ESPN debuted a new “Monday Night Football” anthem for the NFL’s Week 2 doubleheader Monday night.
Country music singer Chris Stapleton teamed up with rapper Snoop Dogg and drummer Cindy Blackman Santana for a cover of Phil Collins’ classic “In the Air Tonight,” a rendition that saw a lot of praise on social media.
The new theme song debuted just before the Carolina Panthers took on the New Orleans Saints, in which the Saints scraped by with a 20 to 17 win. The song played again before the second game of the night between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns, which aired on ABC.
The anthem will be heard ahead of all “Monday Night Football” games throughout the season, ESPN’s Week 18 Saturday doubleheader, Super Wild Card and the network’s first Divisional playoff game, ESPN said in a news release.
The new theme song will see plenty of airtime this season on ABC too. The network announced that it will simulcast 10 “Monday Night Football” games this fall alongside its usual ESPN airings.
The Oct. 2 matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants will be the next Monday night game on ABC. The decision helps to fill the gaping holes in ABC’s fall lineup as Hollywood writers and actors continue their labor strikes.
ESPN said the new “Monday Night Football” anthem is “comprised of Chris 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 and brings 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,” the release continued.
The classic instrumental theme “Heavy Action” that has been featured on “Monday Night Football” since 1975 will still be played following the new theme song.
The Hank Williams Jr. song “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night” was the theme song from 1989 until 2011, when it was dropped following controversial comments Williams made about then President Obama. The song later returned as the “Monday Night Football” theme from 2017 to 2019.