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Monday Night Football to debut “In the Air Tonight” cover as new intro song

ESPN is throwing it back to the Howard Cosell era of the broadcast with an updated version of Phil Collins’ 1981 smash single.

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Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

A new anthem for Monday Night Football will debut tonight as Chris Stapleton, Snoop Dogg, and drummer Cindy Blackman Santana linked up for a cover of Phil Collins’ 1981 smash hit “In the Air Tonight.”

The song will serve as the lead-in for both MNF broadcasts this evening with the New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers matchup kicking off at 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN and the Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers matchup kicking off at 8:15 p.m. ET on ABC.

According to Chris Bumbaca of USA Today, ESPN chose the song and the artists after focus group research revealed that the Monday Night Football brand elicits nostalgia back to the early days of the broadcast in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. This was the era when sports broadcasting legend Howard Cosell was on the call in the booth and the explosion of MNF during this time triggered the NFL’s rise as a television behemoth. The early ‘80’s in particular was considered a golden era for the weekly prime time show, so it’s fitting that they went with a 1981 song that still resonates over four decades later.