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The seven best (and two worst) TV sports theme songs


Few things in life create a distinct passion and nostalgia like sports and music. Combine those two things and you get... something people don't think about enough. Until today.

Like walking into your grandmother's kitchen, one lick of a good sports theme song should immediately put you back in that place. A bad theme song can ruin the entire viewing experience - or at least time your channel flipping so that you miss the intro and outro of each commercial break. Because it's a Wednesday in the middle of May, behold FootballScoop's official rankings to the seven best and two worst sports theme songs. One note, though. These rankings are filtered through our own lens of the world. Disagree with the rankings or the order? That's great. Create your own rankings and we'll compare.

First, the two worst:

- The NFL on CBS: I'm not a fan of CBS's NFL coverage anyway, and this doesn't help. They was clearly going for the NFL on FOX vibe here, and they missed. Horribly.

The official soundtrack of... Your Sunday afternoon nap.

- The Masters on CBS: The Olympics (see below) and the U.S. Open theme songs do a wonderful job of showing how a theme can add gusto without adding volume. Instead, we get all the false reverence the Masters engenders in aural form.

The official soundtrack of... Your Aunt Lisa's third wedding.

And now the seven best.

7. NCAA Tournament on CBS: Going with the older theme here, the one before Turner entered the mix because it harkens to the good old days of the NCAA Tournament.

The official soundtrack of... It's 10:47 p.m. and I've been on the couch for the last 11 hours, but, wait, there's another game on? How could there possibly be another game on? Well, I guess I'd better watch.

6. Olympics on NBC: Nothing in sports offers the pomp and circumstance of the Olympics, and NBC's theme song - officially known as Leo Arnaud's "Bugler's Dream" - captures the mood perfectly.

The official soundtrack of... Settling in on the couch for a night of sports you'd never otherwise watch broadcasted from a place you've probably never been.

5. Monday Night Football on ABC: The theme song that became so big it was eventually its own institution, until everyone realized the man at the center of that institution was crazy. Still, back in the day, nothing got you more amped to watch a game pitting two teams you don't care about better than this music.

The official soundtrack of... A game you may or may not watch on a Sunday, but it's football on Monday night so why not?

4. SEC on CBS: There may not be a more visually pleasing broadcast in all of sports than the SEC on CBS. Between the sharp colors every SEC team wears, the palatial grass fields on which nearly every team plays and the unmatched pageantry in the stands, SEC games on CBS are visual masterpieces, and this distinctive tune gives CBS the theme song to match. It's a fight song that holds its own with the tunes belted out after every scoring play.

The official soundtrack of... A sunny Saturday afternoon of hard-hitting, low-scoring football in Tuscaloosa or Gainesville.

3. NFL on FOX: In short, this is everything a sports theme song should be. It's boisterous without being loud. It implies a sense of extreme importance without a sense of pretentiousness. In fact, I would have no argument if you ranked the NFL on FOX No. 1 in your own personal rankings.

The official sountrack of.... An overcast January Sunday afternoon in Green Bay.

2. College football on ABC: ABC has used a number of variations of a similar theme through the years, coinciding with the "ESPN on ABC" branding initiative that began in the middle of the last decade.

The office soundtrack of.... Brent Musberger beaming "YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE!" from a packed stadium in Lincoln or Columbus or Tallahassee.

1. NBA on NBC: The undisputed king on our rankings, NBC's "Roundball Rock" is a theme song so good it took on a life of its own.

The official soundtrack of... Please. Allow me.