Chris Stapleton Joins Snoop Dogg And Cindy Blackman Santana To Revamp NFL’s Monday Night Football With ‘In The Air Tonight’

The new Monday Night Football anthem has arrived.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

September 20, 2023


4:28 pm

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Chris Stapleton; Photo Courtesy ESPN

Chris Stapleton has been tapped to elevate the excitement of ESPN’s Monday Night Football with a reimagined delivery of Phil Collins’ megahit “In the Air Tonight” in a brand-new music video open.

The energizing clip opens with a late-night view of Nashville’s downtown area while the infectious rasp of Stapleton’s vocals delivers the heart-pounding tune. As the smoky scene intensifies, the eight-time Grammy Award winner is joined by iconic rapper Snoop Dogg and world renowned-drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, making for an epic, star-studded lineup. 

Together, these critically acclaimed singers/songwriters/musicians set the tone for football fans everywhere who throw on their favored team’s jersey and let their excitement begin to escape in hopes of seeing the night end with their desired win. 

YouTube video

The new music video open debuted on Monday (Sept. 18) prior to the Monday Night Football broadcast of a “Two Games, One Night” special presentation featuring games between the Saints and the Panthers on ESPN and the Browns and the Steelers on ABC. For the remainder of the season, Chris Stapleton, Snoop Dogg and Cindy Blackman Santana will continue to lead into all Monday Night Football games, ESPN’s Week 18 Saturday Doubleheader, Super Wild Card, and its first Divisional playoff game.

Dubbed “one of greatest songs of all-time” by Rolling Stone, “In the Air Tonight” has commonly been associated with its ability to evoke a positive mindset, especially in those preparing to compete. In fact, Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin played the tune for his players the night before Super Bowl XLIII as a way to lift their energy and prepare them mentally for such a major event. 

“It was fascinating to me to see how one song could get you in that mode to go kick some tail,” said two-time Super Bowl champion and Steelers legend Hines Ward during an interview with ESPN.

Washington Commanders’ Terry McLaurin also added, “I don’t care if you are the home team, the away team, you are hearing that song no matter what (before the game).”

ESPN’s Creative Content Unit is responsible for producing the opening alongside Stapleton, Snoop Dogg and Santana, and Grammy-award-winning record producer Dave Cobb. The opening will also feature game highlights, appearances by NFL stars and performances from all three artists. 

Football fans can also be assured that the iconic Monday Night Football theme song, “Heavy Action,” will also remain a part of the broadcast. The well-known instrumental can now be heard right after the new opening as well as various times throughout the telecast including Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Lisa Salters’ call of the game.

Stapleton’s music has become intertwined with ESPN’s highly anticipated football season in more ways than one as his current single, “White Horse” was also played during Week 1 of Monday Night Football

Written by Dan Wilson and Stapleton, who had a hand in producing alongside Dave Cobb and Morgane Stapleton, “White Horse” marks the first single from the Kentucky native’s upcoming album “Higher.”

The new project will drop November 10 via Mercury Nashville and feature 14 tracks all recorded at Nashville’s RCA Studio A.

Alongside Stapleton who delivers on vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and slide electric guitar, the album showcases Dave Cobb on acoustic guitar and eclectic guitar, J.T. Cure on bass, Paul Franklin on pedal steel, Derek Mixon on drums, his wife, Morgane on background vocals, synthesizer and tambourine, and Lee Pardini on organ and piano. 

Higher will follow 2020’s acclaimed Starting Over, which went on to win three awards at the 67th Annual GRAMMYs including Best Country Album, Best Country Solo Performance for “You Should Probably Leave” and Best Country Song for “Cold.” Additionally, the project was honored with Album of the Year at both the CMA and ACM Awards. 

Chris Stapleton is currently showcasing his versatile musical stylings on the road for his extensive “All-American Road Show” tour. The headlining trek kicked off on April 26 at UTEP Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas, and includes stops in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and more. 

Allen Stone, Charley Crockett, Marcus King, Margo Price, Marty Stuart, Nikki Lane, The War and Treaty, and more have been tapped to serve as support on select dates.

Additionally, it was recently announced that he will once again join country music icon, George Strait on the road in 2024 with nine newly added dates of their stadium run. Over the summer, the pair of hitmakers made history by setting attendance records at seven stadium shows. This next trek will include special guests and the GRAMMY Award-winning band, Little Big Town.

“I love George’s shows. There’s nothing to compare it to,” Stapleton previously shared of Strait. “I love doing these shows with George probably more than anything. It’s really fun. It feels like a good thing all the way around. And, when the fans are winning, we’re winning.”

“When we talked about doing these six shows next year with Chris, it was a no-brainer,” Strait added. “For me, I was all in. I love working with Chris, it’s a whole lot of fun.”

George Strait, Chris Stapleton; Admat Provided

Chris Stapleton is next scheduled to perform on October 5 in Charlottesville, VA at the John Paul Jones Arena. 

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.