Singing in style! Country crooner Chris Stapleton kicked off Super Bowl LVII with a rousing rendition of the national anthem.
The “Tennessee Whiskey” singer, 44, performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, before the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles took the field to start the game. Stapleton was accompanied by CODA star Troy Kotsur, the Oscar-winning actor, who performed the anthem in American Sign Language (ASL).
Stapleton played an electric guitar as he crooned and Kotsur signed. Eagles coach Nick Sirianni and player Travis Kelce both shed tears during the performance, which ended with a military flyover, piloted by all women for the first time.
The Grammy Award winner was also joined on the stage by Babyface and Sheryl Lee Ralph, who were tasked with singing “America the Beautiful” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” respectively, before the big game. Colin Denny and Justina Miles, for their parts, signed the classic songs in ASL.
Stapleton joins the ranks of fellow country music peers to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the Super Bowl, including Luke Bryan and Mickey Guyton.
The “Nobody to Blame” crooner, for his part, initially rose to fame in January 2014 when he was first signed as a solo artist. 15 years earlier, Stapleton moved to Nashville and began working as a songwriter for other artists.
“I always just try to write the best songs that I can at any given time,” Stapleton told Rolling Stone in August 2014. “And sometimes those songs are for me, and sometimes they’re for other people. And that’s to be evaluated after the fact.”
The Kentucky native, who shares five children with wife Morgane Stapleton, has counted his brood as his No. 1 support system as his career’s reached new heights.
“I try really hard to be a good singer, but I also want to thank my kids who put up with me being gone quite a bit and not getting to be as good as a dad as I would always like to be,” Chris previously gushed at the 2018 CMA Awards after winning Male Vocalist of the Year. “They’re out there [in the crowd] tonight, and the twin boys and the new one on the way, … I love you so much and sorry when I can’t, you know, share it with all these people and I appreciate it.”
He added at the time: “I want to thank my wife for always, you know, being my rock and taking care of me and … [helping] me find the right thing to be and the right thing to do.”
After Chris’ final note, the Super Bowl game will commence. The NFL championship match itself will make history as the first time that two Black quarterbacks — Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts — faced off. The NFL game also marked the inaugural time that two brothers, Travis Kelce and Jason Kelce, played one another for the Lombardi trophy.
“I’ve learned more and more about the history of Black quarterbacks since I’ve been in this league and the guys that came before me and Jalen set the stage for this,” Mahomes, 27, gushed to USA Today earlier this month. “I’m glad we can set the stage for kids that are coming up now.”
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At halftime, Rihanna is set to rock the State Farm Stadium with renditions of her biggest hits.