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CBS apologizes for singers' risque end to halftime show

CBS apologized for an unexpectedly R-rated end to its halftime show Sunday, when singer Justin Timberlake tore off part of Janet Jackson's top, exposing her breast.

"CBS deeply regrets the incident," spokeswoman LeslieAnne Wade said after the network received several calls about the show.

The singers were performing a duet and as the song ended, Timberlake reached across Jackson's leather gladiator outfit and pulled off the covering to her right breast. The network quickly cut away from the shot, and did not mention the incident on the air.

The show was produced by MTV, CBS's corporate cousin in Viacom.

"It's unlikely that MTV will produce another Super Bowl halftime," NFL executive vice president Joe Browne said.

MTV issued a contrite statement in which it also apologized, saying the incident was "unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional and was inconsistent with assurances we had about the content of the performance."

NOT SO DEFENSIVE: Talk about a rush to judgment. Just when many were ready to anoint the Panthers' vaunted pass rush as the best in the game and one of the best in long time, they likely will be reminded of a certain performance in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

An unproductive performance at that.

Given the way they had tormented quarterbacks, Carolina's trash-talking, quarterback smashing front four were a relative nonfactor.

Chalk up some love for the Patriots offensive line, playing with a rookie center, Dan Koppen, and a relatively inexperienced left guard, Russ Hochstein.

The group kept Mike Rucker, Kris Jenkins, Brentson Buckner and Julius Peppers off quarterback Tom Brady just enough for Brady to complete 32-of-48 for 354 yards and three touchdowns.

More important, they kept Brady from being sacked.

"Our offensive line didn't give up a sack to that defensive line, which is incredible," Brady said. "(It's) the most heat I think I've had all year, but we fended them off. We didn't give up a sack in the playoffs; what more can you say for those guys?"

NOW THAT'S A FULLBACK: Pro Bowl defensive tackle Richard Seymour is known for his versatility and he showed it in the second quarter. Facing third and 1 at their 41, the Patriots used the 6-foot-6, 310-pounder at fullback to block for running back Antowain Smith. Smith was slammed for no gain, forcing a punt.

On the next possession, Smith ran behind Seymour on fourth and 1 at the Panthers 38 and gained a yard, resulting in a first down.

EX-BUCS IN PRIME TIME: Several former Bucs played. Hochstein started in place of center/guard Damien Woody and made headlines last week after a comical exchange with former teammate Warren Sapp. Veteran linebacker Don Davis, who played for the Bucs from 1998-2000, is with the Panthers.

Tight end Marco Battaglia, linebacker Vinny Ciurciu and offensive lineman Tutan Reyes, all of whom had brief stints with the Bucs, played for the Panthers.

DID YOU KNOW?: Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest has at least one sack in all three of his Super Bowl appearances. Only eight of 38 MVPs or co-MVPs have been defensive players. Punt returner Desmond Howard is the only special-teams player to win the honor. Deion Branch's score for the Patriots with 3:10 left in the second quarter ended the longest stretch before a score in the Super Bowl. The NFC has won 21 games to 17 by the AFC. Only 14 franchises have won a Super Bowl. The league honored the seven astronauts who died a year ago Sunday when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas. The pregame homage included the seven members of the next planned mission.

_ ROGER MILLS, TIMES WIRES

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