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ESPN won’t use Hank Williams Jr.’s “Monday Night Football” open this season

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Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Rock the South Festival

For the past three seasons, Hank Williams Jr. has helmed ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” open with a football-themed twist on one of his biggest hits, “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night.”

But according to Sports Business Daily, ESPN has decided to move away from the song. That decision is due to the fact that “all my rowdy friends” will not, in fact, be getting together to watch football this season. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the games will be taking place primarily in empty stadiums.

Instead, the new “Monday Night Football” open will be a variation of Little Richard’s “Rip it Up,” with additional instrumentals from a band called Butcher Brown.

It’s unclear whether ESPN will return to Hank Jr.’s theme song after the pandemic ends.

The country star has a long but somewhat fraught history with “Monday Night Football.” He first adapted his lyrics for the pregame song in 1989, but in 2011, ESPN dropped its association with him after Hank Jr. made a series of controversial comments, including comparing President Barack Obama to Hitler.

By Carena Liptak
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