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Country Stars Make Super Bowl Picks and Plans

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It seems like the entire world pretty much stops while NFL’s biggest game is going on, and you can bet most country stars will be gathered around a TV with their pals if they aren’t actually in Dallas for the Super Bowl pitting the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Green Bay Packers. Several of your favorite singers have their own picks for Sunday’s game, as well as their favorite munchies and why they love football.

Faith Hill is becoming almost as synomous with football as Hank Williams, Jr., who has been asking football fans ‘Are You Ready for Some Football?’ as the voice of the theme song for ‘Monday Night Football’ for the past 22 years. Faith has performed the theme song for NBC’s ‘Sunday Night Football’ since 2007, and she was thrilled to do it because she is a big fan of the game, and especially of the Tennessee Titans, as is the rest of the McGraw clan.

“I was so honored because I love football,” Faith explains. “Football in our home is a big deal. And the entire family are huge Tennessee Titan supporters. And I just have a great history with the NFL. I mean, the first year that the stadium opened down for the Tennessee Titans, I sang the national anthem for the first game of the opening of the stadium. That same year, the Titans went to the Super Bowl and I sang the national anthem at the Super Bowl. I accepted the invitation for the national anthem before they were ever in the playoffs. So, it was so exciting [laughs] that our hometown team was there at the Super Bowl. So, it was great fun. I had a blast doing it.”

In 2000, Faith was seen by hundreds of millions of people around the world performing the national anthem prior to the big game. For Faith, being married to Tim McGraw not only meant to love, honor and cherish him, but to love and cherish football as well.

“I’m a football fan. I have to be to be able to have a conversation with my husband during football season. It’s a big deal,” says Faith. “I’ve learned a lot about football over the last 11 years. I understand when to ask a question. Something’s happened on the field, and I don’t quite understand what’s going on, you never ask during a replay. You never ask a question during a replay!”

Faith will be in Dallas, not only for the big game, but also to suit up for a special live episode of ‘CMT Crossroads‘ along with the Pretenders as part of the festivities surrounding Super Bowl XLV. The show will take place during the NFL Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam from the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, Texas, on Saturday, the night before the Super Bowl. Faith will also make an appearance during the big game. She’s featured in a commercial for Teleflora, debuting her new floral bouquet collections.

A big fan of football, Kenny Chesney played receiver for Gibbs High School in East Tennessee. He also suited up for one pro practice a few years ago and was signed to the New Orleans Saints as a free agent. The singer was able to run drills and practice plays — including catching several passes from All-Pro Quarterback Drew Brees before the mid-day break. Kenny, who has now produced two football-related documentaries, says nothing has touched his life the way playing football has.

“I learned how to work hard on the football field. I learned how to trust people on the football field,” he says. “I learned humility on the football field. I learned teamwork on the football field. All those things apply to what you do in your life. If you learn that early on, you have a chance to be really great at something — the ability to be a great friend, a great father, and a great husband.”

Keith Urban is definitely ready for some football and music on Super Bowl Sunday. The hunky musician will perform as part of FOX’s ‘NFL Tailgate Party special leading up to the big game. The show will also include a performance by Maroon 5. Keith previously performed at a pre-Super Bowl event in 2008, along with Usher.

Keith discovered his love and appreciation for the game when he began dating his wife, actress Nicole Kidman. “She’s a passionate, giant supporter,” explains the entertainer. “She’s a big NFL fan, and she sort of turned me on to it. Since I’m from Australia, it was all sort of new to me. Keith even filmed a special documentary last year about the sport, ‘Keith Urban: Half-time in Real Time,’ which he taped while in Dallas to perform at half-time during a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints.

Here’s what some of your other country favorites have to say about their passion for the pigskin:

“This is a classic Super Bowl matchup!” says James Otto. “I’m expecting some smash mouth football! Being a Vikings fan I don’t have a dog in the hunt, but with the Packers being our biggest rival and this year a more than worthy adversary, I wish them the best of luck.”

James played high school football and could have played in college, but decided to pursue a musical career instead. The strapping six-foot-five singer-songwriter still loves the game, though, and his favorite team is the Minnesota Vikings. While catching Sunday’s game, he will be munching on some delicious foods.

“There’s actually this stuff out there that I’ve had a couple of times, and my keyboard player brought on the bus the first time — it’s this buffalo chicken dip. It’s the most amazing thing ever, and has to be the most fattening thing you could possibly eat. It’s got buffalo sauce in it and chicken, but it’s really creamy stuff, like chip dip. I could literally eat a whole pan of that stuff. It’s just incredible. That’s like the best thing ever, and it’s my new favorite. But obviously, wings and all of that other stuff is great. That’s just an excuse to drink beer and stuff yourself, I guess!”

“I think the Steelers are gonna come out on top of this one,” says Frankie Ballard. “Experience goes a long way in the big dance. The Packers are strong though, I expect it to be close, but in the end, I say Pittsburgh 27 Green Bay 17.”

“I’ll go with the Steelers,” says Ryan Fleener of the Dirt Drifters. “Because the Packers beat my Bears!!! Get out the terrible towels!!”

Brett Eldredge has “TONS of respect for both teams in the Super Bowl” but says the Steelers are going to be tough to beat. “My father is a die-hard Packers fan and I would love for him to be able to see them win one last time before the BEARS TAKE OVER for many years to come!”

Carrie Underwood loves sports. A softball player growing up, the singer is now married to professional hockey player Mike Fisher, but her favorite sport to watch is football. An avid Dallas Cowboys fan, she also admits to having an affinity for the Tennessee Titans. “I’ll say they’re my second team,” she proclaims. “I spent 22 years in Oklahoma, and if I’m here 22 more years, then we will talk about my favorite team. [laughs]” Carrie has performed the national anthem at various sports functions over the years, including last year’s Super Bowl.

Toby Keith started playing football when he was just 5 years old. Later, he even played for the Oklahoma City Drillers, a farm team for the USFL (United States Football League) Oklahoma Outlaws. “I missed playing football so bad,” Toby says. “I wished I’d kicked my butt in high school and gone on to play in college. So I tried out, and I actually made the cut.” At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, Toby played defensive end for two years, still managing to play with his band, where size was also an asset: When a fight broke out in the bar, he’d put down his guitar and jump offstage to restore order. His physical displays on the football field would be short-lived, however; when the USFL hit the skids, Toby turned to making music full-time.

“Ever since I was 5 years old, I’ve loved football,” says Darius Rucker, who has several television sets in his “man cave” at home in South Carolina. “I love how physical it is, and I love the chess game. I love the speed of the game. I love college football, but watching professional football is better because the speed is so much better. There are two times a year, man — football season and waiting for football season.”

Being a North Carolina native, Kellie Pickler has loyalties to the Panthers, as well as her current home team, the Tennessee Titans, but she just loves the intensity of the game. “I love football,” says the newlywed. “I think it’s great. It’s fun. You can take the whole family and go to a game … and it is intense and you sit on the end of your chair, and it’s just a fun sport to follow.”

After performing the halftime show at the AFC Championship Game a couple of weeks ago, Joe Nichols prediction for Sunday’s big game is the Pittsburgh Steelers. “They are pretty dadgum physical. They’re a pretty good team, and I think they’ve got the best defensive player in football in Troy Polamalu. I think the guy is a once-in-a-generation type of player, just makes some incredible plays. So, I think they’re going to be pretty tough to beat. I love Green Bay. I love their fans, I love their passion, I love their city. I love everything about that franchise, and love that it’s owned by the city. But it’s going to be tough one to beat the Steelers. They look pretty good. It’s going to come down to whoever’s faster on that turf in Cowboys’ Stadium. The weather is not going to be a factor in this game. Although Green Bay looks pretty quick, and their defense looks pretty physical and very fast. I’m going to probably say the Steelers edge it out in a 24 to 21 type of score.”

Joe also has some predictions and wishes for the 2011-2012 season. “I think we’ll see some good trades. I think the Cowboys are going to be loaded, and we’ll see how my [Tennessee] Titans do as well. I’m hoping they can get it straightened out!”
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The Band Perry are also feeling a Steelers win on Sunday. “Go Steelers!,” says Neil Perry. His brother and bandmate Reid is looking forward to the game, especially after catching some of the preparations for the big game. “We were in Dallas, and they were getting ready for the Super Bowl,” recalls Reid. “We were watching the Green Bay Packers and Steelers win. I was hoping it was going to come down as a Packers-Steelers game.” Having performed prior to one of the Pittsburgh regular season games last year, Kimberly Perry says the Steelers may not want them back any time soon. “We actually got to sing the national anthem at a Steelers’ game this year,” she notes. “It happened to be one that they lost, so I’m not sure the Band Perry are like a good luck charm. I don’t think that helped them out at all.”

Justin Moore is a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan, but he feels the Green Bay Packers will pull out a win in Sunday’s matchup. “Being from Arkansas, we don’t have any pro teams. So, I just kind of adopted the Steelers based on the fact that a guy that’s involved with our record label is a huge Steelers fan, and my bass player’s from Pittsburgh and is a huge Steelers fan, so I’ll be a Steelers fan. It pains me to say that I kind of feel like the Packers are gonna win in a close game. I think they’re peaking at the right time, and I think Aaron Rogers is the x-factor. But I am a Steelers fan. I’m pulling for them.”

Montgomery Gentry‘s Eddie Montgomery is a huge Cincinnati Bengals fan, and that is a bit of a understatement. “I wore Bengals stuff ever since I was a little bitty kid,” he tells The Boot. “I became a Cincinnati fan because of my granddad. I noticed him when he was working on the farm cutting tobacco and baling hay and stuff; he got a little TV, when the Bengals or the Cincinnati Reds came on, all of a sudden we had to take a little break from working in the fields. So I become a fan by that, and I’ve always wore the jerseys. I’ve always been a big Bengals fan even when we got ragged on when we sucked so bad.” While the Bengals didn’t do that well this year, Eddie says there’s always next year.

Although he played baseball in school, Chuck Wicks is a huge football fan. While he’ll be checking out the point spread for Sunday’s big game, he’ll confesses he’ll be checking out the food spread as well. “Wings. You’ve got to have the wings,” Chuck tells The Boot. “Got to have the buffalo wings — boneless and bone-in just to please everybody.”

Martina McBride, who performed the national anthem prior to the AFC Championship Game when Pittsburgh trumped the New York Jets a couple of weeks ago, has been tapped to headline the Taste of the NFL food-tasting event, which is just part of the festivities leading up to this year’s Super Bowl. The performance will take place on February 5 at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Texas.

“I am a huge sucker for inspirational stories and Aaron Rogers fits right into that group,” says Denise Jones from the group Point of Grace. “He is one of those players who has taken the back seat for many years but continued to persevere. It will make me so happy to see him and the rest of the Packers team win this year’s Super Bowl.”

Lady Antebellum will play a part in pre-Super Bowl festivities, as well. Their song ‘Stars Tonight,’ from the ‘Need You Now‘ album, will kick off the official NFL pre-game Westwood One radio coverage of Super Bowl XLV on Sunday. A special version of the song, mixed with highlights of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ and Green Bay Packers’ winning seasons, will be aired on more than 640 radio stations. The trio will also be heard after the show as the cast of the popular FOX series ‘Glee’ will be performing Lady A’s ‘Need You Now‘ for their special Super Bowl-themed show on Sunday.

Dierks Bentley and Jack Ingram will also be part of the festivities surrounding the Super Bowl. The pair will perform at a Dallas-area hotel, which is being renamed the Bud Light Hotel through February 6. Dierks and Jack will perform on Super Bowl Sunday as part of what is being dubbed “Texas’ Largest Tailgate,” just prior to the game.

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