London Calling For Some NFL Tunes
The Minnesota Vikings play a home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
That game will be held a few miles from so-called Mall of America Field, which is a fancy name for the Metrodome. In fact, it’s scheduled for thousands of miles away, in London. Hey, it makes sense. Our countries have always been strongly connected. Our founding fathers were the American students who ended up smarter than their English teachers. But it goes much further than that.
American football’s close to British rugby. Our sporting sense is close to the Aussies with their own brand of football and to Canadians’ fantastic game, hockey. All those commonwealth countries are sports-mad, as we are.
All those great British music groups of the 1960s were partly Yank, at least at heart. They loved American R&B and knew our masters better than we did. Not many white dudes knew the black South better than the Rolling Stones. Read Keith Richards’ Life. The Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, they all knew American songs. They loved black music. They loved country music. They dug our roots.
So the question begs itself: What great British rock group fits the NFL?
Beatles? Too classical and perfect. A buttfumble and the Beatles? No. Not with the Steelers and Vikings coming to Britain.
The Stones? Maybe. Dark and subversive, maybe too much so. They were the guys parents don’t want their children to date. That’s not the image the NFL wants.
Led Zeppelin. As loud as the Seattle stadium. Great. But too arty.
Ah, but how about The Who? Who are you? Keith Moon, rock wacko of all time. Deaf, dumb and blind boy. Smashing guitars. Defacing a statue (the cover art for “Who’s Next”) seems right. Or is it?
Let’s take a closer look at music on both sides of the pond. The league has an official soup company. OK, great, how about an official rock group and song? And here we’ll have to consider American groups as well as British ones.
I won’t presume to do Roger Goodell’s job, especially without a tiny slice of the kind of bread he’s making. What, $30 million? Or is it a mere $20 million? I’m but a humble columnist who’s taken an oath of poverty and chastity (OK, that's a lie, but never mind). So here are my suggestions for favorite NFL-related songs. Sorry, folks, I’m not in the hip-hop generation:
Money (That’s What I Want), sung by many groups. The Beatles did a kick-butt version. They never did reconcile this (which they didn’t write) with Money Can’t Buy Me Love (which they did).
I'm a Loser, Beatles. This sure fits the 0-3 Vikes and the equally victory-challenged Steelers.
Eli’s Coming, Three Dog Night. This would work if the Giants were in London. Alas, no. But it may happen someday. Hold on. A Manning Bowl in the United Kingdom? Works for me. Who knew Three Dog Night was so prophetic?
Kicks, Paul Revere and the Raiders. Great song, has an anti-drug message too. The group's name refers to our Revolution. Hmm, maybe not a good memory for the British.
It Don’t Come Easy, Ringo Starr. I love this song. It says a lot about life. And sports.
Prime Time, Alan Parsons Project. Check out the video on YouTube. Some might see their favorite team in the static dummies. Not stupid people, mannequins. Looks like the Vikings defense to me. That means it’s especially relevant for the game in London.
19th Nervous Breakdown, Rolling Stones. This sure seems to describe what’s happening on the sideline with coaches.
Start Me Up, Rolling Stones. Steelers fans might say, “Hey, why don’t you [expletive] guys get going?” Vikings fans could say the same thing.
Paint It Black, Rolling Stones. Now we’re getting somewhere. Great song, and the Steelers could adopt it as their British anthem. But, well, it’s not exactly a song of victory.
(Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Rolling Stones. We’re getting close to a consensus about music groups here. A lot of fans can love this song, aside from the fact that it rocks. I’m going to say that this should be the Vikings’ song. They’ve been to four Super Bowls and lost all four. Their three best teams never got that far — 1975-76 (when the Cowboys’ Drew Pearson pushed off Nate Wright and the ref swallowed his whistle); 1998-99 (when kicker Gary Anderson missed an easy field goal that would’ve ensured a Super Bowl appearance after making every single attempt during the regular season); and 2009-10 (too many turnovers and Brett Favre choking — at least he said so).
Let’s consider some more great Rolling Stones songs and their relevance:
Time on My Side. How many teams have fallen prey to this delusion? You’d almost think Mick and Keith were big football fans. Good stuff, guys.
Sympathy for the Devil. This could refer to many teams in the NFL. Bucs, Raiders, Vikings. Hey, nice guys don’t get teams named after them, and they don’t get chicks either. It’s always the tough guys from the wrong side of the tracks.
Beast of Burden. Does John Madden, retired or not, love this song? I say yes. Linemen have to love it.
You Can’t Always Get What You Want. Again, he could be referring to the Vikings? But the possibilities are endless. Buffalo, Cleveland ...
Wild Horses. Was Mick referring to the Broncos? If so, he was wrong, because they’re not playing in London. But I’ll bet some money they’ll play in London one day.
Sticky Fingers. Oh, my, which fumbling quarterback could Mick and Keith be referring to? We can only guess. Let’s see. Could it be Ben Roethlisberger? Or Christian Ponder?
Well, since time is on my side, I'll wait until later to make a pick.