Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Gotye and more Hot 100 artists soundtrack our favorite teams and most notable players of 2012.
With the champion New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys squaring off at the Meadowlands on Wednesday night (Sept. 5), another NFL regular season -- and its myriad story lines -- is upon us. Will Eli Manning and the G-Men return to the Super Bowl, or will the dominant Green Bay Packers stop them this year? How good will Peyton Manning be with the Broncos? And can the whippersnapper quarterbacks in Washington, Indianapolis and Cincinnati get the better of aging greats like Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and Michael Vick?
Here at Billboard, we've decided to preview the fresh football season the best way we know how: mixing NFL teams and players with current Hot 100 hits. After all, what better way to get ready for some football than assigning various squads a popular song that represents their current state? Check out these 15 Hot 100 tracks and the NFL entities that they represent.
New England Patriots - Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen, "Good Time"
A pristinely run franchise that is always atop the standings at the end of the season, the Patriots make winning games look as effortless as Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City's friendship. Tom Brady fans don't even have to try -- when they're watching their squad, it's always a good time.
Washington Redskins - Mumford & Sons, "I Will Wait"
After years of quarterback turmoil, hope finally arrives in the form of raw rookie Robert Griffin III. The Redskins probably won't be winning too many games this year, but their fans can wait a year or two for the face of the franchise to become elite.
Denver Broncos - The Wanted, "Glad You Came"
Welcome to the club, Peyton Manning! The Denver faithful are more than a little excited to have one of the league's all-time great QBs under center this season. And just like the boys of the Wanted, the Broncos are certainly glad Mr. Manning has cast a spell on their club.
Indianapolis Colts & Peyton Manning - Taylor Swift, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"
The Colts get to try out their shiny new toy, QB Andrew Luck, this season, and Peyton Manning has moved on to the aforementioned Broncos. Maybe the split wasn't as bitter as T-Swift's latest breakup anthem, but don't hold your breath for #18 to ever, ever return to his former club.
Philadelphia Eagles - No Doubt, "Settle Down"
With the additions of CB Nnamdi Asomugha, DT Cullen Jenkins and DE Jason Babin, there was brash talk of a "dynasty" last year -- well, that didn't really work out, did it? The Eagles finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs. This year, the Birds are looking to follow Gwen Stefani's advice to "Get in line, and settle down" -- Focus on winning games, and for goodness' sake, keeping Michael Vick healthy.
Miami Dolphins - Linkin Park, "Burn It Down"
It's rebuilding time in Miami, as rookie Ryan Tannehill, new head coach Joe Philbin and a not-very-talented supporting cast try to fend off superior division rivals like the Patriots and Jets. Sometimes, to build it back up you have to break it back down, as the wise ones of Linkin Park often say.
Arizona Cardinals - Cher Lloyd, "Want U Back"
Speaking of shaky quarterback situations, Cardinals must be pining for the days when Kurt Warner was guiding them toward playoff appearances. With John Skelton and Kevin Kolb offering mediocre play, the franchise must still be tempted to dial up Warner, one year after he retired.
Terrell Owens & Chad Johnson - Gotye feat. Kimbra, "Somebody That I Used To Know"
Both aging wide receivers were members of squads in the pre-season (T.O. for the Seahawks, Johnson for the Dolphins), and neither are part of those squads now. If it's any consolation for Owens, who was cut before the start of the regular season, at least his exit wasn't televised on HBO's "Hard Knocks." They used to be inescapable superstars, but now they're just somebody that we… well, you know the rest.
San Diego Chargers - Jason Mraz, "I Won't Give Up"
The Chargers franchise has fallen short of expectations for a solid half-decade now, failing to make the Super Bowl during the LaDainian Tomlinson era and then losing out their division last year after a hot start. Still, ownership is sticking with the tandem of QB Philip Rivers and Coach Norv Turner, showing the same tenacity as Jason Mraz on his slow-burning single.
New Orleans Saints - Kelly Clarkson, "Dark Side"
Just two years after a Super Bowl win, the New Orleans Saints were at the forefront of a controversial "bounty" scandal that left various players and head coach Sean Payton suspended for substantial periods. Apparently even the most inspiring teams have, as Kelly Clarkson suggests, a dark side. Can Saints fans love theirs?
New York Jets - Neon Trees, "Everybody Talks"
Make no mistake: the current iteration of the New Jork Jets is a collection of loudmouths. From Coach Rex Ryan to bad boy wideout Santonio Holmes to cocky cornerback Darrelle Revis, Gang Green sure knows how to talk a big game. But the real reason everybody is talking this year? The looming QB controversy between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, which certainly didn't start with a whisper.
Carson Palmer - Katy Perry, "Wide Awake"
If you think about it, Raiders QB Carson Palmer is the perfect pairing with Katy Perry's latest smash single: after smooth sailing in Cincinnati, a statistically awful Palmer had "fallen from cloud 9" and out of favor with his first and only squad. After months of inactivity, Palmer was awoken and shipped to the Raiders -- where his play was markedly improved. Open your eyes, Carson. It's a new day, and you're starting for a competent team in a weak division.
Atlanta Falcons - Imagine Dragons, "It's Time"
A ton of talent exists in the ATL, but three straight playoff appearances has led to three straight playoff losses. Matt "Matty Ice" Ryan has a chip on his shoulder, and RB Michael Turner doesn't have to carry as much of a load anymore, with wideouts Roddy White and Julio Jones making for an explosive tandem. It's time to take the next step, and become a threat in the NFC.
Cincinnati Bengals - fun. featuring Janelle Monae, "We Are Young"
The new-look Bengals surprisingly made the playoffs last year, and QB Andy Dalton, WR AJ Green and that whole defense are only going to get better with time. Can they set the world (or even the fierce AFC North) on fire? Maybe not yet, but with a promising crop of youngsters, Cincy fans should get ready for some fun.
New York Giants - One Direction, "What Makes You Beautiful"
They light up the playoffs like no one else. The way their defense heats up gets us overwhelmed. But when Eli smiles at the ground, it ain't hard to tell, the champs don't know… they don't know they're beautiful. And that's what makes them beautiful.