Hank Jr

via press release

Hank Williams Jr. on Monday Night Football for 21st Season
Hall of Fame Themed Opening Video to Kick Off MNF’s 40th Season on Sept. 14

When Monday Night Football celebrates its 40th season in 2009, Hank Williams Jr. will once again crank up the volume and welcome all his rowdy friends to watch the NFL’s biggest stars showcase their skills in prime time on ESPN.  The legendary singer will perform the opening anthem for an unprecedented 21st season, a ritual that has earned him four Emmy awards (1991-1994) and national acclaim among legions of football fans.

Monday Night Football will celebrate the memorable moments and the legendary players who have been part of the longest running and most successful prime time sports series in television history all season, and the opening video with Williams will play off this with a MNF Hall of Fame theme.

Williams filmed the video earlier this summer at the Parthenon in Centennial Park in Nashville, Tenn. The grandiose Hall of Fame-like structure serves as the backdrop for the shoot and is draped with banners of NFL legends John Elway, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith and Johnny Unitas. Human statues and Hall of Fame busts come to life in the video. NFL team helmets and photos of indelible moments in MNF history also line interior shots of the Hall.  Williams is surrounded by cheerleaders and rabid NFL fans.  (For a behind-the-scenes preview of this year’s MNF opening video, click here.)

Grammy award-winning singer Gloria Estefan – now a Miami Dolphins limited partner — even makes a cameo appearance alongside Williams in the opening video for the New York Jets-Miami Dolphins game on Oct. 12 as part of ESPN and the NFL’s Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration plans.

The MNF opening video features team-specific lyrics and visuals each week based on the 17 regular-season ESPN matchups. Williams recorded the audio tracks on May 20 at Quad Studios in Nashville. Edd Kalehoff (Edd Kalehoff Productions) is music director, with lyrics by Williams, Val Fischler and Greg Jennings. ESPN’s Fischler (producer), Bob Toms (director) and KJB Kiely (art director) are overseeing production of the video. New York-based Habana Avenue produced the video shoot, with Brooklyn-based “FreshPaint” providing graphic elements and special effects for the season-long project. The weekly opens are being edited by Vidiots, Inc., owner Mike Amoia.

“It’s the 40th season of Monday Night Football and my 21st, and it’s kind of unbelievable – a lot of fun,” said Williams. “We did the video in Nashville this year, where we won an Emmy the first time we produced it there – and we hope to do it again with this one.”

The new MNF open will kickoff ESPN’s season-opening doubleheader on Monday (Sept. 14) – Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (7 p.m. ET) and San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders (10:15 p.m.).  In anticipation of the doubleheader, football fans will also see Williams strolling across their computer screens on the Yahoo! and YouTube home pages as part of ESPN Marketing efforts around the game.  Also, cut-down versions of the weekly MNF video will air exclusively on Mondays throughout the season on ESPN and ESPN2.

About Hank Williams Jr.
Williams first performed “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night” – based on his hit song “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” – in 1989 during the 20th anniversary season of MNF on ABC.  Through the years, the MNF open has featured Williams in a variety of settings: cruising the highway in a convertible with Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, tap-dancing with famed dancer Savion Glover, performing alongside an all-star band, even flying through outer space.

Williams released a new album, “127 Rose Avenue,” which debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Country Album Chart on June 24. With more than 70 albums to his credit, he has a fascinating career to reflect upon for a legend still in his prime. His discography chronicles a bold profile of growth, from adored offspring of a legendary father to titan of the modern country rock movement in his own right. For two decades, America has come to its collective feet each fall on Monday night, when this larger-than-life superman of a musician looks into the camera and unleashes the anthem for Monday Night Football — “Are You Ready for Some Football?” Those simple words have won Williams an entirely new generation of fans and have given him the distinction of being the first country performer to win an Emmy.

ESPN’s Monday Night Football
ESPN’s Monday Night Football is the most-watched series in cable television history and the only NFL series nominated for a Sports Emmy in the Outstanding Live Sports Series category the past three years (2006-08).  In three seasons on ESPN, Monday Night Football has registered seven of the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history, led by the Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys telecast (9/15/08), which attracted cable’s largest household audience ever (an average of 12,953,000 million homes and 18,608,000 P2+).  For the 2008 season, MNF averaged an 8.9 rating and 8,679,000 homes (11,962,000 P2+); the accompanying MNF “game around the game” content on ESPN.com sparked an increase of Monday traffic to the site of 51% over the previous season with an average 68.1 million page views per week.

* For images of Hank Williams, Jr. from this year’s open click here; for images of Williams through the years on MNF, click here.

2009 MNF Open Lyrics
For 40 years runnin’ it’s football’s home
We’ve seen the greats carve their names in stone
From Earl to Walter, Barry and Bo
Even Johnny U played on this show!!
The NFL’s best shine under these lights
Cause legends are made on Monday Night
Are you ready for some football!!!
A Monday Night Party
This is Hank and I’m ready to get this big bash started
Get the teams on the field, kick it off, that’s right!
‘Cause All my rowdy friends play here on Monday Night!

We’ve seen great games all the big names
They’re building blocks in this hall of fame.
Broadway, Elway, Montana and Rice
We’ve seen an LT not once, but twice (Taylor and Tomlinson)
Fathers, Sons and Brothers….A Family Tradition
It’s Monday Night Football….The 40th Edition!!
C’mon and get ready
I mean really ready
Are you ready for some football!!!
A Monday Night Party
Where primetime pigskin officially started
Get those helmets crashing, the crowd is psyched!
All my rowdy friends are here on Monday Night!!!

Note: Lines 3, 4 and 6 will include team-specific lyrics each week throughout the season

Week 1 Doubleheader – Buffalo Bills at New England
For 40 years runnin’ it’s football’s home
We’ve seen the greats carve their names in stone
The new look Bills are out to flip the page
But Brady is back taking center stage

The NFL’s best shine under these lights
Two AFL Founders kick it off tonight!

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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