ESPN Music: Football

Playing a football game at 33 1/3 RPM?

April, 1, 2014

April is a brutal month for football fans. College football and NFL games won't return for another six months. Free agency is mostly over. Even the draft has been pushed back to May this year. What does that leave for a pigskin-starved individual to do on a Sunday afternoon? Well, if you have a record player you're in luck.

On April 19, better known as Record Store Day to the vinyl obsessed, Microfiche Records will offer one of the hundreds of special releases only available on this special day. "RPM Turntable Football - A Two Player Game Played at 33 1/3" is exactly as it sounds -- a vinyl record narrated by Jay Grainer and Barry Dingle who together will call the action using something called "RPM Decagonaphnoic 10 Groove Sound Technology" while you keep score. The first player to 50 points wins.

The Record Store Day website says only 1,000 copies will be made available so finding one may be a game in itself.

MGMT's VanWyngarden recalls Luck visit

December, 6, 2013
Andrew VanwyngardenDavid Wolff-Patrick/Redferns/Getty ImagesWhen Andrew VanWyngarden isn't making music on stage, you'll likely find him on top of a wave.
MGMT has come a long way since forming on the campus of Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT in the early 2000s, just a stones throw from ESPN headquarters.

The "dazzling electro-psych" band, as described by Rolling Stone in a review of the their 2008 debut album "Oracular Spectacular," has since opened for Paul McCartney at Fenway Park, released two more critically-acclaimed albums and been nominated for two Grammy Awards. Back in the Nutmeg State for a tour stop, we caught up with lead singer Andrew VanWyngarden to ask how he got Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck on stage at a show back in November.

Andrew, thanks for the time. So let’s get right to it. MGMT and Andrew Luck on stage together. Set the scene.
We usually have some kind of contest in each city and the winner gets to play the cowbell. Or we might bring out a friend. Our tour manager had played at the same venue with another band and Luck had come to that show. They were still in contact so we asked Andrew if he wanted to play and he did! Him and Anthony Castanzo came and played. Andrew seemed like a pretty hip dude. I had a great time and it was amazing just to stand next to him. The cowbell is like 75 pounds and it comes with a giant drumstick. Seeing this mega-man doing it was pretty funny to watch.

You’re not a huge sports fan though, right? Did you realize who these guys were?
James Richardson, our guitarist, was even more into it than me. He’s obsessed with everything NFL and fantasy football. He’s a Redskins fan, but he was still really into it.

[+] EnlargeAndrew Luck & MGMT
Courtesy of MGMT/TumblrAndrew Luck, with Anthony Castanzo, shows off his cowbell skills at a MGMT show in Indianapolis.
Do you guys still get excited by finding out who listens to your music or in what areas of the world you are most popular?
Definitely. It’s always exciting. We’ve gone to places like South Korea where people are singing every word. It’s amazing to see. It’s fun to know when a celebrity or athlete likes our music.

What was it like playing Fenway Park when you opened for Paul McCartney?
We’re not really a stadium band. It was amazing to see Paul McCartney with all his pyrotechnics and stuff. I think a stadium like that is more suited to legendary acts like him. Being on the field at Fenway was very cool though.

Coming back to Connecticut must be a bit of a trip down memory lane. As was your recent show in Pittsburgh where you grew up. What has the last week been like?
Pittsburgh really was a trip down memory lane. We hadn’t played there since I think 2005. I haven’t really been around there much since I grew up. I went out with my tour manager just driving around to see the school I went to and the house I grew up in. And the place we are playing here in Connecticut, I think I went to a show or two there when I was in college.

Coming up you have the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. That’s still a fairly new venue, not a ton of artists have played there. Are you particularly excited about that show?
We’re really stoked about the Brooklyn show. It will be our first show in New York in over three years. It’s nice for that to be the closing show of this big US tour. We’re playing with Dinosaur Jr. and Kuroma. It’s going to be pretty sweet. I hope all my friends can come.

Are you going to get some time off after that show?
We don’t get much time off until mid-January. We are going to Australia and Japan over New Year’s. I hope I can get some surfing in. I have some friends in Sydney and I hope we can get in the water.

What is it about surfing that you fell in love with?
I already loved the ocean and being in nature. I was into skateboarding and snowboarding when I was a kid, so this is the perfect thing for me. It’s therapeutic to just sit out there, even by yourself in 30 degree water.

What should people expect when they go to a MGMT show?
It’s gotten to a good point where it’s a combination of songs from all three of the albums we have put out. We play with a six-piece band. It all works well together, especially the visuals behind us. We’ve been having some of the best shows we’ve ever played in the last couple months. I’m anxious to show everyone in New York how far we’ve come since 2010.

Mason: Passing the torch to No. 21

December, 6, 2013
Chris Davis leads Auburn to victory over AlabamaAP Photo/Dave MartinTre Mason, No. 21, looks on in awe as Chris Davis scores the winning touchdown.
Somewhat forgotten in the afterglow of Auburn's last-second victory over Alabama in the Iron Bowl thanks to a 100-yard missed field goal return, was the play of junior running back Tre Mason who rushed for 164 yards and a touchdown.

One person, nine rows away from the field throughout the game, won't have a problem remembering his contributions: Vincent Mason, AKA DJ Maseo of De La Soul, AKA Tre's dad.

We caught up with Vincent at home in Miami to talk about watching his son play in what many are calling the greatest college football game of all time and juggling his busy schedule to see the season play out.

What was going through your mind sitting in the stands watching Tre in that game?
To see him perform on that level was just amazing. He's been obsessed with football since he was 8 or 9 years old. I've seen him do some amazing things throughout his junior high and high school years. But to see him on this Division I level, playing with the best of the best around the nation, is amazing. He is out there making history if you want to look at it like that. It's surreal to know he is my kid. I'm just really really happy for him. I've been living my dream since I was 19 and I know all the hard work that went into it and I've watched him put in the same work.

What did he say when you caught up to him after the game?
After the game he was just so happy. So, so happy. "We did it! We did it! We did it!" was all he kept saying. Then it was "I'm in pain though!"

Will you be at the SEC championship game in Atlanta? Is it hard trying to juggle your busy schedule with his?
Yes, I'm going. I've been making some switches in my schedule. Art Basel is going on right now in Miami so I'm doing a lot of shows for that. It's the hardest thing trying to juggle my life with his. Sports and entertainment happen on the same timeframe, but this is what I have to do to support my family. I've been out of the country a lot during this season and trying to catch the games on TV or see highlights on YouTube. I'm trying to keep January 6 open as well - like, really, really trying - in case they get to the championship game.

But it's worth it, right?
Oh yes. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing to be a part of this as a dad.

[+] EnlargeVincent Mason
Scott Sharpe/Getty ImagesVincent Mason is more than happy to see his son take over the spotlight.
If they do get to that championship game, is your phone going to blow up with everyone in the hip-hop community asking for tickets?
Man, I've been hearing from everyone since the season started. It's funny, it's not something that comes up in normal conversation. How do you say, "My son is No. 21!" That's so braggadocious it's beyond hip-hop! So for them to be finding out because of how well he is doing is really exciting. We're all sharing the moment together.

Did you ever have dreams of being an athlete or was it always music for you?
As a boy coming up you always fancy yourself an athlete. I played a little basketball. As far as football, it wasn't a major interest. But I did get talked into it my senior year of high school. I didn't know much about the sport, I just played around the neighborhood. My passion has always been the music. I was DJing at 6 years old!

Do you think athletes have it better than musicians?
An athlete has the better life of course. They get treated so well. It's crazy! Back in the day our treatment always flucuated based on the sales of our albums!

Are you surprised at all by how passionate football fans are in Alabama?
It's the same way in Florida. They take it as a religion here as well. People come from counties all over to watch high school games like its a NFL game. They don't even know the kids. They just come to watch high school football. It's packed like a college or NFL game. It's amazing to see. I'm from up North and they take basketball the same way. So I get it.

Let's go back to 1989 for a second. You guys delivered your seminal debut album "3 Feet High and Rising," and a few months later follow-up albums appeared from Beastie Boys, EPMD and Jungle Brothers. It was a pretty epic year for hip-hop. What do you remember about that time?
It was a major turning point in everyone's lives. It was a turning point for hip-hop. It finally was a force to be reckoned with. Still unregarded as an art form, but a force with the amount of business it was doing. It was an instrumental point in my life when I was considering going to the military. But then we put out the single "Jenifa (Taught Me)/Potholes In My Lawn" and then the label wanted a video for "Potholes" and then that turned into an option for an album. Everything was happening so fast so I skipped the rest of my high school senior year to cut the record and went back and graduated in 1989 instead of '88.

Awhile back we talked to Tech N9ne. He skipped his high school graduation to perform!
I failed my true last year of high school with all the stuff I was doing! It was crazy going from studio to studio and then trying to go to class. When the record began to take off Russell Simmons had to come to my school and meet with the teachers to work out a plan for me to do my work from the road!

So it's safe to say Tre is more book smart than you?
No doubt. He has both his parents on his back. I didn't have that!

What do you think the future holds for Tre?
It looks like the NFL could be in his future, but you never know what God has in store. He could get hurt. You never know. We just try to take it one game at a time. He feels at home with Auburn, the same as he did in high school. His performances come from that comfort and the friends and coaches he has around him. Tre is a people person, just like his mom and dad. If you don't like Tre, something is wrong with you. I'm happy to know my kid is a cool kid. Once he is under that pressure of making that decision, it will be a hard one. Parting is always bittersweet.

Manziel stars in new Granger Smith video

June, 7, 2013

Rising country star Granger Smith certainly knows to use his Texas A&M connections.

Smith, a 2002 A&M grad, was already a star in Aggieland for an ode to his alma mater called "We Bleed Maroon," which has played on the video board before football games at Kyle Field. Last year, in College Station, Smith was joined onstage by A&M players including Johnny Manziel during a performance of the song.

Now, Smith has enlisted the help of Manziel for his new video, "Silverado Bench Seat" about the most Texan of themes: a boy hanging out with a girl in his Chevy pickup. The Heisman winner appears with his longtime girlfriend, model Sarah Savage, as well as Ryan Swope, Manziel's former A&M teammate who was recently drafted by the Arizona Cardinals.

Smith's new album, "Dirt Road Driveway," was released in April and debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard Country Album chart.

The Mag 15 playlist: 2004

March, 27, 2013
This month, ESPN The Magazine celebrates its 15th anniversary. To commemorate the milestone, The Mag will look back and generate exclusive playlists curated by Bomani Jones. The "Around the Horn" panelist will pick and discuss the biggest hits of the past 15 years. Listen to the entire playlist below.

“Yeah!” by Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris
“No need to explain, when this one was everywhere.”

“Hey Ya!” by OutKast
“Since it was hip-hop, but not really, the all-purpose choice for many arenas until they ran this one into the ground.”

“Overnight Celebrity” by Twista featuring Kanye West
“Ladies and gentlemen, let us introduce LeBron James.”

“Numb” by Linkin Park
“And by the time Barry Bonds hit his 700th home run, that’s how just about everyone felt.”

“Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet
“Ever played Madden ’04? Yeah, you know this one too well.”

“Change Clothes” by Jay-Z
“Shaq went to the Heat, A-Rod went to the Yankees, eventually giving each team a ring that might not have been worth the trouble.”

“No Problem” by Lil Scrappy
“Nov. 19, at the Palace of Auburn Hills, there were lots of problems no one wanted, Stephen Jackson chief among them.”

"Lean Back” by Terror Squad
“Roy Jones didn’t like when Fat Joe mentioned him on the remix ... but he really should have leaned back before Antonio Tarver hit him with a second-round knockout.”

“Burn” by Usher
“That’s right, Yankees fans! That ALCS meltdown still burns, doesn’t it?”

“Sorry 2004” by Ruben Studdard
“The sort of song the AP Male Athlete of the Year should have sung then -- and refused to sing even after he confessed.”

Super Bowl halftime's awkward superstars

January, 31, 2013
Bruce SpringsteenKevin Mazur/Getty ImagesBruce Springsteen's 2009 Super Bowl halftime performance was remarkably corny.
Halftime at the Super Bowl requires a spectacle, and music’s heavy hitters have joined in over the years. Some shows are breathtaking (U2’s post 9/11 performance) and some we’d like to forget (that which created the phrase “wardrobe malfunction”).

No matter how talented the artist, these shows are often littered with awkward moments. Even the weather can contribute. Prince’s 2007 show -- which ranks with U2’s as the gold standard -- endured a steady Miami rain. But he played right through it, making his rendition of “Purple Rain” even more powerful.

Other exceptions to the cringeworthy element: Tom Petty (2008), The Rolling Stones (2006) and Paul McCartney (2005). Quibble with their music all you want, but those were strong performances.

Before Beyonce takes the Super Bowl stage in New Orleans, here’s a look at five shows loaded with awkward moments in the past 30 years.

(Read full post)

Country star Jason Aldean's Bulldog love

October, 20, 2012
Jason AldeanChris McKay/Getty ImagesLifelong Bulldogs fan Aldean surprised UGA students with a performance in Athens earlier this week.
It is late summer in Georgia, a decade ago, and Jason Aldean is holding a ticket. It’s not the scratch-off type and offers no financial fantasy. But for a poor country boy from Macon, Ga., it is an avenue to dreams far richer.

Aldean’s father acquired the ticket from a friend and knew well its fleeting value. But he couldn’t cash in just then, so he threw his boy a bone only a Bulldog could love.

The ticket granted entrance to a college football game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson Tigers. It included field access, which meant Aldean would walk the famous Sanford Stadium hedge line and achieve a lifelong dream.

He would share that dream with his cousin, Dale. They’re the same age and as close as brothers. Neither had ever attended a Georgia football game, though both were die-hards.

Come game day, there they stood, on the Bulldogs' sideline, overwhelmed by the spectacle of 92,746 brethren.

“It was like going to church,” Aldean says. “I didn’t think it was possible, but I became an even bigger fan after that. Experiencing the players running by you and petting Uga ... it was surreal. It was spiritual.”

(Read full post)

The stories behind NCAA's best fight songs

August, 30, 2012
Tommie Wright won’t tell you his age, but the 90-something behind Florida State’s fight song certainly doesn’t mind reliving the first victory over Florida (16-7, in 1964) or the party that followed (Tallahassee’s biggest party since the end of World War II). In honor of die-hards like him, we looked into the history behind some of college football’s most storied fight songs.

Florida State University: “The Marching Chiefs”

Preseason rank: 7
Football program established: 1947
Marching band established: 1939
Band size: 470

History: On Oct. 6, 1950, grad student Doug Alley’s fight song lyrics appeared in the school paper, the Florida Flambeau. “‘Gee, that is a good poem. I am going to write some music to that,’” Wright recalls thinking. He wrote the song that afternoon -- in less than an hour.

Factoid: Wright still has the original score in his office drawer. The copyright becomes public domain in 2025.

Louisiana State University: “Fight for LSU”

Preseason rank: 1
Football established: 1893
Marching band established: 1893
Band size: 325

History: Louisiana’s 40th governor, populist Huey P. Long, named Castro Corazo the university’s bandmaster in 1934. Long (lyrics) and Corazo (composition) collaborated on “Touchdown for LSU.” But after Long’s assassination in 1935, Corazo and swim coach W.G. Higginbotham co-wrote its replacement, “Fight for LSU.”

Factoid: The first time assistant band director Eric Melley was on the field for an SEC opener, the crowd was so loud that he couldn’t hear the 325-piece band right in front of him.

(Read full post)

Denver cheers Peyton Manning at concert

July, 24, 2012

Peyton Manning has yet to strap on a pair of pads, but he's already felt the love from thousands of screaming Denver Broncos fans at Sports Authority Stadium at Mile High.

Manning was at the Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw concert on Saturday night in Denver when Chesney called up Manning and Broncos coach John Fox to the stage. The crowd went nuts, as you can see in the video above.

Another video taken by a fan is after the jump.

(Read full post)

DeSean Jackson raps with young fan

July, 18, 2012
videoDonovan Troy's day with the Philadelphia Eagles just got better and better.

Troy, a 10-year-old from Atlanta with a life-threatening form of sickle-cell anemia, got to meet his favorite player, DeSean Jackson, through ESPN's "My Wish" series. And then, because it rained that day, all of the players went inside the practice bubble, and Troy met all of the Eagles' stars and caught passes from Mike Vick.

That wasn't all, though. After the Eagles' practice, in a complete surprise, Jackson took Troy to his recording studio and they recorded a rap song together (video above).

"[Donovan] really was excited about that," Donovan's mother, Tara, told's Adam S. Reisinger. "We didn't even know DeSean was into music like that. He and DeSean went into the studio and recorded a song and they gave us the CD before we left. He'll always have that to remember."

Jackson owns his own record label, Jaccpot Records. He put that label to a good cause that day.

Troy's mother says he plays the song every day.

To read the entire story about Troy's day, visit the ESPN "My Wish" page.
Van HalenLarry Marano/Getty ImagesDavid Lee Roth says Van Halen wants to play the Super Bowl, but will they still be a band by then?
Remember that massive campaign to get Weird Al to perform in next year’s Super Bowl halftime show? Well it looks like he’s got some competition.

The walking hairspray cans of Van Halen have thrown their name into the hat, responding to “rampant” rumors that they’d already been chosen for the gig.

“That honor has not been bestowed upon us at this time though it is one we would accept in a NY minute,” said David Lee Roth, who once wrote a screenplay about evil scientists trying to steal his rhythm to sell it to white people.

I like Van Halen, don’t get me wrong -- they’re the first band I go to for pedagogical prurience -- but aren’t they … a little less than reliable these days? Forgetting about the constant musical chairs between Diamond Dave and Hagar, didn’t they just cancel their tour because “they hate each other?”

(Read full post)

Cleveland love: Cribbs, Haden and MGK

June, 28, 2012

What's it like to be truly Cleveland? Locally grown rapper Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) hangs out with the Cleveland Browns' talented Joe Haden and Josh Cribbs (on his birthday) to talk about their dedication to the city -- including, in MGK's case, turning down a special opportunity with Manny Pacquiao to spend time in his hometown.

(And yeah, there might be a little anti-LeBron James sentiment thrown in.)

Wale helps Nike unveil new NFL jerseys

April, 30, 2012
At midnight Thursday (well, technically Friday), Nike unveiled its NFL "Game" and "Elite" jerseys at Niketown New York, with players Ndamukong Suh, Victor Cruz, Dwayne Bowe and LeSean McCoy on hand, with artists Wale and Ace Hood providing entertainment.

Here's a picture of Wale performing while wearing a Brian Orakpo jersey. You can check out more pictures and get other information here.


'E:60' cuts -- Robert Griffin III on singing

April, 27, 2012
New Washington quarterback/No. 2 overall pick Robert Griffin III has a hidden talent -- singing -- but he won't display it for the cameras. Not even after President Barack Obama did it!

Thursday's Web video of the day

April, 26, 2012
Remember "Friday"? Of course you remember "Friday." Well, we have an answer to Rebecca Black's so-bad-it's-good viral anthem: "Draft Day," by John Evans and Liz Loza aka The Fantasy Football Girl.

Seen a cool sports-related video you think we should post? Email links to bypatrickdorsey(at)gmail(dot)com or let us know on Twitter at @dorseypatrick. Videos should be family friendly and shorter than two minutes.