ESPN’s Monday Night Football to premiere new musical anthem & show open
ESPN’s Monday Night Football will elevate the excitement and emotions leading into each game with a new music video open that combines nostalgia with intensity as “In the Air Tonight” is reimagined by eight-time Grammy Award winner Chris Stapleton, entertainment icon Snoop Dogg, and world renowned-drummer Cindy Blackman Santana. Tonight’s (Mon, Sept 18th) debut of Phil Collins’ megahit ahead of Monday Night Football adds to the television franchise’s “Two Games, One Night,” special presentation. The new open by Chris Stapleton, Snoop Dogg and Cindy Blackman Santana will lead into both ESPN’s Saints at the Panthers at 7:15 pm ET and ABC’s Browns at Steelers at 8:15 pm games and then continue ahead all Monday Night Football games, ESPN’s Week 18 Saturday Doubleheader, Super Wild Card, and its first Divisional playoff game.
“Heavy Action,” the iconic Monday Night Football theme music, also remains. Fans will hear the famous instrumental following the new open and leading into Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Lisa Salters’ call of the game, as well as other times throughout the telecast.
The new Monday Night Football anthem is comprised of Stapleton covering Collins’ lyrics, with Snoop Dogg, in his signature style adding football-centric verses, Cindy Blackman Santana, a powerhouse on the drums, rocking the song’s iconic drum break by bringing her own style and accents to this classic song. The show open will include NFL stars, game highlights and dramatic moments intercut with dramatic performances from all three artists. ESPN’s Creative Content Unit produced the open in conjunction with the musical trio and Grammy-Award winning record producer Dave Cobb.
“In the Air Tonight” has been named one of the greatest songs of all time and its relationship with football is deep, having been cited in the past and present as a song that helps players shift their mindset to prepare to compete.
“It was fascinating to me to see how one song could get you in that mode to go kick some tail,” states two-time Super Bowl champion and Steelers legend Hines Ward in an ESPN feature about the song, which was played by Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin the night before Super Bowl XLIII.
“I don’t care if you are the home team, the away team, you are hearing that song no matter what (before the game),” adds Commanders Terry McLaurin.
Further examples include soundtrack to hype songs, multiple players speaking to its impact and inspiration for Hall of Famer Ray Lewis.
The addition of Stapleton, Snoop Dogg and Blackman Santana adds to a star-studded music lineup surrounding Monday Night Football. In Week 1, Monday Night Football featured Chris Stapleton’s song “White Horse,” the first single off his soon-to-be-released album Higher. beginning ESPN and Chris Stapleton’s collaboration. As previously announced, Grammy-winning music producer Timbaland and global superstar Justin Timberlake’s music will run in Monday Night Football promotional spots, live telecasts and pre-game shows for seven weeks this season.