UPDATED with more details: Are you ready for some more football, Hank? It’s been six years since Hank Williams Jr. warned us that all his rowdy friend were comin’ over to watch Monday Night Football, as they had since 1989, but what goes around comes around. ESPN is subbing a new version of the country singer’s famous hit song-turned-theme song back into its MNF lineup in the fall. He’ll be joined by Florida Georgia Line and Jason Derulo for the tune.
“All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night” — which coolly co-opted the MNF tagline “Are You Ready for Some Football?” — opened the Monday night NFL telecasts for 22 years. But the Worldwide Leader unplugged it in 2011 following Williams’ controversial remarks comparing then-President Barack Obama golfing with then-House Speaker John Boehner to Adolf Hitler meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That might be considered tame in today’s American political landscape, but it cost Williams the gig back then.
Accompanied by a rousing video — early versions of which featured an intro by Wolfman Jack — the song was an updated take on Williams’ “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” which cracked the country singles top 10 in 1984.
“I think it’s a return to our past in that it’s such an iconic song associated with football,” ESPN SVP Events and Studio Production Stephanie Druley told The Tennessean. “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.”
Said Williams: “I started in 1989 when ABC was celebrating the 20th season of Monday Night Football. It soon became a staple that fans grew to expect and wanted to see and hear. I am thrilled to be back and bring the fans such a new and dynamic rendition of this anthem. Are You Ready For Some Football? ‘Cause I sure am!”
The MNF kickoff video will feature team-specific lyrics and visuals each week based on the 17 regular-season ESPN matchups. Williams, FGL and Derulo recorded audio tracks in May, and they filmed the opening video together June 4 at the Marathon Music Works in Nashville.
MNF moved from ABC to Disney cable sib ESPN in 2006. Watch a discussion on ESPN’s NFL Live about the singer and song’s return to MNF here: