NFL fans will not hear a very familiar song on Monday Night Football this season. According to the Sports Business Journal, ESPN will remove the Hank Williams Jr. song "All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night" from the intro of Monday Night Football due to a majority of games being played in front of empty stadiums. ESPN instead will use the song "Rip It Up" by Little Richard with instrumentals from the band Butcher Brown.
Sports Business Journal reports the opening of Monday Night Football will not show the musicians on-screen, and the soundtrack will be played over game-specific highlights. Little Richard died earlier this year, and ESPN worked with his estate and label to get the music for the intro. ESPN has not announced if it will use "All My Rowdy Friends" next season, when fans are supposedly allowed to attend games again.
This is the second time in Monday Night Football history that ESPN dropped Williams' song from the show. The first time was 2011 when Williams compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler, and Joe Biden, who's running for President this year, as "the enemy."
"I have always been very passionate about politics and sports and this time it got the best or worst of me," Williams said in a statement at the time. "The thought of the leaders of both parties jukin' [sic] and high fiven' [sic] on a golf course, while so many families are struggling to get by, simply made me boil over and make a dumb statement, and I am very sorry if it offended anyone. I would like to thank all my supporters. This was not written by some publicist." ESPN brought back "All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night" in 2017 and it has been part of the opening for three seasons.
Along with a new song, Monday Night Football will feature a new broadcast team - Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick. Levy will provide the play-by-play while Griese and Riddick will serve as analysts. Reporter Lisa Salters and officiating analyst John Parry both return, and the team will debut on Monday, Sept. 14 when the Tennessee Titans take on the Denver Broncos.
"Steve, Brian and Louis are trusted voices of the NFL whose knowledge and love of football connects with fans," Connor Schell, ESPN Executive Vice President, Content said in a press release. "We are thrilled that they will join Lisa Salters to make up our new Monday Night Football team and share their passion and insight with football fans in what promises to be a great broadcast each week."