Chris Stapleton, Snoop Dogg debut new ‘Monday Night Football’ open


Monday night’s “Two Games, One Night” special just got a little more exciting.

A new music video was featured to open the night with a cover of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” performed by Grammy Award winner Chris Stapleton, Snoop Dogg, and world-renowned drummer Cindy Blackman Santana.

Stapleton carries the chorus of the nostalgic song while Snoop Dogg adds in football-focused rap verses to the piece among Blackman Santana’s drum solo to ring in the double game night.

The opening number debuted before both the Saints vs. Panthers game at 7:15 p.m. ET and the Browns vs. Steelers matchup at 8:15 p.m. and continue throughout all “Monday Night Football” games for the remainder of the season, ESPN’s Week 18 Saturday doubleheader, Super Wild Card weekend, and its first divisional playoff game.

The idea for a new theme came up in 2021 by the creative content team, according to ESPN’s vice president of creative content production Julie McGlone.

The “Monday Night Football” team gave the green light, but advised not to rush on the project and curate something to release that provides a similar energy to Carrie Underwood’s “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night” on NBC.

Chris Stapleton is featured in Monday Night Football’s new theme song that will air for the remainder of the season.

According to video producer Rico Labbe, they had a mission to excite millions of fans in a contemporary way from home which proved to be a challenge.

“We just wanted to make sure we heard everybody’s voices – whether it was the fans’ voices, whether it was the artists’ voices, whether it was staying true to the ‘Monday Night Football’ brand over the years,” Labbe told USA Today Sports. “We just wanted to make sure we meshed all that together. It could be a challenge. But we think we hit the sweet spot.”

For those who are fans of the famous “Monday Night Football” theme music, “Heavy Action,” there is no need to worry.

Cindy Blackman Santana plays the drum change beat known in Phil Collins "In The Air Tonight" song.
Cindy Blackman Santana plays the drum change beat known in Phil Collins “In The Air Tonight” song.

Snoop Dog in the new MNF opening music video.
Snoop Dog in the new MNF opening music video.

The theme will continue to play after the new open and lead the audience into the voices of Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Lisa Salters.

The video will run in a 90-second window before cutting to the sports broadcasters, which makes the natural build to the drum change much quicker than in the original song.

“I think it’s an amazing moment in music to have different sounds – country western and hip-hop and rock – it’s like a big gumbo,” Labbe said. “I feel like that’s the United States.”

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