ESPN announced on June 5 that it is bringing back country singer Hank Williams Jr. and his famous song “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night” to open ‘Monday Night Football‘, six years after the cable sports network fired him following his controversial remarks involving then-President Barack Obama.
Williams’ new version of his song with the well-known opening: “Are you ready for some football?” will debut prior to the Sept. 11 game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings.
“I think it’s a return to our past in that it’s such an iconic song associated with football,” said Stephanie Druley, ESPN’s senior vice president of events and studio production.
“It was the original,” Druley added. “It belongs to Monday Night Football. It really is about returning to what fans know. It’s a Monday night party and that’s what we’re all hoping to get back to.”
The music video, which will air during ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football’ each game week of the 2017 NFL season, was filmed in Nashville, Tenn. on June 4 and includes two additional contemporary music artists to freshen the song’s presentation. Each accompanying artist will be featured in every ‘Monday Night Football’ opening, the song lyrics being changed each game to reflect the competing football teams.
Williams first performed the song, based on his hit “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” during the 20th anniversary season of Monday Night Football for ABC in 1989.
ESPN let Williams go in 2011 following remarks he had made after a golf outing between Obama and then-Republican House Speaker John Boehner, providing the analogy, “It would be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli leader) Benjamin Netanyahu.”
In response to the criticism of his analogy, Williams had said he was “simply trying to show how stupid it seemed to me — how ludicrous that pairing was.”