While researching the Chicago Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle” for a totally unrelated reason, I stumbled upon a horrifying discovery — this used to be a thing. During the mid-1980s, several NFL teams tried their hand at recording novelty songs. A few of these are great, some are really bad, and none are actually good.
“We’re the 49ers”
The San Francisco 49ers started the trend during the ’84-’85 season, releasing their song several months before “Super Bowl Shuffle.” Since the 49ers weren’t trying to copycat something popular, “We’re the 49ers” is set apart from the rest of the bunch. The biggest difference is how impersonal it feels. Sung by anonymous players in unison, it lacks the ragtag spirit of camaraderie that made “Super Bowl Shuffle” so fun. The lyrics are also pretty bland, and the beat sounds like generic disco pop.
“New England, the Patriots and We”
What a stinker. Released prior to their showdown with the Bears at Super Bowl XX, this New England Patriots effort rips off the aesthetic of 1985’s other novelty single, “We Are the World,” by crowding too-many singers around too-few microphones to sing a really bad song. A few Patriots players are featured and all wear matching MTV hats. The song also states, out-loud and repeatedly, that the Patriots will beat the Bears in the Super Bowl. That didn’t happen, but that’s not the only reason this thing should be forgotten.
“Cuz the Blue Wave is on a Roll”
Also released during the ’85-’86 NFL season, the Seattle Seahawks “Cuz the Blue Wave is on a Roll” is the anti-“Super Bowl Shuffle” — slick, well-produced and catchy. The video even has a narrative: spirits are low in the locker room until (linebacker) Michael Jackson enters and leads the Seahawks in song. The music rips off The Coasters’ “Yakety Yak” and none of the Seahawks can keep a straight face, but it’s that goof-off spirit that makes video so charmingly cheesy. How can you hate something that doesn’t even take itself seriously?
Nobody loves a trend like Hollywood. In 1986, both Los Angeles football teams released their own personalized songs. Since the Rams have returned to LA, their song “Ram It” has begun to resurface, and thank the gods for that. This song is amazing. Completely over-produced with a studio-designed beat, this video is constantly trying to one-up it’s inspiration with multiple sets, shooting outdoors and cheerleaders. “Super Bowl Shuffle” may have nostalgia on its side, but “Ram It” beats it as a piece of 1980s “so bad it’s good” pop culture. It’s catchy as HPV too.
“The Silver and Black Attack”
The worst kind of imitation; a cheap knock-off that strives to copy something already successful but improve upon it by making it flashier. Like it or not, “Super Bowl Shuffle” was a phenomenon because it was sincere, singular and weird. The Los Angeles Raiders saw success and said, “We can do that too.” The result is a forgettable song with a boring music video. Future “Firestorm” star Howie Long pops up early on, but he’s about the only reason to watch.
Ram It baby.