Sports and pop culture have never blended together as seamlessly as they did when the 1985 Chicago Bears released the “Super Bowl Shuffle” months in advance of Super Bowl XX.
From the New York Giants to the Cleveland Browns, teams tried to duplicate the cultural phenomenon the “Shuffle” became. Unfortunately, none could match the awesomeness (yes that is a word) that Jim McMahon, Walter Payton, Richard Dent, Wilber Marshall and Kevin Butler brought to America’s television screens.
Music and football, you see, are now forever linked.
With that in mind, let’s look at the 10 best Billboard No. 1 song of the year/Super Bowl champion combinations during the last 26 years.
Why 26 years and not, say, 25 or 30 you ask? It is simple. That was the only way to include the Chicago Bears and, as we will see, the pairing is priceless.
What are the criteria for inclusion?
First, the song had to be the Billboard Music No. 1 song for the year in which the Super Bowl was played.
Second, the team had to win the Super Bowl.
That is all.
As for the 10 best, well that was purely arbitrary.
That is to say, I picked the ones I liked the best.
Super Bowl XXX saw the Dallas Cowboys defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17 in a game that was not as close as the score indicated. That same year, Los Del Rio released “Macarena,” every wedding goer’s favorite song. Unfortunately, it is the worst song ever released and I refuse to include it.
John Elway won Super Bowl XXXII and during the same year Next released “Too Close,” which proved to be their only No. 1 hit. The pairing misses the mark because I respect Elway too much to forever link his name with the song “Too Close.”
The San Francisco 49ers faced off with the San Diego Chargers during Super Bowl XXIII and won 49-26 in a game that fits the title of Chicago’s No. 1 smash, “Look Away” perfectly.
Had the No. 3 hit that year, Poison’s “Every Rose has Its Thorn” been No. 1, this would be a no-brainer, but it wasn’t. Chicago misses the mark here.
Now, without further ado, I proudly present the Super Bowl champion/Billboard No. 1 hit fusion list.
He would have to go the way of Wilson Phillips and “Hold On” for a few more years in order to get another chance.
Super Bowl XXVIII was a laugher for two reasons.
Second, they got handled…again.
I think the Swedish group Ace of Base released “The Sign” just for the Bills because we all saw the signs that Jim Kelly and Scott Norwood were destined for failure…again.
Super Bowl XXII marks Elway’s second appearance on the fusion list and he had to keep the faith following the Broncos 42-10 defeat at the hands of the Washington Redskins, which makes Billboard’s No. 1 hit that year a match made in heaven.
George Michael‘s No. 1 hit “Faith” took the charts by storm and Elway would have to keep it for a full decade before reaching football nirvana.
Super Bowl XXVII was the Dallas Cowboys' first title since 1978 and Dallas fans, along with head coach Jerry Johnson, will always love them Cowboys, which makes the No. 1 hit that year all the more apropos.
Whitney Houston released her seminal classic “I Will Always Love You” after the Cowboys victory. A blend of grace and power, the song matched that year’s championship team.
How wrong they were.
Lyrics are a pretty poor fit here, but no list is complete without Flo Rida.
The very next year saw the Steelers edge the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 27-23. The game was relatively slow until the very end when, just like the No. 1 song of the year, things went “Boom Boom Pow” during Super Bowl XLIII.
The Black Eyed Peas must have had Larry Fitzgerald on speed dial because the game “gotta-get-get” crazy quick.
The Steelers ended up on top in a lightning finish.
Super Bowl XXXIV had one of the most exciting finishes ever and Faith Hill was as right as her No. 1 hit “Breathe” led us to believe.
What a game, and Hill would go on to excite MNF fans every week.
Super Bowl XLIV pitted the New Orleans Saints against the Indianapolis Colts. Peyton Manning was on the clock in his second SB appearance.
Ke$ha must have been onto something because her smash hit “Tik Tok” ruled the airwaves in the same year.
New Orleans was also on the clock for the party of a lifetime when the Saints celebrated their first title.
The New York Giants are back on the fusion list thanks to Super Bowl XXV in 1991. They defeated the Buffalo Bills 20-19 as Scott Norwood famously missed a field-goal in the waning moments wide right.
While the No. 1 song that year has no bearing on the game (or anything else remotely related to sports for that matter), it is too funny to pass up.
Bryan Adams lit up homecoming dances across the country with his hit “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You,” which was in the Kevin Costner “classic” Robin Hood.
Just priceless, I can’t make it up.
It started with the Chicago Bears and it ends there.
The year the Bears demolished the Patriots 46-10, Dionne and Friends told America “That’s What Friends Are For.”
Imaging Mike Ditka telling Walter Payton that he’d be on his side “forever more, cause that’s what friends are for.”
Ah Dionne, how do you know Coach so well?