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Buccaneers, Saints, Steelers, and Ravens get their classical music pairing

The spirit animals of the NFC South and AFC North

The Cleveland Browns were named after their first coach and co-founder Paul Brown.
The Cleveland Browns were named after their first coach and co-founder Paul Brown.

As we continue to pair NFL teams with classical music indicative of their style, location, or history, we arrive at the NFC South and the AFC North.

For decades, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were pirates in name only since they didn’t plunder their opponents much. In fact, the Bucs were more the plunderee as opposed to the plunderer. That all changed when Tom Brady, captain blood and guts, came to town. The Buccaneers have earned the right to be represented by Hector Berlioz’s Le Corsair Overture.

Video:

Hector Berlioz Le corsaire, overture, Op 21

Orchestre de Paris, Paavo Järvi, conductor
Live recording. London, Proms 2013

Orchestre de Paris, Paavo Järvi, conductor Live recording. London, Proms 2013

With a team named the Saints, the entirety of sacred music is in play for New Orleans. Funerals are a big part of the culture in New Orleans. With that in mind, we are using some music from a grand Mass for the dead. The “Dies Irae” or “Day of Wrath” from Giusseppe Verdi’s Requiem is the best pairing of music with a team. Can the Saints live up to the sheer force of Verdi’s music or will their season die one game at a time?

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Video:

Verdi’s Requiem: “Dies irae”

Yannick Nézet-Séguin led the Met Orchestra and Chorus.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin led the Met Orchestra and Chorus.

The teams with the fewest musical options are those based on animals. Atlanta’s team is the Falcons. Falcons fly so we can look at music that flies. The Flight of the Bumblebee comes to mind but a falcon is not a bumblebee. The first movement of Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 has always sounded like flying to me so that is the music for the Falcons.

Video:

Felix Mendelssohn - Symphony No.4 in A, "Italian"

1st Movement

1st Movement

The Panthers is a terrible name for a team from Carolina. Pirates and Carolina go together due to the number of wrecked pirate ships along the coast. With the Buccaneers already in division, the pirate moniker was taken. We’re stuck with Panthers which means we’re going to have to do some cultural gymnastics here. Panthers are cats, Mussolini hated cats, Ottorino Respighi was an Italian composer during Mussolini’s rule. Respighi’s best piece of music is “The Pines of the Appian Way” from his Pines of Rome. The Panthers are now the ghosts of the Roman Legions marching along the Appian Way, as depicted in the music. This music is the epitome of a slow burn but the end is epic.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have dominated The AFC North since it became a division in 2002. There is only one piece of music for the Steelers and that is “The Anvil Chorus” from Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore.

Cincinnati has yet another animal mascot requiring us to perform musical free association. The Bengals are tigers. An ancient tiger was the saber-toothed tiger. The “Sabre Dance" by Aram Khachaturian is the music for The Bengals.

The Cleveland Browns were named after their first coach and co-founder Paul Brown. The audacity. Richard Wagner was quite audacious. While he didn’t name any of his operas after himself, he did insert aspects of himself into the hero roles he created. Wagner’s greatest hero, Siegfried, is betrayed and killed, like many a Browns fan. The music for the Browns is “Siegfried’s Funeral March”.

Sticking with Wagner we look to the character of Wotan. Wotan is also known as Odin, and Odin had ravens, Baltimore Ravens in this case. The ravens of Odin symbolize the welcoming of dead heroes into the halls of Valhalla. The Valkyries carry the bodies of the fallen to Valhalla. “The Ride of the Valkyries” is Baltimore’s music.

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The Cleveland Browns were named after their first coach and co-founder Paul Brown.
The Cleveland Browns were named after their first coach and co-founder Paul Brown.

As we continue to pair NFL teams with classical music indicative of their style, location, or history, we arrive at the NFC South and the AFC North.

For decades, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were pirates in name only since they didn’t plunder their opponents much. In fact, the Bucs were more the plunderee as opposed to the plunderer. That all changed when Tom Brady, captain blood and guts, came to town. The Buccaneers have earned the right to be represented by Hector Berlioz’s Le Corsair Overture.

Video:

Hector Berlioz Le corsaire, overture, Op 21

Orchestre de Paris, Paavo Järvi, conductor
Live recording. London, Proms 2013

Orchestre de Paris, Paavo Järvi, conductor Live recording. London, Proms 2013

With a team named the Saints, the entirety of sacred music is in play for New Orleans. Funerals are a big part of the culture in New Orleans. With that in mind, we are using some music from a grand Mass for the dead. The “Dies Irae” or “Day of Wrath” from Giusseppe Verdi’s Requiem is the best pairing of music with a team. Can the Saints live up to the sheer force of Verdi’s music or will their season die one game at a time?

Sponsored
Sponsored
Video:

Verdi’s Requiem: “Dies irae”

Yannick Nézet-Séguin led the Met Orchestra and Chorus.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin led the Met Orchestra and Chorus.

The teams with the fewest musical options are those based on animals. Atlanta’s team is the Falcons. Falcons fly so we can look at music that flies. The Flight of the Bumblebee comes to mind but a falcon is not a bumblebee. The first movement of Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 has always sounded like flying to me so that is the music for the Falcons.

Video:

Felix Mendelssohn - Symphony No.4 in A, "Italian"

1st Movement

1st Movement

The Panthers is a terrible name for a team from Carolina. Pirates and Carolina go together due to the number of wrecked pirate ships along the coast. With the Buccaneers already in division, the pirate moniker was taken. We’re stuck with Panthers which means we’re going to have to do some cultural gymnastics here. Panthers are cats, Mussolini hated cats, Ottorino Respighi was an Italian composer during Mussolini’s rule. Respighi’s best piece of music is “The Pines of the Appian Way” from his Pines of Rome. The Panthers are now the ghosts of the Roman Legions marching along the Appian Way, as depicted in the music. This music is the epitome of a slow burn but the end is epic.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have dominated The AFC North since it became a division in 2002. There is only one piece of music for the Steelers and that is “The Anvil Chorus” from Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore.

Cincinnati has yet another animal mascot requiring us to perform musical free association. The Bengals are tigers. An ancient tiger was the saber-toothed tiger. The “Sabre Dance" by Aram Khachaturian is the music for The Bengals.

The Cleveland Browns were named after their first coach and co-founder Paul Brown. The audacity. Richard Wagner was quite audacious. While he didn’t name any of his operas after himself, he did insert aspects of himself into the hero roles he created. Wagner’s greatest hero, Siegfried, is betrayed and killed, like many a Browns fan. The music for the Browns is “Siegfried’s Funeral March”.

Sticking with Wagner we look to the character of Wotan. Wotan is also known as Odin, and Odin had ravens, Baltimore Ravens in this case. The ravens of Odin symbolize the welcoming of dead heroes into the halls of Valhalla. The Valkyries carry the bodies of the fallen to Valhalla. “The Ride of the Valkyries” is Baltimore’s music.

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