If the NFL truly is a copycat league, pregame preparations throughout the next couple of years will feature heavy doses of Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight.
Ed Werder of ESPN reported before Sunday’s game that Tomlin played the song for the team at the secret Saturday night hotel where they stayed.
Receiver Hines Ward told Werder that it put the players in a “meditative state,” and that he imagined himself on the field, making plays.
In The Air Tonight has enjoyed tremendous staying power, given that it was released in 1981 — before Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was born, and when Tomlin was only nine years old.


  1. isn’t this the same song ray lewis claimed to listen to before games, as well? seems to be a popular song with many nfl teams.

  2. Florio, don’t be ridiculous.
    Tomlin didn’t invent the idea of using that song before a game. It’s used all the time during warmups.
    The song is so popular in the NFL that NFL Films even made a special about it.
    NFL Films Presents – 2006, SHOW: #15
    Tape ID: 170873
    23 minutes

  3. Ray Lewis has been listening to that exact song on his headphones before games for the last 10 years. The Ravens stadium even plays the song when the players are stretching before games. Get your own idea Tomlin

  4. Strangely enough, the song going through Ken Whisenhunt’s mind after the game was “Misunderstanding”.

  5. Ron Woodson said, on the BBC, that they played the very same track for big games when he played for the Steelers, Ravens and Raiders

  6. More than you think – according to Rod Woodson, who was the studio analyst for the BBC over here in the UK, the Ravens used it as their anthem on their way to winning the Super Bowl a few years ago.

  7. So, pretty much a bunch of soccer moms won the Super Bowl?
    I heard that they were going to play Heath Miller’s “Mama Mia Soundtrack” CD when they came out the tunnel. But he left it in the mini-van in the parking lot.
    Aren’t all of Phil Collins’ songs thinly veiled insults leveled at his ex-wives? And this is the song the SB champs gravitated to?
    What’s the world comin’ to?!?!

  8. If Collins’ voice grated on the players nerve endings like it does mine, the song would have put them in an enraged rather than meditative state. That probably would have worked, too.

  9. Or is this because Phil Collins music is just hitting the charts in Pittsburgh?
    I know that the city’s residents just discovered the Beach Boys back in 1998, the first non-Polka group to break into the Post-Gazette’s weekly Top 100.

  10. I can see it now… all the white players are saying “Who’s this old dude?” and all the black players are saying “Who the f–k is this cracker?”

  11. wes says:
    February 3rd, 2009 at 1:43 pm
    Ray Lewis has been listening to that exact song on his headphones before games for the last 10 years. The Ravens stadium even plays the song when the players are stretching before games. Get your own idea Tomlin
    Really? I always thought it was “Cuts Like a Knife” by Bryan Adams.
    Oh well — who’s got six baby? Who’s got six?

  12. wes,
    They play it at Heinz before all the games too. I doubt it’s a Ravens thing that everyone else stole, similar to how they stole the Browns from Cleveland.

  13. Do you like Phil Collins? I’ve been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn’t understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins’ presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group’s undisputed masterpiece. It’s an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Christy, take off your robe. Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument. Sabrina, remove your dress. In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of professionalism. Sabrina, why don’t you, uh, dance a little. Take the lyrics to Land of Confusion. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. In Too Deep is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as anything I’ve heard in rock. Christy, get down on your knees so Sabrina can see your a**hole. Phil Collins’ solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. Especially songs like In the Air Tonight and Against All Odds. Sabrina, don’t just stare at it, eat it. But I also think Phil Collins works best within the confines of the group, than as a solo artist, and I stress the word artist. This is Sussudio, a great, great song, a personal favorite.

  14. Sadly, if anyone deserves an honorary Super Bowl ring, it’s Styx. For some baffling reason, “Renegade” went from a random Heinz Field crowd-noise song to the Steelers’ defense theme song this year. Styx even performed the song live before the Divisional playoff game.

  15. First, Gay Lafleur , best post ever.
    “do you like phil collins?”
    “I have 2 ears and a heart, don’t I?”

  16. Nonpoint did a cover of In The Air Tonight that was actually better. But, wasn’t much to work with to start.

  17. This one isn’t shocking at all to me.
    When I played HS football, the seniors would pick the weekly ritual that they’d do the whole year. My freshman year, it was always “In The Air Tonight.”
    I’m trying to remember what the rituals were in subsequent years besides Pantera’s “Cowboys From Hell”…

  18. The patriots also played it during the Tuck game while the play was being reviewed. I think that’s what Warner means when he keeps saying Genesis will guide him?

  19. So you are saying the Steelers won despite having to endure Phil Collins. They are even better than I thought.

  20. @ Gay LaFluer, you have done it again my friend. You capture our hearts with your whimsical ramblings while seeding our souls with a mixture of humor and lust. Don’t ever change, you dirty French homo, don’t you ever change.

  21. Phil Collins is the worst. Listening to him makes me wish I was dead, it doesn’t so much motivate me to play football well

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!