Musical soundtracks coming to NFL broadcasts

Background music is such an ingrained part of movies and TV that we hardly even notice it. But a football game?

Michael Hiestand of USA Today reports that FOX has begun adding music to televised NFL games. The network actually started it, unannounced, with last week’s Seahawks-49ers game, and this weekend they’ve announced they’re doing it again for the Cardinals-Panthers game.

A sample of the way it was used in the Seahawks-49ers game is here. I think it sounds a little goofy and adds nothing to the broadcast, but FOX Sports President Eric Shanks thinks otherwise.

“This is all in the execution,” Shanks said. “Just like music in movies, you have to use it at the right times. And imagine trying to score a movie the first time you’re seeing it.”

Shanks calls using music during the Super Bowl “a possibility.” I hope FOX thinks better of it. It’s not that football and music can’t go together — those symphonic scores are a big part of why fans love NFL Films — but during a live game it feels like a distraction from the action on the field.

77 responses to “Musical soundtracks coming to NFL broadcasts

  1. terrible…it covers up the announcers voices sometimes. although when its collinsworth or aikman that would actually be a good thing.

  2. I’ll simply mute it and play my own music if that’s how it’s going to be. I’ll be pissed if the other networks follow suit. I can generally avoid Fox. It’s not like there’s a shortage of Sunday football games, but this is ridiculous.

    Movies have scripts too, but that doesn’t mean you need to incorporate it into football. Wtf is going this year? Making up all these sissy rules and incorporating musical scores into live games; what’s next, half-time hug sessions between the two teams to make sure that everybody keeps their self esteem up and further appeal to the female demographic? I’m all about woman watching football, but enough is enough.

  3. Can the NFL just stop please? It seems every decision is based on money rather than the good of the sport. 18 game season, over the top sponsorships, PSLs, rising ticket prices, rising merchandise prices, changing the NFL Draft format, Thursday Night Football and now adding music which will eventually turn into soundtracks.

    Hey owners and players, you have enough F’ING money. Leave the game alone.

  4. Nothing new. Rozelle was in advertising and he had the idea of symphonic music accompanying highlights and it works. Music is played as games went to commercial. no big deal…assuming its the right music.

  5. Hopefully it will be music that the players mothers like. Since they will be the only ones watching a Niners/Cardinals game.

  6. When FOX first was awarded the NFC games back in the 90s, they experimented with a LOT of “improvements” to the telecast, all of which were incredibly annoying to the typical football fan. The one I remember most was during halftime highlights, if they were showing a long touchdown pass, they’d play the sound effect of the whistling of a bomb dropping as the ball was in the air, and the sound of an explosion as the receiver caught it.

    I loathed FOX back then. But then they shelved all that crap and actually became a pretty good NFL network. Now, this. COME ON, MAN. FOX, just stop it.

  7. Well, clearly if this becomes common, I’m gonna be listening to the radio broadcast while watching the game on TV.

    This isn’t a bad thing, actually, since the normal Fox Sports announcers aren’t exactly…state of the art…while the local radio guys are unabashed homers who support the local team without worrying about anyone’s sensitive commercial desires.

    But thanks, Fox, for all the fish…

  8. I think this is a great idea but instead of adding a soundtrack they should add sound effects. Can you imagine the ball hits a guys head and they drop in a “boing” on the replay or a train wreck sound for big hits. Maybe even a broken glass sound for an injury.

  9. Football would be so much better with Benny Hill music.

    The first time I watch a game and this happens, I’m taking a dump in a chocolate box and mailing it to Fox Sports HQ.

  10. That’s horrible! Horrible!! I guess I’ll be muting more of their broadcasts than ever before and using my NFL Audio Pass for more and more games as the audio and only use the broadcast for the video content.

  11. You have got to be kidding me…..First Fox has bart simpson skating bye on a skateboard, then that dumb ass robot thing, and the pregame show with those a$$clowns laughing and acting as if they just found a pot of gold, and now we are going to get american idol finalists playing their crap music while a game is played?…..And you know damn well, that’s what Fox is planning….It’s all in the execution, well then let the players execute, this a$$wipe should be fired yesterday….

  12. The music s*cks!

    I watch FOX to watch my team play football. If my team was telecast on another network, I would watch the other network…..period.

    Adding music does not enhance the experience, or make me want to tune into FOX.

    If they want to enhance the experience, they can give the cheerleaders more airtime.

  13. Enough.

    I followed the link and listened to the actual game tape, and all I can say is; Mr. Shanks, you’re an idiot.

    If I have to watch a Fox game with this crap, I truly will mute the sound and find a radio play by play instead. The game is great, most announcers do a decent job, no need to reinvent the wheel. It’s working fine.

  14. NO MATTER WHAT THE NFL DOES IT WILL ALWAYS BE A TRILLION TIMES BETTER THAN LMAO NBA BASKETBALL AND THE MOST BORING SPORT EVER CREATED LMAO LMAO MLB! EVEN IF THE NFL GOES TO LOCKOUT AND HAS SCABS PLAYING IT WILL STILL CREAM THE HECK OUTTA POS MLB HANDS DOWN!!!

  15. If they would shut the announcers up while the music was playing I wouldn’t care if they had opera or Russian folk music, anything would be better then every team of announcers on all the networks. They all suck.

  16. Uh, it’s not so bad. It looks…err…sounds as though most of it will be used during replays, timeouts, stoppages, huddle time, etc.

    I’ll be watching the Ravens-Saints game tomorrow on Fox and see what happens. And if I really do hate it, I’ll just be thankfult that I live in an AFC team market and root for….wait for it..,.another AFC team.

    Of course the strains of “Dirty Water” would add nicely to each Patriots touchdown.

  17. i will agree to this on one condition: they can play music but it can ONLY be the “chariots of fire” soundtrack…and they have to slow all the action down so its in slow motion…also, they could only use it for the patriots, since the chariots of fire theme only works for sure-fire winners…you cant have somebody getting stuffed on the one to the chariots of fire theme…allright, who’s with me on this one?

  18. I already hate:

    1. Every pre-game intro song ever created – especially the current Hank Williams/Faith Hill abominations. I do not even turn the game on until I know the kickoff has already occurred.

    2. Any set of highlights cut to music. The worst thing I have ever viewed was the horrifying ‘and the Twiiinnnss’ beer commercial followed by the nauseating weekly highlights on one of the ESPN shows containing the same terrible song. Good god I wanted to shoot myself in the head.

    3. Any and all sound effects or lame graphics added such as the stupid robot hitting baseballs.

    This new music added to games is another terrible idea.

    The only good music/football mixing has been the NFL Network stuff.

  19. nightman13 says:
    Dec 18, 2010 9:08 PM
    Can the NFL just stop please? It seems every decision is based on money rather than the good of the sport….

    —Dude, the music sucks, but are you serious? The NFL is totally about money and has been for at least 30 years. It’s an entertainment business, just like all pro sports are. Keep it real, my friend.

  20. huskersrock1 says:
    Dec 18, 2010 9:33 PM
    I think this is a great idea but instead of adding a soundtrack they should add sound effects. Can you imagine the ball hits a guys head and they drop in a “boing” on the replay or a train wreck sound for big hits. Maybe even a broken glass sound for an injury.

    —I hope you are being sarcastic, because that’s one of the most retarded things I’ve ever heard.

  21. Sure, I play music if I don’t care for the announcers or the thousand commercials we have to sit through. Like Sunday Night Football for instance. I’ve seen enough football games to be able to figure things out.

  22. So, the music: As a musician, I viewed the video with an open mind. Here’s what I think: Overall, it is horrible. Let’s get that straight right off the bat.

    Specific observations:

    —I thought the first track was for comedy reasons…like you’d see on bloopers or what not. But then, it kept going. It became entirely inappropriate and goofy…especially as the guy was laying on the ground, seemingly injured!

    –The more dramatic music drowned out the announcers somewhat, and seemed to have no purpose.

    –I believe the percussion/drumline was to add the illusion of a band being in the stadium (some teams have that–I think the Ravens and Redskins too). This was the least objectionable to me, though I thought it was unnecessary.

    –The rock riff near the end was also needless, but I’ll add that it was totally corny as well. We’re almost at Tom and Jerry cartoon levels, here!

    So yeah…this will be universally panned and pointless. Nothing like the excellent soundtracks in NFL Films specials, like America’s game. I actually tried to find that music when it came out, but couldn’t get it. Think I’ll look again…..

  23. I watched the Seahawk – SF game and this was HORRIBLE to listen to while watching the game. The tweets that flew over to Fox certainly were not pleased either. If they start doing this, I will choose to watch anything else. It’s a stupid, stupid idea.

  24. The stupidity that surrounds the NFL has reached the next level. NFL films adding music to the plays in their films is great…what Fox did and is attempting to do is absurd. It doesn’t work and is more distracting than the sometimes retarded announcers. Everybody is always trying to squeeze a few extra cents out of something. The NFL (and ESPN and NFLN) is becoming hard to watch with the blatant advertising. The commercials don’t seem to be enough so the telestrator (brought to you by…) crap is shoved down everyone’s throat. I noticed Thurs. that the (field side) set changed 4 times. The next step will be freaking billboards painted in the end-zones…and then I will really stop watching. Enough is enough.

  25. Welcome to Roger Goodell’s NFL. NBA style officiating (preferential treatment for stars), penalties and fines for celebrating, penalties and fines for hits that should be legal, 18 game schedule to ensure the play-offs are meaningless due to injuries, Pro-Bowl before the SuperBowl in Miami, and now…music playing while you watch games.

    It always amuses me how the media and fans side with management and ownership. Tagliabue was a great commissioner because he protected the fans from the owner’s non-stop money grab and stupidity. Now with Goodell, the game is going down the toilet.

  26. This ain’t figure skating FOX. Get your headouttaurass. When Finnegan and Johnson go at it, u playin Rocky?…….or a spinning Pomp and Circumstance for quarterback rotations.

    Just do the damn game, & quit kissing the brand’s ass, knock on the fat high school teachers who ref bipolar with the consistency of my girlfriends menstrual cycle a few times…..and cut to the same 3 beer ads.

    This is the greatest game in the world. I don’t need any further color thanks.

  27. lol 2 things:

    #1. That music was horrible and definately was a distraction

    #2. It really isn’t that bad of an idea…..they just need a lot better music and pick their times a little better.

    They are doing this to try to make the broadcasts a little more exciting…especially when a snoozer of a game comes along. They are trying to make the experience from home be more like an actual game.

    But to do this, they need to lose the ‘musical scores’ and do it more like they do in live games…..like playing the opening rift of Guns-n-Roses ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ or Ozzie’s ‘Crazy Train’ before a kickoff like they do in games, or Metallica ‘Sandman’ or some thing after a sack. That actually wouldn’t be that bad and again, would enhance the experience.

    Its like years ago when nobody could really tell why…but Fox games always seamed and sounded a lot more exciting on TV….it was because they were pipeing in crowd noise at opportune times.

  28. Ultimately it’s so that FOX can sell soundtrack CDs.

    When the Lions are playing, FOX will have to play Joy Division, Lou Reed’s lp Berlin, or tragic Italian opera.

  29. We’ll get to hear that Elvis is “having a blue, blue Christmas.”.

    Well, duh, the guy is either dead or 80 years old and holed up in a cheap motel somehwere, afraid to go outside.

  30. what’s really scary is FOX doing this w/brennaman and billick … god only knows what they’ll do to a game called by ron pitts and john lynch. in the unlikely-event at anyone @ FOX reads this blog — please … please … stop this right now … it isn’t enhancing the game … it sure-as-hell isn’t going to increase viewership … football fans are sick of the gimmicks, and non-football fans won’t watch unless brad & angelina are calling the game. we can deal with the commercials, we can deal with the inane pre/post game shows, we can deal with techno-races between networks on graphics — just leave the actual GAME alone.

    please.

  31. Oh dear God, Bodybaggame may have hit on something. I pray they don’t play crappy AI garbage. It’s bad enough the Black Eyed Peas are this years SB half time entertainment. If I have to listen to terrible pop and hip hop during game broadcasts, I’ll be changing the channel with the quickness. Fox has garbage coverage as it is, and this will only make it worse.

  32. Pete Rozelle turned the game into the national pastime, Paul Tagliabue turned it into a national passion, and Roger Goodell is on his way to tearing it all down. The NFL is already on the ridgeline of their golden popularity goose and are about to start sliding down the backside because they just don’t seem to get that you really can screw up something good by messing with it too much.

    We fans are the ones who made this sport into the national frenzy and media monster that it is, and we’ll be the ones who bring it back down to earth when we start re-discovering other facets of life on Sunday afternoons in the fall because we’re no longer interested in a sport that is no longer interested in us. It happened to baseball, it happened to basketball, and it will happen with the NFL. Goodell has totally lost touch with the fans – the sport’s ‘best interests’ are no longer us but are whatever the corporation decides.

    Based on blog comments, office talk, and every other source of NFL speak I see or hear, the vast majority of fans don’t want international teams, don’t want London Super Bowls, don’t want PSLs, don’t want 18-game seasons, and don’t want a soundtrack to a live game – but what we want doesn’t matter one bit to Goodell & Company. The NFL office is turning into one of those all-powerful evil corporations that are the bad guys in so many movies these days. Some legacy you’ll leave when you cash out, Roger – the man who oversaw the first genuine downturn in the NFL’s popularity… Of course I imagine ‘cash’ing out is what it’s all about for you, and frankly I don’t hold that against you – just spare us the naked hypocrisy of acting like you really care about what the fans want.

  33. TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE IDEA FOX. I am so sick of people trying to change the NFL. You can put this in the same “box” as 3D sports and burry it 300 miles below the surface of the earth. LEAVE THE NFL ALONE!!!!!!!!

  34. WTF?
    I refuse to listen to this crap. I can just mute the volume or turn off the game all together.
    They can get rid of that idiotic robot thing while they are at it. It was dumb when they first started it and it has just gotten worse since then.

    Oh… and those fake giant scoreboards super imposed on the stadiums is really cheesy too.

  35. I add music to my NFL broadcasts all the time. I turn off the volume. They splash so many stats on the screen, why do i need a talking head interrupting Bob Marley and my party plants ?
    Show more cheerleaders.
    They are a highly under rated value added part of the game.

  36. Hey, I already mute the commercials. Now I’ll mute the game as well…no biggie. Also, consider using radio rather than listening to the the mostly miserable TV guys (think I’m wrong…listen to Phil Simms go on about Tom Brady). Yuck!

  37. Nothing new. Rozelle was in advertising and he had the idea of symphonic music accompanying highlights and it works. Music is played as games went to commercial. no big deal…assuming its the right music.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    I appreciate that music. When I hear it, it’s my queue to hit the mute button and head for the can or the fridge! LOL.

  38. That’s like fingernails on a blackboard. It’s painfully distracting. Guess Eric Shanks is so used to the sound effects on his Gameboy, he thinks football fans want to hear them during NFL telecasts along with dramatic orchestral numbers. Someone needs to imprison him in an elevator and force him to listen to Muzak ’round the clock. Bet the guy has never really watched a football game in his life.

    Surely the NFL has a say in how its games are telecast. Can’t Goodell do anything about this? He’s got to be good for something.

  39. I’ll go back to bar-room mode. TV on, sound turned off, juke box playing. I have plenty of CDs I can play – at least it’s music I like.

  40. Add me to the negatives. And, FOX, no, I won’t grow to like it. I’ll just start watching CBS exclusively. Just change for the sake of change. No demand for it, just a few pencil pushers trying to make a name for themselves. Well, it’s a bad name. And my girlfriend is negative about it, too. I showed it to her and she gave it a BIG eye roll. Producers and directors have enough to worry about FOX. The fans won’t like it, and your ratings will plummet further.

  41. philtration says:
    Dec 19, 2010 12:47 AM
    WTF?
    I refuse to listen to this crap. I can just mute the volume or turn off the game all together.
    They can get rid of that idiotic robot thing while they are at it. It was dumb when they first started it and it has just gotten worse since then.

    Oh… and those fake giant scoreboards super imposed on the stadiums is really cheesy too.

    —Wow…agree with every single point. I want that robot to be killed by all the team mascots, which each burying a piece of his body in different corners of the globe.

    —And those scoreboards? The first time I saw one, I was like: “Wow…that is one big damn scoreboard, sirrrr!” I apparently had been drinking.

  42. tatum064 says:
    Dec 18, 2010 9:09 PM
    Nothing new. Rozelle was in advertising and he had the idea of symphonic music accompanying highlights and it works. Music is played as games went to commercial. no big deal…assuming its the right music.

    —Uh, it is new. Going to commercial is fine. As are tracks for highlights/specials. But during a live game? It has no purpose and is distracting. They also used crappy music…take it from a music teacher.

  43. This is the same stupid network that brought us the “glow puck”, stupid animated robots on the screen, “Digger”, and uuhhhh Fox “News”.

  44. As someone who had to sit through this crap last week I feel I’m qualified to say to that it was idiotic, ridiculous, stupid, incredibly annoying, moronic, childish, and just play stupid and idiotic. Did I mention moronic, stupid and annoying, and idiotic?

    What is the matter and Goodell and his cast of clown? He just seems to be getting dumber and dumber every day.

  45. I dont think the idea is horrible its the choices that make it sound so bad.

    Who ever is picking the music obviously knows nothing about what football is about. The sounds there using dont relate to the game at all. Football is high stakes, pressure packed, give it your all, put everthing on the line, nothing else matters, glorious, classic, triumphant type of game and the music has to relay that.

    They seemed to get it right with the last score. That kinda fit the idea of what football is about. the other ones were terrible. They need to get a professional movie scorer in to do it or its going to come off like it should be in a disney movie like the 1st couple did.

    What they need to do is find the guys like the ones that scored Invinceable, Rudy, Million Dollar Baby, Friday Night Lights, Varsity Blue, Any Given Sunday, Cinderella Man, and Ali guys who have a background in sports scoring. You cant just get the guy who scores Fringe or House for ya to do it.

    Americans take there football seriously. If your going to do something thats going to have such a big impact on the way we watch the game, you better get the very best people available to do it and it better be perfect. Or your going to piss off A LOT of people.

  46. @macjacmccoy …

    Sigh … you remind me of those who thought colorizing classic films was a great idea because they’d finally see the original colors. No. What they saw were random colors inserted by overgrown kids with high-tech coloring books. One of these clueless kids actually gave Frank Sinatra–famously known as “Ol’ Blue Eyes”–brown eyes.

    Films are scored by artists whose pay scale reflects their skill. On a two-hour film, it can take hundreds of hours to compose, arrange, and record the music to accompany each individual scene, then to digitally edit the music where it should go. Even if scorers use existing music, they have to get permissions for each song from artists, songwriters, and recording companies.

    Fox could not possibly afford to pay the costs of 16 three-hour+ games a week on the same scale that a television show or film is scored. Nor could games be scored that way. They’re unpredictable live events happening in real time. The only option is canned Gameboy-type sound effects and Muzak plugged in willy-nilly by some techie in the control room.

    This lunacy should have been stopped immediately by the NFL. Unfortunately, as each week passes, the commissioner proves how completely ineffective he is at acting in the best interest of the league, players, or fans.

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