ESPN Scraps Hank Williams Jr. From "MNF" Open
ESPN will not use Hank Williams Jr. for its “Monday Night Football” open this season, as its execs decided that the song “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night” will not resonate for games that will be contested in mainly empty stadiums. ESPN said it has not made a decision about whether it will bring back the song next season, when full crowds, presumably, will be allowed back. ABC first used the song to open “Monday Night Football” in '89.
ESPN instead will use the Little Richard song “Rip It Up,” with modern-day instrumentals from a Virginia-based band called Butcher Brown combined with Little Richard’s voice. The open will not show the musicians on-screen; the sound track will be put over game-specific highlights. The singer died earlier this year. ESPN worked with Little Richard’s estate and his label, Concord Records, to come up with the music for the open.
ESPN dropped the Williams song in '11 after the singer compared President Obama to Hitler and described Joe Biden as “the enemy” during a television interview. Six years later, in '17, ESPN brought Williams back to sing “All My Rowdy Friends,” which has been the Monday night open for the past three seasons.