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Burdell’s Bracket 2022: Sports Television Broadcast Theme Music - Sweet Sixteen

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In which the decisions become substantially more difficult.

Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl LVI Victory Parade & Rally
I needed a picture to put here.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Methodology, Schedule, and Bracket:

A bunch of sports themes were listened to. Some were snubbed, and some forgotten about. Sorry, “One Shining Moment.” A set of automatic qualifiers were invited to maintain a broad range of representation. Last week, we voted on the first round, whittling the field down to a Sweet Sixteen. You can check out all 8 of our matchups for that round in the article below. For the results from last week, check the bracket in the next section.

Schedule and Bracket:

Updated Tournament Bracket.
Jake Grant

Winner will be decided via the sum of polls embedded in the article and Twitter. The Elite Eight will be released on Friday, while the Final Four will drop the Friday before the men’s real-life Final Four, with the Championship coinciding with that game.


#1 March Madness Theme (NCAA Basketball on CBS) vs. #16 NBA on ESPN

#1: This theme not only perfectly matches its sport and context, but it is the theme song for an entire month of the sports calendar. Most Americans, let alone American sports fans, likely know exactly what this song is within the first two beats of it playing. It is also the song for the phenomenon that birthed this here fine format. Taking a page out of Jon Rothstein’s playbook, this theme, quite literally, is March. A newer theme is used here, but throughout all of its iterations it has been superlative.

#16: This one is kind of a beta version of Roundball Rock, but still brings back solid implications of a big Friday or Sunday night basketball game, or perhaps the NBA Finals.

Poll

#1 March Madness Theme (NCAA Basketball on CBS) vs. #16 NBA on ESPN

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    March Madness Theme
    (15 votes)
  • 16%
    NBA on ESPN
    (3 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now

#8 Heavy Action (Monday Night Football) vs. #9 BCS Theme

#8: Provides a great setting for football - it is strong, without being imposing or over the top. It is also a key indicator that a theme has staying power when, much like Roundball Rock, the theme transcends its broadcaster, league, or calendar period to earn a name of its own.

#9: Try to hear this without hearing the phrase “you are looking live” popping into the back of your head. It can’t be done. The perfect musical setting for the country’s sporting event most associated with a specific date and time and place, the Rose Bowl.

Poll

#8 Heavy Action (Monday Night Football) vs. #9 BCS Theme

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Heavy Action
    (10 votes)
  • 41%
    BCS Theme
    (7 votes)
17 votes total Vote Now

#4 SEC on CBS (NCAA Football on CBS) vs. #20 The Thrill of Victory (Golf on CBS)

#4: CBS may not air the most sports, but they are certainly represented well on this list. As much as the general anti-SEC fan in me hates to admit it, this is the setting for the biggest game of the week, and unlike a lot of great football themes, it manages to stay upbeat and exciting, rather than feel very imposing and plodding. There’s likely a lot of that bias on the list - sports are fun! - but uptempo, lively themes really resonate with me.

#20: I’ll admit it, it makes me sad to not see the NHL on NBC move on, but, that’s the point of the vote.

I honestly didn’t know this wasn’t a derivative of the NFL on CBS theme until writing this up. I also didn’t realize CBS only used it for the Masters, and has only used it for a relatively short time. The more you know!

Poll

#4 SEC on CBS (NCAA Football on CBS) vs. #20 The Thrill of Victory (Golf on CBS)

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    SEC on CBS
    (13 votes)
  • 27%
    The Thrill of Victory
    (5 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now

#5 ESPN College Football (pre-2014) vs. #12 F1 Theme

#5: This is an excellent fit for college football, be it by tone, instrumentation, memorability, or originality. The marching band and drumline sound immediately conjures college football in particular, and the soaring, aspiring nature of the song both lends fun and excitement to the event at hand. It was tough not to rank this higher, but, even independent of that, it is among my personal go-tos.

#12: If you are unfamiliar with this one - as I was - I IMPLORE you to take a listen before you vote. It takes a bit to get to the main part, and the faint car sounds are a bit much, but throwing a choir into a theme, much like the Duel of the Fates in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, adds an intensity that you don’t really know you are missing out on until you have it. Perhaps this is my preconceived notion of F1 as a primarily European concept and this being a very classical live setting for the recording, but this also feels to fit the moneyed globalist notion I have of the sport.

Poll

#5 ESPN College Football (pre-2014) vs. #12 F1 Theme

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    ESPN College Football (pre-2014)
    (13 votes)
  • 23%
    F1 Theme
    (4 votes)
17 votes total Vote Now

#2 Roundball Rock vs. #18 NFL on FOX

This matchup intrigues me. What is stronger, the power of nostalgia, or that of the most ubiquitous American sports league?

#2: There’s an SNL skit based on this for a reason. It framed an entire generation of the very best NBA games and was so culturally relevant, beloved, and missed, that FOX acquired the rights to the theme from NBC to pump some life back into the theme, resonate with viewers, and, dare I say it, make their broadcasts a bit less generic. Also of note, in a Forbes article on the switch, they say “this time of year, more people start paying attention to college basketball, a sport that caters to a niche audience until around the NCAA tournament,” which is objectively a terrible take.

#18: The amount of people that claim this deserves any superlative other than overrated is mind boggling to me. Maybe I’m biased as a hockey, baseball, and college sports guy, but after the introduction, I don’t find this all that inspiring. I will likely get destroyed over this take, but, really, there are just so many better options out there. A suggestion from the writer’s room was to use the elevator music cover that they play during injuries instead, but that felt a bit tacky.

Poll

#2 Roundball Rock vs. #18 NFL on FOX

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Roundball Rock
    (7 votes)
  • 58%
    NFL on FOX
    (10 votes)
17 votes total Vote Now

#7 MLB on FOX vs. #10 NBA on TNT

#7: Remember when they phased this out for a while in favor of a version of the NFL theme? Me too. There’s a reason it’s back, though, after a few years of hiatus. As notable as the NFL theme is, MLB is its own entity, and, well, this one is both catchy and interesting. Perhaps this a benefactor of my bias towards uptempo and higher energy numbers, but, if I’m wrong, then tell us via your votes.

#10: This one takes a long time to build to where it is going - which hurts it relative to the rest of the top ten - but I am a sucker for a build that pays off, too, and though TNT makes you earn it, this one certainly does, too. It is fast, its catchy, and the vibe fits the pace of a basketball game. What is not to love?

Poll

#7 MLB on FOX vs. #10 NBA on TNT

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    MLB on FOX
    (15 votes)
  • 11%
    NBA on TNT
    (2 votes)
17 votes total Vote Now

#3 NHL on ESPN vs. #14 NFL on CBS

NHL on ESPN was nearly the subject of what would have been, in this humble writer’s opinion, a massive upset. However, there also were not a ton of votes in either poll, so perhaps it and the Champions League Anthem did not draw strong emotions either way. Both could be valid.

#3: For 17 years, this iconic sports theme sat in a dusty basement, banished to the back corners of memory. Speaking for my generation of sports fan, it did not hardly register on the consciousness of most people under about 25. That is, until it was brought back to great fanfare, revitalized, and sounds as good as ever. There is a clear sense of gravity and tension, perfect for setting the scene for hockey. I cannot wait until it is queueing in a playoff game. Feel free to skip to the live orchestra version of this embed, but the story and interviews here are a treasure you don’t often get to see in conjunction with an iconic theme.

#14: I hear this and I think “a very big game is about to come on,” but then I remembered that it also plays during most Jaguars games, so maybe not.

Poll

#3 NHL on ESPN vs. #14 NFL on CBS

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    NHL on ESPN
    (4 votes)
  • 76%
    NFL on CBS
    (13 votes)
17 votes total Vote Now

#6 Olympic Fanfare / Bugler’s Dream vs. #11 Baseball Tonight (MLB on ESPN)

#6: John Williams wrote a fanfare for a sporting event, and it absolutely fits the tone of the Olympics. Plenty of stuffy formality and flourishes, but that isn’t to say it is bad. It just fits what it is supposed to represent.

#11: This is likely my most biased pick, and a younger me probably would have this as a number one overall pick. However, with the end of Baseball Tonight, the melody has been slowed down and slowly drowned out by flourishes and overwhelmed in length by an interminable vamp. In a more vintage state, it was great, but now seemingly rests on its laurels.

Current:

Classic:

Poll

#6 Olympic Fanfare / Bugler’s Dream vs. #11 Baseball Tonight (MLB on ESPN)

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    Olympic Fanfare / Bugler’s Dream
    (14 votes)
  • 12%
    Baseball Tonight
    (2 votes)
16 votes total Vote Now

Results from the Sweet Sixteen and the polls for the Elite Eight will be out on Friday.