Hank Williams Jr. on Monday Night Football for 21st Season
Hall of Fame Themed Opening Video to Kick Off MNF’s 40th Season on Sept. 14
When Monday Night Football celebrates its 40th season in 2009, Hank Williams Jr. will once again crank up the volume and welcome all his rowdy friends to watch the NFL’s biggest stars showcase their skills in prime time on ESPN. The legendary singer will perform the opening anthem for an unprecedented 21st season, a ritual that has earned him four Emmy awards (1991-1994) and national acclaim among legions of football fans.
Monday Night Football will celebrate the memorable moments and the legendary players who have been part of the longest running and most successful prime time sports series in television history all season, and the opening video with Williams will play off this with a MNF Hall of Fame theme.
Williams filmed the video earlier this summer at the Parthenon in Centennial Park in Nashville, Tenn. The grandiose Hall of Fame-like structure serves as the backdrop for the shoot and is draped with banners of NFL legends John Elway, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith and Johnny Unitas. Human statues and Hall of Fame busts come to life in the video. NFL team helmets and photos of indelible moments in MNF history also line interior shots of the Hall. Williams is surrounded by cheerleaders and rabid NFL fans. (For a behind-the-scenes preview of this year’s MNF opening video, click here.)
Grammy award-winning singer Gloria Estefan – now a Miami Dolphins limited partner -- even makes a cameo appearance alongside Williams in the opening video for the New York Jets-Miami Dolphins game on Oct. 12 as part of ESPN and the NFL’s Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration plans.
The MNF opening video features team-specific lyrics and visuals each week based on the 17 regular-season ESPN matchups. Williams recorded the audio tracks on May 20 at Quad Studios in Nashville. Edd Kalehoff (Edd Kalehoff Productions) is music director, with lyrics by Williams, Val Fischler and Greg Jennings. ESPN's Fischler (producer), Bob Toms (director) and KJB Kiely (art director) are overseeing production of the video. New York-based Habana Avenue produced the video shoot, with Brooklyn-based “FreshPaint” providing graphic elements and special effects for the season-long project. The weekly opens are being edited by Vidiots, Inc., owner Mike Amoia.
“It’s the 40th season of Monday Night Football and my 21st, and it’s kind of unbelievable – a lot of fun,” said Williams. “We did the video in Nashville this year, where we won an Emmy the first time we produced it there – and we hope to do it again with this one.”
The new MNF open will kickoff ESPN’s season-opening doubleheader on Monday (Sept. 14) – Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (7 p.m. ET) and San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders (10:15 p.m.). In anticipation of the doubleheader, football fans will also see Williams strolling across their computer screens on the Yahoo! and YouTube home pages as part of ESPN Marketing efforts around the game. Also, cut-down versions of the weekly MNF video will air exclusively on Mondays throughout the season on ESPN and ESPN2.
About Hank Williams Jr.
Williams first performed “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night” – based on his hit song “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” – in 1989 during the 20th anniversary season of MNF on ABC. Through the years, the MNF open has featured Williams in a variety of settings: cruising the highway in a convertible with Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, tap-dancing with famed dancer Savion Glover, performing alongside an all-star band, even flying through outer space.