Barry Sanders to Replace Hank Williams Jr. on ESPN’s Monday Night Football

  • Share
  • Read Later
Jordan Strauss/Getty Images for Bud Light

Former NFL player Barry Sanders

There’s a saying in sports that no one player is bigger than the team. The same can now apply to theme tunes for sports shows.

One of the more puzzling sports stories from last week was Hank Williams Jr. comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler during an appearance on Fox and Friends. It quickly resulted in ESPN yanking him as their intro singer of choice from the iconic Monday Night Football: his “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Monday Night” had been used for 23 seasons.

But what of the replacement? Well, Are You Ready For Some Barry Sanders? That’s right, the Hall of Fame running back announced via Twitter that he’ll be doing the intro for tonight’s game between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears. “Ok, I admit it,” he said. “I will be at MNF this week and doing the intro.”

(MORE: “ESPN and Hank Williams Jr. Part Ways: Why a Rowdy-Free Broadcast Is the Right Move”)

The style is to be spoken-word with ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz admitting that, “This is the format we’ll likely use the remainder of the season. We haven’t made any decisions beyond that.” It’s unknown whether this is a one-off for Sanders.

It’s hard to argue with the choice: not only did Sanders play for the Lions to great acclaim (indeed, it was the only professional team he played for) but the timing has worked out perfectly (though you feel the Worldwide Leader could have done without the recent controversy). Not only will Monday represent the first time the (thus far undefeated) Lions are playing in a prime-time game since 2005, but they haven’t been on MNF since 2001 (in fact, they haven’t hosted a regular-season MNF game in Detroit since October 1974). Mind you, if Matthew Stafford and his team continue to roll, this won’t be the last time they’ll be live across the nation.

And if we know anything about ESPN, expect it to be a very nicely produced segment, which might make Williams Jr. wish that he hadn’t opened his mouth to allow Sanders to come into the game via the sidelines, if you will. Because if you give Sanders the opportunity to run with something, chances are he’ll turn it into a touchdown. (via Yahoo)

LIST: Top 10 Super Bowl Moments

Glen Levy is an Executive Producer at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @glenjl. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest