The Loop

How Hank Williams Jr.’s idiotic ‘MNF’ song stacks up to the worst themes in sports

June 07, 2017
40TH Anniversary of Monday Night Football Taping - Interiors

Rick Diamond

Good news, America: Bearded/jeans-bedazzled patriot Hank Williams Jr. is reprising his Monday Night Football theme song next season, reclaiming a role he lost in 2011 when he kinda sorta compared President Obama to Hitler and said the president/vice president were “the enemy”. (Mel Gibson is back too, so, sure, whatever.)

Hank’s breathless return provides an excellent reason to remind ourselves of one important American fact: His MNF song is so terrible, you guys. It’s a godawful song, a stupid song, a heavy-sigh cliché and probably the worst sports theme of all time, just eking out these other abominations, which collectively finish a very close second.

All the Faith Hill/Carrie Underwood “Sunday Night Football” themes:

They ran from 2007-2016, which means we enjoyed nine full years of MNF taking a late-‘80s Joan Jett aggressively glam stomp-rocker and rewriting it to star the Miami Dolphins, which, if the world is at all fair, means nine years of Joan Jett cashing monster royalty checks using the money to tour on her own music, which, it turns out, is pretty great!

Carrie Underwood’s Other SNF Song:

It’s called “Oh, Sunday Night,” and it’s oh surprise a rework of “Somethin’ Bad,” a song she recorded with actual country singer Miranda Lambert. Underwood is said to have worked with the song’s original writers on the new lyrics, meaning that four people are responsible for, “Stand up and cheer, stomp your feet, start clappin’ / NBC Sunday night about to happen.” If you stand up and cheer in your living room on Sunday night, you probably go to a lot of Hank Williams Jr. concerts.

Blake Shelton x NASCAR on NBC

Using what appears to be the finest green-screen technology 1997 has to offer, pop-country reality TV man Blake Shelton seems to be singing something about sunshine RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of a NASCAR pit stop. He also appears to be singing lines like, “Ridin’ in on a stampede of lightning,” but that can’t possibly be right.

ESPN Baseball

While not Bach, compared to Fox's whiff of an MLB anthem, which is better suited to a montage of people running into fighter jets in 1983, this one is light years more listenable (despite the positive karma points Fox's gets because I now associate it with the Cubs’ World Series run last year).

The Masters on CBS

We know. WE KNOW. It’s thoughtful and classy and gentle as a warm spring fairway breeze. We’re just saying, it occasionally makes us think we should go help Frodo carry a ring to the top of flaming mountain in the heart of a poignant metaphor for hell/Arizona in July. Also it was apparently written by Kenny Loggins’s cousin, which is something we definitely didn’t realize until today, and need to spend some time absorbing.


Because it is important to “fill the world with positive karma” or whatever, here are two very good TV themes that have stood the test of time and possibly legitimate turn up on our workout mixes.

Roundball Rock

The finest TV sports theme of all time was written by John Tesh, has endured more than 20 years and grinds Hank Williams Jr. into a fluffy little pile of country dust. Wonder if Tesh and Loggins’s cousin ever hung out. I’m saying yes. On a boat, probably.


The original, merry ‘80s-style, Jim Johnston-composed theme to Wrestlemania is a damn national treasure, a gift of inspiring golden-kissed cheese that uses the rock synthesizer to nearly as good an effect as “Born in the U.S.A.”