Carrie Underwood kicked off her eighth season with NBC’s Sunday Night Football this weekend, swaggering her way through the theme song “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night,” a reworking of Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself for Loving You.”
Underwood’s flashy and splashy opening aims to suggest some semblance of normalcy in the world of sports. The country singer towers over city skylines, while images of the featured game’s teams breeze by, in this case the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys. (The Rams beat the Cowboys 20-17.)
With the Covid-19 pandemic ongoing and the U.S. continuing to reckon with its history of racial inequality, this isn’t a typical NFL season: fans are absent from the majority of stadiums, teams are participating in on-field displays of unity, and some teams, like the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, are choosing to stay in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football returns Monday with two games (Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Giants; Tennessee Titans vs. Denver Broncos) and its own new theme song. The late Little Richard’s “Rip It Up,” performed with the band Butcher Brown, replaces Hank Williams Jr.’s long-running “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight.”