Monday Night Football will take on a whole new theme, literally.
Gone is the boisterous “Are you ready for some football?” made famous by legendary country singer Hank Williams Jr. Now, country superstar Chris Stapleton gets to launch a new era of the MNF theme.
Chris Stapleton’s Music Background
Stapleton is a household name in the country music realm — which helps continue MNF’s theme of having a star from that genre psych up football fans before kickoff.
He made the bold move in 2001 to pursue his music career at a place with, arguably, the largest country music following — Nashville, Tennessee.
In 2007, Stapleton became the front man for the group The SteelDrivers, a Bluegrass group. He left the group, however, in 2010 to pursue a solo career.
Since then, the world has known him as one of the faces of country music — equipped with eight Grammy victories and 10 ACA (Academy of Country Music Awards) wins.
Stapleton, 45, is a native of Lexington, Kentucky, although he grew up in Staffordsville. He’s the son of a mom who worked in the health department and a father who had an engineering background in the coal mine fields.
Did Stapleton Play Football?
Stapleton is no stranger to the game of football. He played for Johnson Central High in Paintsville, Kentucky. In fact, he once lined up against a future No. 1 overall pick.
In 1993, Stapleton was a running back and linebacker sharing the same field with Tim Couch…the same Couch who went on to shatter numerous state records and eventually became the No. 1 pick for the Cleveland Browns in 1999.
Stapleton’s Johnson Central squad got the better end of the first ’93 meeting against Couch’s Leslie County team — guiding the defense to a 24-20 win over a young Couch. The future Brown, however, would ensure Stapleton and company wouldn’t taste victory against them in the next set of meetings.
Couch’s Leslie County team won the second meeting. But the one that’s considered the most revered of the three meetings was a rubber match in 1995. Stapleton kept Couch and a high-octane offense in check on defense, including getting a sack on Couch. But then came some late fourth-quarter magic.
With the game tied at 6, Couch hit Ricky Hensley on a 39-yard touchdown with just three seconds left that lifted Leslie County to victory. It became the last time the Kentucky legends would share the same venue together.
Stapleton would go on to become school valedictorian and attend Vanderbilt, where he first pursued an engineering degree. But now, he’s engineered country classics and is the new producer of the highly-anticipated 2023 MNF anthem.