Bruce Springsteen “made good on his promise of a ‘12-minute party’ Sunday night,” said Robert Mancini in Rolling Stone. His Super Bowl halftime performance created a "uniquely American moment" that helped millions of viewers forget, however briefly, about their “debt, fear, and heartbreak.”

But was it worth it? said Greg Kot in the Chicago Tribune. The politically left-leaning Springsteen “once wouldn’t have been caught dead performing an event sponsored by a multinational tire manufacturer while being squeezed between television ads.” It was disheartening to see "an accomplished artist reduced to pandering” —Springsteen has sold out.

“To Bruce Springsteen’s credit,” said Jon Caramanica in The New York Times, “he made it clear from the start that his performance with the E Street Band” at Super Bowl XLIII was “business, not personal.” The Boss has a new album out, Working on a Dream, and he wanted to promote it. But as for the halftime performance itself, Springsteen “rose to the occasion, but never above it.”