"It doesn’t matter if it’s in a great big football stadium or a little club somewhere. As soon as I get close to a stage, I feel very at home and very safe and secure. It feels completely normal," the 64-year-old guitar legend said in an interview with Rolling Stone.
Townshend told the magazine that he wanted to do the halftime show to let people know that he and bandmate Roger Daltrey are still around and still playing together. He said, laughing, that he had figured the show would be "easy to do."
"You feel part of something that’s bigger than you and you feel part of a huge team," Townshend said. "It’s a monster gig."
The Who played a medley of hits, including "Pinball Wizard," "Who Are You," "See Me, Feel Me," "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again." Townshend said he had initially planned to perform a few well-known songs in their entirety.
"I thought we’d just do the CSI songs ["Won't Get Fooled Again," "Baba O'Riley," "Who Are You"]," Townshend said. But Daltrey wanted something with more "narrative scope," so the singer got together with Simon Townshend, Pete's brother who sometimes tours with the band, and put together what became the final performance.
"He and Simon and one of the lieutenants in the crew put together a track and, surprisingly, I thought it worked really well," Townshend said.
Something that the rock star found far less familiar than The Who's old hits was the game of American football.
"English people still find the rules almost incomprehensible, like Americans finding cricket incomprehensible," he said. Townshend said he found the game difficult to understand, but as the Saints beat the Colts the backstage area was exciting as well as "dignified and serious."
Townshend learned a lot about the game, but there was one thing he found both surprising and disappointing: he didn't see a single cheerleader.