Photo courtesy of Today.com
Story by Tayhlor Stephenson / Contributing Writer
Football’s most exciting game is finally here. Whether you’re pumped because your team made it to the Bowl or you’re in it for the million-dollar commercials, eyes will be certainly locked on the television screen in less than twenty-four hours.
Hundreds of millions of Americans continue to gear up for the big day the only way they know how to. Atlanta fans are buying Falcons jerseys and New England fans are buying Patriots jerseys. Country music fans, though, are preparing in a way not like any of the others.
For us, this year’s performance of the national anthem is just as important, if not more, than the actual football game that will soon take place in Houston, Texas. This is the year that country music’s very own CMA Entertainer of the Year, Luke Bryan, represents country music by honoring the nation of stars and stripes with the singing of the national anthem: country style.
It’s the day that we have all been anxiously awaiting, and it’s almost here.
In a world that’s not always accepting, country music has fought tooth and nail to be heard one day at a time. Although country music has grown more popular, the genre has struggled to maintain followers in its previous years. Over time, the National Football League has embraced country music’s growing popularity by offering more country music artists the spotlight by leading America in the national anthem before the Super Bowl begins.
In 1974, the NFL invited its first country music artist, Charley Pride, to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl. Following Pride, the Super Bowl didn’t see another country music artist for nineteen years. In 1993, Garth Brooks broke this unbearably long streak by proudly chanting America’s song before the big game.
Taste of Country’s Sterling Whitaker explains that since Brooks’ performance of the national anthem, five more country music stars have been asked to lead America in the singing of the national anthem: Faith Hill in 2000, The Dixie Chicks in 2003, Carrie Underwood in 2010, Kelly Clarkson in 2012, and now, Luke Bryan in 2017.
Since 2013, the NFL has also shown its acceptance to country music by allowing Carrie Underwood to sing the Sunday Night Football theme song before each primetime game begins.
The significance of Bryan’s performance to country music fans goes far beyond the coverage of a single artist. With the request of Bryan’s take on the national anthem, the NFL is showing its acceptance of country music as a genre, and an invitation into acceptance is all country music fans really want.
Football and country music are not the same, but they are not all that different either. Country music embodies “roots” just like football.
Everything has a beginning. Although they do not have identical origins, both football and country music were derived from something they were not once before. Football comes from rugby, and country music comes from folk music.
Together, these two industries continue to show their true strength from the roots they’ve dug.
Football and Country Music both demand attention from fans after all these years and serve as a major source of entertainment to their homeland. .
Two Tied Together
We’ve established that the two have more in common than one would think, and it’s time we recognize they can be merged together. Both the NFL and country music entertain people, and sometimes they even share a venue.
Every year in June, Nashville hosts the famous CMA festival. Thousands of Nashville natives and tourists flood Nissan Stadium, but not for football. These fans are here for nothing other than country music and the several big-name artists that play each night of the festival.
When August rolls around, the very same stadium serves as home the Tennessee Titans. Two very different things, one place, and one purpose: to entertain.
Country music fans couldn’t be more ecstatic about shedding light on its roots at the 2017 Super Bowl and showing how these two industries can easily be tied together, one nation under God.
Whether you’re rooting for the Falcons or the Pats, country music fans can all agree to root on Bryan to deliver our nation’s song: country style.