The 2013 NFL regular season is moments away. While marching bands and drumlines are most associated with college and high school football teams, but in recent years the National Football League has incorporated marching percussion to game day festivities. Not all teams have drumlines or live music but the ones that do have left a lasting impression with fans, playing for tailgaters, in the entrance tunnel, and throughout the game.
Blue Thunder, the Seattle Seahawks drumline, has performed with other famous drummers and musicians as part of their performances. Alan White (YES, John Lennon, George Harrison), Will Calhoun (Living Colour), David Garibaldi (Tower of Power), Byron McMackin (Pennywise), Mike Derosier (Heart), Queensryche, Steve Smith (Journey, Vital Information), and Yuri Ruley (MxPx) have all worked with Blue Thunder. The majority of performing ensembles assiciated with NFL teams are attracting high quality full throttle performers. The San Francisco 49ers drumline, Niner Noise, is managed by Blue Devils Entertainment, the same company as the fifteen-time Drum Corps International World Chamption Blue Devils. Scott Johnson has been the head drum instructor for the Blue Devils and in his career earned twelve DCI High Percussion titles, making anyone associated with this organization quite qualified in high energy and quality crowd-pleasing performances. Another drumline, Stampede, of the Denver Broncos, is also associated with a World Class Drum and Bugle Corps, the Blue Knights/Ascend Performing Arts.
The New Orleans Saints has a unique group of performers that aren't officially affiliated with the team. The Fat City Drum and Bugle Corps, FC/DC, is a social organization of drummers in the New Orleans area. FC/DC was originally founded in 2004 as a social organization for drummers in the area to share their talents with each other. The organization all but ceased in meeting and operation when Hurricane Katrina hit in the Fall of 2005. FC/DC was re-formed in Spring of 2006 and started performing for tailgaters near the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome. With the opening of Champions Square, FC/DC was able to have a performance area closer to the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome and also within Champions Square itself. In 2012, FC/DC was asked to perform for the New Orleans Saints pre-game festivities inside the SuperDome, and still continue to perform around the dome before pre-game festivities.
There have been a few percussion ensembles that have come and gone for various reasons, the shortest being the St. Louis Rams' The Battering Rams. The Battering Rams' first, last, and only season was 2008. Recently, the Indianapolis Colts drumline was also discontinued. Of the teams that have no live music the Oakland Raiders often have live performances by ensembles from the Santa ClaraVanguard Drum and Bugle Corps and their indoor/winter ensembles.
The NFL is also home to two complete marching bands with the Baltimore Ravens being the largest band, Washington Redskins being the oldest. The Redskins marching bands was formed in 1937 and have had some members in the band for 50 or more years! The Baltimore Ravens band has 150 members and in the off season represents Baltimore and the Ravens at various events throughout the United States.
Other football teams have drumlines:
Kansas City Chiefs - Chiefs Rumble
Dallas Cowboys - Rhythm and Blue Drummers
Carolina Panthers - PurrCussion
Green Bay - Tundra Drumline
Pittsburgh Steelers - Steeline
Some of these groups are part-time paid employees and others are volunteers, but the outlet they provide to these unique musicians and the added enthusiasm they generate for the team's fan base is unparalleled.
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