Following the big Hank Williams Jr. controversy from last week, ESPN dropped the popular singer and his long-standing theme song from Monday Night Football, leaving the nation wondering how they would get ready for some football each week moving forward.
Well for last night’s Lions-Bears game, former Lion great Barry Sanders handled the intro duties for MNF, narrating over the sights and sounds of Detroit. It’s a format that ESPN is likely to employ for the remainder of the season, and let’s just say the piece more than sufficed on such short notice. It wasn’t earth-shattering or anything, but I’m not sure anyone ever tuned in to hear Hank Williams Jr., and this puts the focus back where it belongs – on the game, and the host cities for each contest.
Here’s what Sanders’ had to say in the intro:
“Detroit’s soul isn’t in the streets of the city. It’s in the hearts of the people. I know. I played here for 10 years.
“Right now for the Lions, life is good. But like this town, they won’t rest. They’ll work, they’ll sweat, they’ll fight.
“Detroit doesn’t pat itself on the back, it gets the job done. Especially tonight, on ‘Monday Night Football.’ “
WATCH SANDERS’ MNF INTRO AFTER THE JUMP
In a move that may leave it’s viewers woefully unprepared for some football, ESPN and Hank Williams, Jr. have ended their relationship on the heels of the Monday Night Football theme singer’s controversial comments earlier this week. In case you missed it, Williams compared President Obama to Hitler on Fox News Monday Morning (video). From ESPN.com:
In an interview Monday on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” Williams, unprompted, said of Obama’s outing on the links with House Speaker John Boehner: “It’d be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu.”
Asked to clarify, Williams said, “They’re the enemy,” adding that by “they” he meant Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
This, not surprisingly, didn’t sit well with a lot of people. So after pulling his iconic “Are You Ready For Some Football?” theme song from that night’s broadcast, the network has officially cut ties with Bocephus, his song and his rowdy friends, with both parties taking credit for the decision.
ESPN relased this statement on Thursday:
“We have decided to part ways with Hank Williams, Jr. We appreciate his contributions over the past years. The success of Monday Night Football has always been about the games and that will continue.”
But Williams released his own statement on his website, where he says he’s packing up his song and going home, citing First Amendment infringement:
“After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision. By pulling my opening Oct 3rd, You (ESPN) stepped on the Toes of The First Amendment Freedom of Speech, so therefore Me, My Song, and All My Rowdy Friends are OUT OF HERE. It’s been a great run.” — Hank Williams Jr
Regardless of whose decision it was, this leaves MNF without a theme song, having used Williams’ “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” as the basic for their intros since 1989, with the lyrics changing each week for each specific matchup. And once again, Stephen Colbert is here to put things into perspective:
VIDEO, INCLUDING WILLIAMS’ ORIGINAL COMMENTS AFTER THE JUMP