The most amazingly terrible sports team songs
Generally, athletes aren’t singers. For example, even the greatest of pitchers might have no sense of pitch whatsoever. That hasn’t stopped plenty of teams from making them sing anyway, trotting out one terrible team rally song after another. After all, the Chicago Bears pulled off the “Super Bowl Shuffle,” so why not try something similar? Well, after listening to the following assaults on the eardrums, you’ll know exactly why not.
The Philadelphia Eagles' buddy comedy
Now that the Eagles are Super Bowl champions, their traditional fight song, “Fly Eagles Fly,” has been getting tons of attention. Their other song, 1988’s “Buddy’s Watchin’ You,” has gotten much less airplay, and for good reason: It’s an embarrassing stain on an otherwise proud franchise.
The cringe starts with the title, which would work for a stalker anthem but not a corny rap recorded by a bunch of jocks. As it turns out, “Buddy” was Buddy Ryan, the Eagles head coach at the time. Luckily, the nearly 60-year-old Ryan did not bust any rhymes. Unluckily, the rest of the Eagles did. Not a single one can rap, particularly kicker Luis Zendejas, who sleepily mumbles his verse as fast as he possibly can. Of course, his lines wouldn’t have worked even if Tupac had spat them: “I’m Luis Zendejas, I kick field goals / Am I nervous? Yeah I suppose / Win the game, I hit the mark / This game is over before it starts.”
People who aren’t the Eagles sing the chorus, which is as soulful as anything about an old man watching people can be. The female backup singers actually sound decent, so of course they’re given little to do. The football players struggle to keep to the most basic of flows and dance like they’re at a wedding and the alcohol hasn’t kicked in yet. Fly, Eagles.
Please Dolphins, don't hurt 'em
You get one guess as to what hit song the Miami Dolphins parodied for “Can’t Touch Us.” Yes, in 1991 the Dolphins threw together a not-at-all-dated rewrite of MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This,” attributing it to Cory and the Fins just to keep the whole dolphin theme going.
After a skit where a radio station plays the old Dolphins fight song and a player calls in to request the Fins’ hot new jam, we hear, “Mi-mi-mi-miami hits ’em so hard / Makes ’em say “oh my lord” / Thank you for blessin’ me / With all those Dolphins and all that speed.” The lines don’t get much better than that, though at least the players sound enthusiastic when they rap. They’re clearly having fun, aside from maybe the quarterback at the beginning droning, “Blue 42, yeah, set, hut hut hut” like he just woke up.
The video itself is more incredible than the song. It’s perhaps the most early ’90s thing you’ll ever see, with people sporting Zubaz pants, a player brandishing a keytar, another wearing a white suit with a bowtie and without a shirt, and high-top haircuts galore. Also, nobody can dance at all, but they sure do try.
The Amazing Mets weren't amazing rappers
The 1986 World Series champion New York Mets put together their own rap song, “Get Metsmerized.” Its badness is truly metsmerizing.
Everyone who takes a turn at the mic either sounds bored to death or hilariously unsure of their rapping skills. Darryl Strawberry’s verse in particular might be the stiffest ever, with more awkward pauses and filler sounds than should be legal: “Thank you George, you’re a classy guy / With your black bat *crack of the bat* you know we sure rely *echoes, cheesy synth sound* / You know, California is where, I’m from / But, for New York I, hit home runs!” It’s half words and half killing time while thinking of words.
A woman eventually steps up to the mic, but she sounds like she’d rather be anywhere else. While she may be rapping “Team’s real hot / stand up proud / do the Wave / shout out loud,” you don’t feel as if she truly cares whether you shout or not.
A later verse sounds like it was rapped in one breath, but not in a cool, Busta Rhymes way. It was more like the player talked the whole way through, just to get it over with. Rafael Santana, meanwhile, doesn’t even begin to hit the beat with his verse. To cap off the cringe, the woman’s rap gets repeated later on by a guy — presumably, she quit halfway through the one take they bothered to record.
In 1986, the Cleveland Browns put together an 18-minute mini-movie called “Masters of the Gridiron,” a Conan The Barbarian parody played at absolute peak silliness.
Browns player Mike Baab gets knocked out during a game, and we get a glimpse into his concussion dream. There he’s “Baabarian,” a warrior on a mission to retrieve the Great Ring from the evil “Lord of the League,” who has an army of bears, rams, and falcons at his disposal.
To aid him on his quest, Baabarian enlists warriors (Browns players) from far-off lands like “Plains of Passrushian,” “Hills of Linebacha,” and “Hamlet of Interceptus.” Once they encounter the Lord of the League (and of Puns), we see it’s none other than novelty ukulele virtuoso Tiny Tim. The “Tiptoe Thru The Tulips” guy, for whatever reason, is determined to keep the Browns from claiming the Great Ring. He shouldn’t have to try too hard, though. It’s the Browns.
As he sics his ninjas on the Browns, an obscure AOR nugget called “Hard Die The Heroes” plays. That’s how secondary the song was to this bonkers video — they didn’t even bother making the Browns sing. After the fight, Baabarian gets knocked out by Tiny Tim, thus ending the dream. Baab wakes up with his Browns teammates surrounding him, and he’s somehow wearing his Baabarian getup, and the Great Ring. Was it a dream? Only Baab and Tiny Tim know for sure.
Is your refrigerator running?
Everyone knows the “Super Bowl Shuffle,” but apparently that wasn’t enough for William “The Refrigerator” Perry, who also recorded a solo shot called “The Refrigerator Man.” For whatever reason, he kicked off this silly sports song with what sounds like the Jaws theme mixed with Psycho shower scene strings. He really wanted you to fear the Fridge, apparently.
Now, Perry actually has a decent flow for a rapping athlete. He hits the beat most of the time, and his opening verse, about how people laughed at him for being fat until they saw he could play, is actually kind of inspirational. But then we get a female chorus bellowing “THEY CALL HIM THE FRIDGE” in a hilariously cringey manner, and we’re no longer inspired. They’re trying way too hard when singing about a guy named after a foodbox.
Much of the video is footage of Perry dominating on the field, and many of the lyrics are standard “I’m awesome” fare. One line, however, stands out as one of the weirdest in not just sports-rap history, but rap history period. Perry boasts, “I eat linemen for lunch, I eat quarterbacks for dinner,” which sounds fine. Then we get “To wash it all down, I drink paint thinner,” which sounds atrocious. It’s certainly a less predictable route than rhyming “dinner” with “winner,” but sometimes predictability works, especially when the alternative is bragging about chugging poison.
LA Rams songs might be written by 12-year-olds
The first verse of “Ram It” warns us, “We can’t sing and our dancing’s not pretty / but we’ll do our best for the team and the city.” The player forgot to mention just how many dirty jokes were on tap, as the entire song — right down to the title — is incredibly inappropriate. Hearing the entire team sing, “do you know how to ram it? Let’s ram it” doesn’t help matters at all.
If that were the only eyebrow-raising lyric, it could be dismissed as an unintentional joke from a writer with absolutely no self-awareness. But the “ramming” jokes just keep coming: “Nobody likes ramming more than me.” “You can ram it all day and ram it all night.” “Rammin’ is fun when you ram it with me.” “If you do it just right, you can ram it all night.” Whoever penned this knew exactly what they were doing. Why else would they credit themselves as the “LA Rammers?” They were snickering from conception to recording to release.
As far as the song itself, it’s better than most sports fight songs. Many of the players actually rap halfway decently, which makes one wonder how many takes they needed. Probably they needed a few just to stop guffawing after every “ram it” joke.
The Patriots grin and Bear it
Today’s dynastic Patriots, with five championships and the tough-as-nails Bill Belichick leading the charge, wouldn’t be caught dead on a list like this. The 1985 Pats, on the other hand, definitely did, with “New England, The Patriots, and We,” a direct response to the Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle” that you won’t catch Belichick humming on his worst day. Gronk might, though.
The video for the grammar-hostile “New England, The Patriots, and We” starts with a Boston newscaster holding a gun to a stuffed bear’s head, which he probably couldn’t get away with today. We then get the actual song, performed mainly by what appear to be actual singers. This actually makes its lukewarm ’80s badness even worse because at least when players sing terribly, you can excuse it because they’re athletes. When your job is to sing and you can’t do it, something’s wrong.
Local TV and news personalities join in halfway through, as do hordes of lip-syncing Bostonians. This does add a nice community feel to the song, though it doesn’t make the experience any less cheesy. Plus, a huge chunk of the lyrics are just “New England, the Patriots and We,” followed by something rhyming with “we.” Sample lines include, “We’ll hang the bear from the Liberty Tree” and “We’ll beat the Bears 100-3.” Thank goodness they didn’t, if only so this awful song wasn’t right.
The Giants want you to know they're the Giants
The 1986 New York Giants wasted no time titling “We’re the New York Giants,” probably because they were busy preparing to win the Super Bowl that year. They did, however, spend plenty time putting their hype video together. More than just a song, the long version is over 20 minutes long, and features player interviews, rapping fans, and hype from the WWF’s Mean Gene Okerlund, of all people. Sadly, Hulk Hogan wasn’t there to hand out any atomic leg drops.
The song itself is mostly harmless, though the canned crowd noise in an empty stadium was a bad choice. It’s awkward, but not as awkward as the players’ dancing. Their singing, meanwhile, is passable, since they mainly just harmonize lines like: “We are the New York Giants / Don’t you know we’re great / Football is our business / Pasadena, we can’t wait,” and rarely attempt to rap. Good artists know their limits.
At one point in the song, the Giants grab a football and pass it around. For no explained reason, the football is hilariously deflated, to the point where you couldn’t possibly throw it around. Then, with even less explanation, the song ends with an anti-drug PSA. The players sing, “Football is our game / Winning we proclaim / And drugs are not our thing / That’s why we’re winners!” It’s always heartwarming when a macho fight song unexpectedly evolves into a Very Special Episode of a Saturday morning cartoon.
Who dey think can rap like rappers?
“Who Dey” (as in “Who dey think can beat dem Bengals? Nooooooobody!”) is a pretty famous Cincinnati fan chant. It’s so popular, in fact, that it became a team fight song, recorded for the 1988 Bengals team that faced the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. Spoiler alert: The Niners beat dem Bengals.
Just because “Who Dey” is a famous chant, though, doesn’t make the “Who Dey Rap” any good. It’s mostly players badly rapping, or so we assume. You can honestly barely hear the vocals over the tune’s incredibly loud tin-can beat, but if the lyrics are anything like the ones in other sports team songs, we’re probably not missing much.
One thing we do hear loud and clear, though, is a player singing incredibly soulfully and beautifully. Or, more likely, he was lip-syncing to somebody else singing incredibly soulfully and beautifully. The verse talks about how Bengals fans should “bring this jungle to the ground,” which seems just plain wrong. For one thing, bringing a jungle to the ground sounds like deforestation, which is terrible for the environment and just plain wrong. Besides, these are Bengals, animals that live in the jungle. Why would they want their home brought to the ground? We’re starting to suspect whoever wrote this song didn’t pay attention to details.
Less locker room talk, more locker room rock
As the “Locker Room Rock” video starts, the Seattle Seahawks are moping in the locker room, dejected after a tough loss. Their only happy player, seeing everyone so glum, starts singing about how they’ll ride the “Blue Wave” to victory next time. This helps raise the team’s spirits, and gradually everyone starts singing and dancing. The happy player’s actual, no-lie name? Michael Jackson. But he doesn’t sing nearly as well as the other guy with that name.
“Locker Room Rock” is a silly rock ‘n’ roll song that resembles “Yakety Yak (Don’t Talk Back)” only with a cheap ’80s organ and worse sax music. Many of the lyrics are about how “the Blue Wave is on a roll” and that the Seahawks are “aiming for the Super Bowl.” Their aim was off; they went 8-8 that year.
The video is mostly the team dancing and singing, with lots of in-game footage to remind you what they do when not singing and pretending to play saxophone. The fake-sax player, by the way, performs in a steaming hot shower, which can’t be good for the instrument. Indeed, steam starts coming from the sax — less a sign your music is hot, and more a sign you need a new horn.
The video’s highlight is a charmingly feisty old lady yelling “because the Blue Wave is on a ROLL!” If they’d let her sing the whole song, they’d be playing it at every Seahawks game to this day.
Bills, bills, bills
This song isn’t performed by a whole team, but rather one guy. Mark Levy, long-time head coach of the Buffalo Bills, went on the Empire Sports Network in 1994 to do something unexpected: sing. Apparently, he told his Bills that if they won that week’s game, he would write them a fight song and sing it on the air. They won, so he composed “Go Bills.”
It’s not a rap or a brick of ’80s cheese but rather an old-fashioned football fight song. The lyrics are standard fare for the genre: “Go bills, let’s win this game / We’ll raise up all our voices high / Our Bills team spirit will not die / So go Bills, fight Bills go / C’mon let’s win for Buffalo.” Levy implores the studio audience to sing along, and they do, albeit with all the enthusiasm of a group of Christmas carolers who just want to come in from the cold.
After the song ends, the show’s host suggests “Go Bills” is better than “Victory March,” the famous Notre Dame fight song so beloved even people who hate Notre Dame like the tune. Opinions are fun! The real question is whether “Go Bills” helped the team go. Considering they’ve won exactly one playoff game since 1994, the answer appears to be “not yet.”
The Bengals' second bungle
Hey, it’s the Cincinnati Bengals again. “Fear Da Tiger” is from 2005, in case you thought athletes rapping and singing hastily thrown-together fight songs went extinct in the early ’90s.
“Fear Da Tiger” has some “Who Dey” in it, only this time funk legend and Cincinnati native Bootsy Collins randomly inserts a whole lot of yelling. We also get a cameo from the Bengals mascot, named “Who Dey.” Overall, it’s a louder and more boisterous video than the Bengals’ earlier effort, though its in-your-face style gets obnoxious pretty quickly.
The song itself sounds like the dirty hip-hop that was popular at the time, but since this is a professional football team that has to think about the kids, the lyrics are still 100 percent clean. Lines like “We’re the biggest cats in the jungle / When we come through we gonna shake, rattle, and rumble” are about as hardcore as the track gets. The same goes for their dancing, which is just as “good” as it was before, since they really can’t get too crazy. So instead, they all awkwardly dance in a way that suggests the only thing you have to fear from the tiger is that it might trip, fall over, and break your favorite lamp.