ESPN parted ways with Hank Williams Jr. on Thursday. Since 1989, the country singer kicked off coverage of "Monday Night Football" with a song that ended with the rhetorical question, "Are you ready for some football?" Now that Williams has been booted, who should take over the MNF intro? Shutdown Corner lists nine suggestions.
1. Tim McGraw -- Thus setting up a sort of dueling banjos thing with his wife's intro song on NBC's "Sunday Night Football."
2. Jon Gruden -- Do you ever feel like there's not enough Gruden on your Monday night? That guy needs to be showcased more! An intro of him humming the MNF theme music while various Grudenisms -- "I'll tell ya, Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons always comes to play on Monday nights" -- flash on the screen would solve the problem of those 90-Grudenless seconds we all suffer through at the top of the game.
3. Hank Williams III -- Selling point No. 1: Hank Williams III thinks musicians shouldn't talk about politics. (And, yes, he was referring to his dad when he said this.) There isn't a second selling point.
4. Cleatus the Robot -- Networks snatch announcers from other networks all the time, so why not animated robots who can do the electric slide? Pay Cleatus, the Fox Sports robot, some Rick Reilly money, get him over to ESPN and have him intro every game with a synergistic Disney/ABC/NFL tie-in. Opening week: Cleatus and the kids from "Modern Family" jump rope with Troy Polamalu's hair.
5. The 1985 Chicago Bears -- They haven't had a hit in 26 years, which puts them in the same exact boat as Hank Williams Jr. "We are the Bears Shufflin' Crew, bringing terribly-scheduled games directly to you."
6. Chris Berman and Jesse Palmer -- They're like an Abbott and Costello for a new generation. (Abbott was loud, obnoxious, grating and self-aggrandizing, right?)
7. Rush Limbaugh -- Hey, at least he didn't compare Donovan McNabb to Hitler.
8. A replay of the "Sunday Night Football" game -- To give cable audiences a taste of what a good broadcast of good football games actually looks like.
9. No intro -- In its statement about parting ways with Williams, ESPN said "the success of 'Monday Night Football' has always been about the games." "Riiiiiiight," said Dennis Miller, Tony Kornheiser, Christian Slater and Drew Carey.
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- Jon Gruden
- Monday Night Football
- Hank Williams III