To the biggest audience that American media assembles all year, country star Chris Stapleton came out to start the 2023 NFL Super Bowl by singing the National Anthem, and as expected, knocked it out of the park.
Before the officially pregame festivities, country fans once again got a treat with a recitation of Johnny Cash’s spoken word essay from his 1974 record Ragged Old Flag. First making its debut in 2020 in an extended commercial, perhaps Cash and “Ragged Old Flag” will become a Super Bowl tradition. The patriotic, but also pointed and accurate portrayal of America makes for a great moment to reclaibrate thoughts and minds about the meaning of freedom.
Shortly thereafter, singer Sheryl Lee Ralph came out to perform a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” that was so clearly lip-synced, it was shocking. Would this portend a lip-synced performance from Chris Stapleton? Luckily, it didn’t. Babyface did a much better job performing “America The Beautiful” ahead of Stapleton, turning in an admiral performance himself.
Then it was Chris Stapleton’s turn as the headliner of the pregame festivities. Playing a black Telecaster with the amp behind him and flanked by monitor speakers, Chris Stapleton without his signature feather-crowned hat and wearing rim-horned sunglasses belted out an effortless and stirring rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” making some grown ass men in shoulder pads on the sidelines openly weep. Eagles coach Nick Sirianni had Niagara Falls rolling down his cheeks.
Not a traditional recitation for sure, but perfect for Chris Stapleton’s naturally soulful voice with vibratos and character accents you could never practice or mimic, Stapleton proved why he was a perfect pick for the opportunity.
Will this particular performance go down in history like a few select other National Anthem performances at the Super Bowl? Time will tell, and be the ultimate judge of that. But Chris Stapleton did the best and most flawless rendition of the National Anthem that Chris Stapleton can do. And that is apparently pretty damn spectacular.
Two guns up!
— NFL (@NFL) February 12, 2023