When Sunday Night Football returns to NBC next month, country superstar Carrie Underwood will be joined by 11 NFL players for "Waiting All Day for Sunday Night," the opening theme to the highly rated primetime program. (See the complete list of participating players below.)
Underwood, who made her SNF debut last season, returns September 7th as the 2014 NFL season gets underway with the Denver Broncos hosting the Indianapolis Colts. Coverage begins with Football Night in America at 7:00 p.m. ET, and the opening theme continues each week of the season to kick off Sunday Night Football. A special opening theme, also featuring the singer, will be unveiled prior to NBC's broadcast of Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015.
At a press conference last month, game analyst Cris Collinsworth confessed he was a fan of the tune — a reworking of Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself for Loving You" that has previously been performed by Faith Hill and Pink. The tune played as he, partner Al Michaels, sideline reporter Michele Tafoya and SNF coordinating producer Fred Gaudelli took the stage at the press conference.
"I don’t know, Al, if it strikes you the same way, but every time I come in [to this event] and I hear Carrie sing the song, I get that same burst of energy that I get in the booth right before we come on the air, " Collinsworth said before breaking out in song. "Clearly, one of my favorite parts is when they say our name, which is great for me. But you come out and I find myself just singing along to the song and doing the whole thing. And then we come out of it and you almost have to go, 'Oh, yeah, what am I supposed to say again?' I just kind of get myself so completely into it."
In addition to New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and his big brother, Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning, the 11 NFL players who participated in the opening theme tune are:
San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who said of the experience, "It's great to be a part of it, it really is. My children are all old enough now, and we all sit and watch it every week."
Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall noted, "I've been waiting nine years to do this. It took you guys nine years, to give me a call, to finally do the open."
Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy had high praise for his own singing ability, saying, "They might want me to replace Carrie Underwood … out of all the players, I'm definitely the best singer." While putting on his jersey for the video shoot, McCoy added, "I don’t wanna mess up my makeup."
Green Bay Packers linebacker and SNF open veteran Clay Matthews revealed, "This year they've got me stage diving and crowd surfing. It's always something to look forward to."
Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly had a special way to get prepared for his first SNF open shoot, saying, "I watched the Sunday Night Football intros from the previous couple of years, and I was like… I like that."
New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham joked that he may have a future in Hollywood, saying, "I need my filming career to start today. Stunt guy, only. I don't want to talk, you know?"
And San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick revealed, "I wasn’t singing, I was just going along with the words."