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Who plays the cover of ‘In the Air Tonight’ on Monday Night Football? MNF’s new anthem

Monday Night Football anthems are more than just popular songs, they are part of the national consciousness. We look at the reboot of this classic banger.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 10: Derek Carr #4 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates after New Orleans 16-15 win over the Tennessee Titans at Caesars Superdome on September 10, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana.   Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Jonathan Bachman / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

When a song is selected to become the opening track for Monday Night Football, no matter who the broadcaster is, the national psyche is awakened and the song becomes more than just a simple jingle. It becomes an anthem.

It happened in the 70s with Heavy Action, a Johnny Pearson tune that has a Pavlovian-level synonymity with football for nearly all 332 million Americans.

Even those NFL fans who hate country music as a genre have a deep-seated adoration for Hank Williams Jr’s All My Rowdy Friends Are Here On Monday Night, a reworking of his 1984 hit by a similar name. Debuting in 1989, this was the soundtrack to MNF for the better part of three decades.

There have been other tunes used over the past few years, including a remix of Heavy Action, but now ESPN are bringing back a classic banger that is sure to make waves.

Few songs are as catchy and instantly recognizable as Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight, particularly that massive drum hit that kicks off the chorus.

An instant classic when it debuted on Collins’ 1981 album No Jacket Required, it has featured in some of TV’s most iconic moments, in specific providing the moment that modern television came of age when Miami Vice put the track up front in their pilot episode and instantly changed the way shows were made forever.

Now ESPN reboots the magic of the 1980s with the modern verve of the 2020s, as country star Chris Stapleton, the inimitable Snoop Dogg, and jazz drummer Cindy Blackman Santana dial Collins’ tune up for Monday Night Football.

Stapleton will provide the lyrics as Snoop provides his own brand of football-centric rap, while the center piece of the anthem, that unmistakable drum crash, will be in the hands of Blackman Santana.

Reportedly, Phil Collins only needed to be assured that the track would not replace “the four notes” of the classic MNF theme in order to give his blessing. And hey, if he is ok with it, then so am I.


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