In the quaint times before they had Twitter and YouTube at their disposal, NFL teams could only express themselves in one way: through terrible, terrible songs. For a stretch between 1985 and the early 1990s, group songs featuring football teams were at least as popular as the West Coast offense, and each tune had its own music video. The '85 Bears started the trend, and since the NFL is a copycat league, other franchises jumped into the music biz. Here are a few of the finest examples of gridiron crooners.
1. 1985 Bears: "The Super Bowl Shuffle"
Of course, we have to start with the original team rap video. The juggernaut 1985 Chicago Bears recorded their famous tune to let the rest of the league know just how terrific they were, but the proceeds from the song actually went to charity. (That explains Walter Payton's verse about feeding the needy.) Current 49ers coach Mike Singletary also pulls off the feat of looking terrifying while also wearing 80s-style nerd glasses.
How popular was the Shuffle? It actually got a Grammy nomination for Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance—Duo or Group, in the same category as "Word Up" by Cameo and "Kiss" by Prince & The Revolution, who beat out The Monsters of the Midway for the award.
2. 1986 Raiders: "Silver and Black Attack"
Howie Long is a many of many talents: playing killer defense, analyzing games, shilling for Radio Shack"¦the man has covered a lot of bases. Unfortunately, though, he didn't drop rhymes quite as effortlessly as he dropped QBs. Check out this track by the 1986 Oakland Raiders, which features Long, Marcus Allen, and Matt Millen:
3. 1986 Rams: "Ram It"
The Los Angeles Rams may not have always been the most intimidating squad on the field, but when they stepped into the recording studio and morphed into the Rammers, anything was possible. The lyrical content alone of Rammers' mid-80s hit "Ram It" will make listeners forget everything they thought they knew about unintentional comedy.
4. 1985 Seahawks: "Locker Room Rock"
Ever want to see noted ticket scalper and former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Tice try to motivate the moribund Seattle Seahawks' fanbase? This little ditty from 1985 should scratch that itch.
5. 1988 Eagles: "Buddy's Watching You"
The 1988 Philadelphia Eagles were under the watchful eye of head coach Buddy Ryan, and they wanted to let everyone know it. What better way than in song form? Elusive quarterback Randall Cunningham turns in a nice verse here, as does the late Reggie White, but the real showstopper is kicker Luis Zendejas' awkward, stilted delivery of his lines about being a nervous kicker.
6. 1988-89 (?) 49ers: "49ers Rap"
The 49ers of the '80s were quite a dynasty, and running back Roger Craig was not afraid to rap about it. Jerry Rice and the rest of his teammates weigh in, too. Rice's dance moves sure don't foreshadow his success on Dancing With the Stars.
[Editor's Note: Can any 49ers fans figure out exactly when this was recorded? Bill Walsh resigned on January 26, 1989, four days after San Francisco won their third Super Bowl. So it couldn't have been after that. So unless it was recorded between winning the title and losing their coach, calling themselves the "Team of the '80s" multiple times seems a bit presumptive. The Redskins had already won two titles and had been to a third Super Bowl that decade. These are the kinds of stupid things that keep me up at night. These things and the knowledge that at one point I owned multiple pairs of Zubaz pants. Keep watching. --Jason]
7. 1991 (?) Dolphins: "Can't Touch Us"
Nothing says "artistic integrity" quite like ripping off MC Hammer. That's what the Miami Dolphins did in this incredible tune by Cory and the Fins from the early "˜90s. It's hard to argue with any video that's got not only a cheesy opening skit, but also gratuitous use of Zubaz and dancing Hooters girls.
Bonus Baseball Clip: 1986 Dodgers: "The Baseball Boogie"
Making music videos seemed like so much fun that the 1986 Los Angeles Dodgers, also known as the Baseball Boogie Bunch, apparently couldn't resist joining in. Before I saw this, Orel Hershiser was at the top of my list of "Guys I Can't Picture as Music Video Background Dancers," but the proof is right here (though Orel did make an appearance in the 1991 support-the-troops anthem "Voices That Care"). Unfortunately, the Dodgers didn't play much better than they boogied; they finished the 1986 season with a 73-89 record, good for fifth place in the NL West. Keep your eyes peeled for Mike Scioscia and current Dodgers first base coach Mariano Duncan.