Monday Night Football kicks off in earnest in Week 2 with the bizarre, semi-official launch to the season. Despite the opening week contest between the Bills and Jets garnering unparalleled attention, ESPN and ABC refrained from putting their marketing weight behind branding the launch of MNF due to the game being played on September 11.
This means that from a TV perspective Saints vs. Panthers and Browns vs. Steelers will serve as the true launch for the premiere prime time game, and with it a brand new theme song which is a wild mashup of styles.
Country music mega-star Chris Stapleton performs Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight,” with Snoop Dogg offering “football-centric rap verses,” according to USA Today. We get elements of Stapleton’s role in the video from Schefty above, but haven’t yet heard how Snoop will blend the styles.
Stapleton was a mammoth hit at the Super Bowl
The 45-year-old Kentucky native spent the majority of his career as the best songwriter you’d probably never heard of. Co-writing six No. 1 country songs for other artists, it wasn’t until 2015 that Stapleton struck out as an individual performer.
Since that time he’s been one of the most critically acclaimed country musicians in America, which catapulted him into the spotlight when he performed the national anthem at Super Bowl LVII in February 2023. His stirring, soulful rendition was widely beloved, making him a natural fit to continue working with the NFL.
Snoop is a safe bet for the NFL
At this point in his career/life Snoop knows exactly what he’s here for. The hip hop legend still carries enough weight to be taken seriously by younger fans, while being a household name and dose of nostalgia for older fans.
Snoop is no stranger to marketing himself, and he’ll never turn down a job. He’s also a “safe” rapper the NFL knows won’t stir up controversy outside of his unabashed love of weed, which isn’t really a problem.
In short: If you’re looking for a rapper to help with the Monday Night Football theme that you know won’t do something to hurt your brand then in 2023 you get Snoop.
Despite running for 54 seasons, this will only be the fifth theme song for Monday Night Football
There’s no guarantee the Stapleton/Snoop version of “In the Air Tonight” will remain long-term. The broadcast has a history of rotating songs in and out, but this is the first new song since 2020. Here’s the history of the MNF theme song.
1970-75: “Score” by Bob’s Band
1976-1988: “Heavy Action” by Johnny Pearson
1989-2011: “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night” by Hank Williams Jr.
2011-2016: Return of “Heavy Action” by Johnny Pearson
2017-2019: Return of “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night” by Hank Williams Jr.
2020-21: “Rip It up” by Little Richard feat. Butcher Brown
2022: Second return of “Heavy Action” by Johnny Pearson
Now we can add Stapleton and Snoop to the list. This is definitely history in the making, because a new theme really doesn’t come around very often.