The NFL apparently believed Ed Sheeran would be the perfect celebrity to perform at the NFL Kickoff on Thursday night. The fans thought otherwise.
The four-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter will take the stage in Tampa at 7 p.m. ET. AND before the start of the first game of the season between the Buccaneers and the Cowboys. This is the league’s 20th season having a Thursday night kickoff event.
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Fans don’t know why a singer known for his love ballads is going to pump up a crowd of excited footballers. The two don’t seem to blend together. Since this season marks the return of fans, football fans have been eagerly awaiting an artist who could prepare them for a bit of football. Although Sheeran has released more upbeat songs in recent years (Shape of You is the most played song on Spotify to date), the songs don’t match the typical rock or country music that is normally associated with football games.
The entire gig became somewhat of a meme on Twitter, especially after a graphic the NFL made to promote the event and the release of Sheeran NFL gear. The graph shows Sheeran in the middle between Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. Due to Sheeran’s red hair, many fans at first glance mistook him for Bears quarterback Andy Dalton.
What also makes the appearance strange is that Sheeran is British. The last British singer to headline the NFL Kickoff was Ellie Goulding in 2015. Sheeran is a proclaimed football fan, as in football, support the team from their hometown of Ipswich Town.
But, Sheeran doesn’t believe his appearance is so weird. During Sheerans’ announcement, he explained that when he moved to America in 2013, he became an accidental NFL fan.
“I came to America properly and moved here in 2013, moved to Nashville,” Sheeran said. “I went to Walmart and bought some pajamas. I just went and bought some pajamas… and I was like, ‘What is that symbol?’ I discovered the symbol was the Tennessee Titans, and I’ve been a fan of the Titans ever since. “
For an event that kicked off their performances with Bon Jovi (2002) and Aerosmith (2003), fans aren’t sure what to expect for Thursday night’s performance.
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Who is Ed Sheeran?
The 30-year-old folk-pop singer released his first album over 10 years ago and has been at the forefront of pop music internationally ever since. He is making his musical comeback this year after releasing Bad Habits in June. His new album = is due out on October 29.
Best known for his ballads, such as Thinking Out Loud or Perfect, it tends to be a top choice for a popular wedding dance song. Sheeran has amassed over 60 billion streams and has sold over 50 million albums to date.
The NFL announced on August 6 that the red-haired singer will headline the NFL Kickoff Show.
Fans react to NFL concert decision
Fans weren’t overly pleased with Sheeran being selected by the NFL for this performance. It’s not that fans don’t like Sheeran, it’s that his style of music isn’t an ideal choice to kick off the NFL season.
Here are some reactions from Twitter fans.
No music represents American football like the music of an English popstar whose main audience is teenage girls.
JM (@jim_misfit) September 7, 2021
Who knew when Ed Sheeran was writing Bad Habits it was actually about how OL are less and less preparing for the pros as they move from college to NFL?
Carter Donnick (@ CDonnick3) September 9, 2021
NFL x Sheeran Merchandise
The NFL has put up for sale material bearing the Sheeran name and the NFL logo. The line contains a satin t-shirt, hat and jacket.
As fans wonder who would buy this gear, the next question is why is it so expensive? The jacket, for example, sells for $ 249.99. If you were to purchase one of each product, the total would cost $ 349.97 without added taxes and shipping.
I was just talking to several real people who sure exist and they said they really want sheeran x NFL collaborations. crazy timing https://t.co/pH2XGxZ9mV
charles (crying online) mcdonald (@FourVerts) September 8, 2021
How to watch the concert
If you’d like to watch Sheeran perform, you can stream the concert on NFL.com, the NFL app, and through select NFL social media accounts. Portions of the concert will air on the cover of the NBC and NFL Networks pre-game show.
Is the concert free?
The NFL Kickoff Show is completely free to attendees, and spaces will be first come, first served. Those who attend can show up in their NFL gear and stay to watch the Buccaneers vs Cowboys game after the concert.
The concert will take place at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa, which is only about four miles from Buccaneers Raymond James Stadium.
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