Before ESPN parted ways with him in 2011, Hank Williams Jr.’s song “All My Rowdy Friends” had been a staple on the Monday Night Football broadcast since 1989. Following a six year hiatus due to some controversial comments about then-President Barack Obama, ESPN announced on Monday that Williams will debut a new version of the song before the first Monday night game of the upcoming NFL season, which will take place on September 11th between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings.
“I never said ‘Are you ready for some football’ on stage one time the last five or six years, but I will now,” Williams told The Tennessean on Sunday when he was filming the music video in Nashville. “I’m feeling at home and it’s a real good thing…It’s kind of like the Nashville Predators playing for the Stanley Cup, it’s like ‘Wow.'”
ESPN pulled Williams from the Monday Night Football opening when he compared House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner playing golf with Obama to “Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu” in 2011. Williams later issued a statement saying his “analogy was extreme – but it was to make a point. I was simply trying to explain how stupid it seemed to me.”
As for why ESPN has decided to bring the song back now, senior vice president of events and studio production Stephanie Druley said the following: “It was the original. 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.”
Druley expects there to be some controversy, according to USA Today’s For The Win, but said she’s not concerned because she believes it was the right time to bring Williams back.