silence conservative critics who argue that the move will undermine American morals by pointing to the 2004 Super Bowl. "Football," they say, "Is doing more to undermine American morals than gay marriage ever will." (Quotes are hypothetical, but perhaps plausible.)
5. The Red Sox Win the World Series on October 27
This confirms the link between Jackson's flash and the performance of Massachusetts sports teams. It was, in fact, strong enough to break the 86 year dry spell leading up to 2004. The "Curse of the Bambino" is vanquished by the "Blessing of the Bustier."
While these connections are still unconfirmed, I have faith that my team of qualified correlation experts will unearth evidence linking Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" to great entertainment, sports and social events of 2004. Until then, you are more than welcome to delve into history yourselves, and consider the lasting effects of this iconic moment.