Footage from the performance is still being reviewed, but early indications are that the singer's nipple became snagged by a metal wire in her top's chest support and then was violently torn from her body during a dance gyration. Whatever the cause, the incident shocked and horrified tens of millions watching on TV and resulted in shrieks and screams from those in the crowd, many who started vomiting or crying.
The singer laid on her back on the stage, her background music still going, and clutched her right breast, screaming: "Ahhhhh! AHHHHHH! My nipple! My nipple is off! Help! My nipple! MY NIPPPLLLLLEEEEE!"
Several feet away her nipple sat, looking like the chopped off top of an eggplant.
The incident is being called the worst wardrobe malfunction since Janet Jackson exposed a bare breast while performing at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2004.
"I know Beyonce is in a lot of pain right now, and we wish her a full recovery and we hope her nipple can be re-attached," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. "But at least her nipple was not exposed in a sexual way. We wouldn't want to subject young people to seeing something like that. And the FCC wouldn't care for it much either."
Beyonce's performance had excited the crowd and the nationwide television audience before the nip-rip.
A statement released by her publicist said the singer "appreciates the well wishes and hopes to be back out performing soon. I am sorry everyone had to see that."
In light of the incidents with Jackson and now Beyonce, Goodell said the "NFL may have to consider booking only nipple-less performers from now on."