Opening weekend nerves will be everywhere in the NFL on Sunday, from front offices to locker rooms and … to a luxurious house in Nashville, Tenn., where a singing superstar will figure out how to make a healthy version of chips and dip.
Carrie Underwood is days away from becoming an official part of the pro football experience, replacing Faith Hill as the voice of "Waiting All Day for Sunday", NBC's "Sunday Night Football" anthem. While butterflies grip the stomach of players across the league, Underwood, MVP of Season 4 of "American Idol" and a country music recording sensation, says she'll be going through a similar experience.
"I am already nervous," Underwood told Yahoo Sports in a telephone conversation this week. "I know the players are going to have nerves going into the first game of the season, but I will be feeling the same while I wait for the song to come on."
A chunk of Underwood's summer was spent in a studio recording a version of the song that will be unveiled for the first time ahead of the prime-time clash between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
"For me, it is very exciting to replace an artist like Faith Hill, who I have so much respect for," Underwood said. "I wanted to change it up and make it really high energy. I see it as like ringing the dinner bell, telling people it is time to watch football and preparing everyone for what they are about to see."
Growing up in Oklahoma, Underwood hails from a family of football supporters and fell in love with the game at an early age, even having Cowboys' star-shaped decorations in her bedroom and rocking a Cowboys Starter jacket to school.
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She even briefly dated Tony Romo in 2007, before finding happiness with husband Mike Fisher, of the NHL's Nashville Predators.
However, it is football that dominates the airwaves in their Nashville home on Sundays, with Underwood's chief priority being an eternal battle to find a healthier twist on typically calorific football treats.
"You know what football food is like, it is so good but it's not very healthy," Underwood said. "I love stuff like chips and dip, and nachos, chili and pizza. I try my best to figure out ways to make them healthy but it hasn't been easy so far. But it is all part of the game and part of the experience, and I love it."
Underwood has even previously played fantasy football, laughing that she performed "horribly" as work commitments left her squad sorely neglected. With upcoming projects such as the role of Maria in NBC's "Sound of Music" special and a sixth stint as host of the Country Music Awards on Nov. 6, she will give fantasy games a wide berth this year."It's for the best," she said.