Football has not been so blessed, despite its overwhelming popularity. But that situation changes this year with the great new tune from country icon Kenny Chesney called "The Boys of Fall." We saw it on the tube Monday for the first time. Even if you don't like country music, you'll LOVE this video.
It features Saints coach Sean Payton giving an inspirational speech to the players from his old high school, Naperville (Ill.) Central. It also includes:
Famous clips from pro and college football history, among them Kellen Winslow being carried off the field by his San Diego teammates and Desmond Howard striking the Heisman for Michigan (moments we saw live and will never forget).
Contemporary football legends, including Peyton Manning and John Madden, discussing their love of the game. Says Joe Namath: "Life is a team game."
Shots of the pageantry of small-town high school football that's the lifeblood of the national passion.
"I'd give anything tonight to jump in one of these uniforms with you guys tonight," says Payton in the locker room filled with eager Naperville Central players. "That feeling goes away. It goes away and it doesn't come every Friday night ... you're going to miss that more than anything in the world."
Chesney was a wide receiver at Gibbs High School in Corryton, Tennessee and his team is also featured.
"In little towns like mine, that's all they got," he sings.
It's an incredible romantic tribute to the game of football and its place within American culture. God, we wish we had emotions ... because we'd love it so. Naturally, the video comes out of the country genre, where all the best song writers still ply their craft and where it's still OK to celebrate American culture – including our unique national game.
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The NFL has cultivated the relationship between football and country music, too. Last year, singer Tim McGraw (whose dad is baseball legend Tug McGraw) introduced his red-white-and-blue-hued tune, "Southern Voices
," in the televised concert that preceded the kickoff game of the 2009 season between the Titans and Steelers in Pittsburgh.
It features numerous sports references ("Bear Bryant won it") and became one of the biggest hits of the past year. In fact, parts of the video were filmed
at the kickoff party in Pittsburgh. Bear Bryant is also the last image we see in the Chesney video.