As the NFL tries to expand its appeal overseas, men from other countries are discovering the game. And their heritage is influencing the choice of song they’ll sing for the veterans.
Colts rookie Bjoern Werner, who grew up in Germany, hasn’t had to sing the Florida State fight song. Instead, he was asked to belt out a bilingual hit from the 1980s.
“99 Red Balloons in German,” Werner told reporters Sunday.
The song from Nena was a hit in both tongues, but the German version (99 Luftballoons) actually climbed higher in the United States, peaking at No. 2 in 1984.
Werner also addressed with reporters his transition from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker in Indy, where he has been installed as the No. 2 “rush” linebacker. And Werner talked about how he’s learning from starter Robert Mathis, who himself had to learn the position in 2012.
But none of that matters. Because both versions of the song have taken up residence in your head.
As foreign-language songs go, it could be worse. Much worse.