The sports blogosphere is having a field day gagging on Mike Francesa for a rather oddly timed rant against one of lyrics in NBC’s Sunday Night Football intro.
He’s right, of course. The lyric “been waitin’ all day for Sunday night” is dumb and smugly suggests that the rest of the day of football you were watching was merely a precursor to what awaits on NBC’s special little broadcast. That’s kind of a snotty message, albeit representative of the tone of a show that features self-satisfied little sh*ts like Cris Collinsworth, Bob Costas, Mike Florio and Peter King. But the intro as it exists now is idiotic for more reasons than just that.
At one point, NBC’s intro was a FOOTBAW-N-AMURRICA-flavored cover of Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself For Loving You”. Whether or not you thought it was a workable conceit, it was at least a coherent idea.
While the “been waitin’ all day for Sunday night” lyric was inane, it at least served the function of filling in the chorus of the song that was being covered. Here’s the intro from the 2010 season, a version that hewed closely to the original idea.
As the years progressed, NBC made tweaks that, while maintaining some of the original intent, started to move it away from a straight cover. It became more poppy and, in some ways, became a cover of a cover, which is a pretty stupid thing to be.
Flash forward to this year, the first installment with Carrie Underwood. This version is a complete fucking mess. In terms of tone or beat, it bears no resemblance to the Joan Jett song that inspired the intro. The signature guitar riffs are gone, replaced by Underwood’s endless big pop-country wailing. Yet, for whatever reason, the insipid lyrics remain.
Why? If you’re going to overhaul the intro, why keep the thrown-together lyrics that were only written in the first place to match the cadence of “I Hate Myself For Loving You”? I fear it would take an entire focus group of explanations to get the answer.
All football intro songs are and have always been overwrought, pointless affairs. It’d be breaking tradition if they weren’t. Which is why it’s a ritual that needs to be disposed. So it’s a surprise to see ESPN – of all networks – make the smart creative decision of scraping an intro song altogether and going with a montage of “Monday Night Football meets the zeitgeist” through the years.
You know what? Despite some small touches, (hey Angry Birds) it actually kind of works. Well, more than a big dumb song, at least.