Category Archives: Music/Football

The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: O Say Can You See?


Via Billboard

In the Week 2 of Dancing With the Stars writeup, I spoke about Hines Ward and how he had taken over “leading” the dance during the second week:

One of the things which I think makes the competition more difficult for the men than the women, and of course more difficult on their professional dance partners, is that the man has to lead. The women dancers can, and do, make quite an effort to disguise the fact that the guy isn’t really in control (and some would say this is a typical female role in life…) but it’s pretty obvious to the practiced eye who is really driving the bus. If the man can’t take over that role fairly early in the competition, it becomes more and more challenging for the woman to choreograph a dance which covers for the lack of leadership.

It’s rather like what occasionally happens in one of the top symphony orchestras. For some reason or other the orchestra has to schedule a guest conductor who isn’t really proficient. I can think of an example with the Pittsburgh Symphony some years ago, when the CEO of a large foreign manufacturer fancied himself a conductor and was basically buying conducting gigs with excellent orchestras through the bait of a very generous donation.

He wasn’t completely incompetent by any means, unlike the time Brett Keisel conducted the PSO in a mercifully brief number, but he wasn’t really driving the bus. I asked some of the players a few weeks after the concert how they handled something like that, and they said “We just follow the concertmaster (the principal first violin.)” This is fine, and the very standard repertoire generally chosen by such conductors, wisely, means that the players have played it, often as a group as well as individually, many times.

But still, something is missing…

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The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: Seriously Heavy Metal

Today I’m going to profile a group of NFL players who also made music while they were playing. It isn’t my sort, but one has to give them credit for their enthusiasm and note that there is talent there. They are, curiously, not from one or more of the somewhat divo-ish position groups (“divo” is the correct usage, as a “diva” is a woman…) In fact, they come from the trenches (or the trenchermen) and have been billed as bringing true meaning to “heavy” metal.

The men in question are Leonard Davis, bass, Cory Procter, drums, and Marc Colombo on vocals and guitar. They all played on the Dallas offensive line during the time they were getting the band together, although by the time their recording came out (2011) both Proctor and Colombo had been signed by the Dolphins. They are all retired—Davis was the last one still playing, for the 49ers in 2012.

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The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: A Reach?

As most of you know, I am a musician by trade. One of the tools of my trade is a grand piano, and it needs regular tuning. A very fine young man tunes it. He is a musician as well as a piano tuner (which isn’t invariably the case.) He plays numerous instruments and writes both classical and “contemporary” music.

I know Guy through many channels. I first met him when his sister was one of the many Wayward Musicians who lived in our basement apartment. (They weren’t really wayward, but one of the inhabitants christened it the Rollett Home for Wayward Musicians, and the name stuck.)

His parents are also musicians, although I didn’t meet them until after getting to know their daughter. Like his parents, he has sung with my group from time to time. Guy was also a Wayward Musician in his time, and like most of the WM the relationship has morphed into a quasi-adoptive one. As you can tell, he’s a pretty gifted person.

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The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: Amateur Efforts

lebeauIn one of the early posts in this series we looked at the practice routine of a professional musician and the workout routine of an NFL player. The musician was my son, and I just went to hear him play in Carnegie Hall, so I guess practice really does get you there. The NFL player was Clay Mathews, and he seems to have had a pretty reasonable career too.

But this does not mean that music cannot be an enjoyable avocation for a NFL player, and we’re going to look at some examples of this in the weeks to come, in varying degrees of competency.

The idea for this entire Football-Related Music series was actually spurred by Bob Labriola, whose “Asked and Answered” column on is one of my favorite features. It has also resulted in ideas and materials for many a column on this site, which would probably annoy Labriola to no end, so let’s not tell him. Here is the item:

Q: The Pro Bowl is the least entertaining event in all of professional sports. Do you think it would, “spice up the game” by having players switch offensive and defensive positions? Meaning, if you are an offensive player, you must play a defensive position in the Pro Bowl, and vice versa. Some players have already made the switch during this contest anyway.

A: I say we give all of them musical instruments and ask them to play Beethoven. Read more

The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: From Cincinnati to Nashville

mike-reid-200-011411_200x225I apologize for posting about yet another musician who played for one of our rivals, but Mike Reid had the sense to cut his career with the Bengals short. Although it was supposedly to focus on his music career, I’m guessing that the Altoona, PA native just couldn’t live with the cognitive dissonance any more.

Reid’s football career wasn’t particularly short when the average career for an NFL player is something like three and a half years. But for a No. 7 overall pick and two-time all pro (1972 and 1973) it’s a surprisingly short one. Although it is often assumed that multiple hand and knee injuries in the 1974 season made him decide to focus on music, it turns out to be more nuanced than this.

Although Reid made his musical name as a country songwriter and artist, he was an excellent classical pianist, and after majoring in music and graduating from Penn State he was invited to perform a piano concerto with the Utah Symphony. (He also performed with the Dallas and Cincinnati symphony orchestras.)
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The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: You Too Can Play Heinz Field


The following notice caught my eye last Tuesday:

The Steeline, the drumline that performs at Steelers home games and special events, will be holding open auditions for new members.

Now this sounds pretty fine! Who doesn’t like to bang on things and get into Heinz Field on gameday for free? I’m sure many of you out there have paid vast sums to get into the game and then banged on whatever you could find—the back of the seat in front of you, your empty beer can, nearby Ravens fans…

Wouldn’t it be better to harness that aggression into a worthy channel?

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The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: All That Jazz

via, Shawn Peters photo

We’re back to professional musicians today. Very professional. In fact, this gentleman won International Jazz Artist of the Year last fall.

So what’s the football connection?

In this case, it is a man who began life in football (at San Diego State, on a full football scholarship,) but a rotator cuff injury ended his hopes of a football career.

So Gregory Porter took up singing instead.

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