By Jeff Labrecque
Updated August 15, 2011 at 04:05 PM EDT

For years, the unofficial anthem of NFL football has been Hank Williams Jr.’s “Are You Ready For Some Football?”, the subtle-as-Vegas diddy that kicked off ABC and ESPN’s primetime telecasts. And when you’re actually at a game, the stadium rock music rarely strays far from Queen or George Thorogood. So I have to admit I sat up in my sofa and leaned forward this weekend when I saw the new NFL commercial that welcomes back fans after the labor lockout threatened the upcoming season. A football gets passed around from different people in different settings, and the song tying it together is “Change of Time,” by folk-rocker Josh Ritter. Take a look.

It’s a gorgeous song, from Ritter’s 2010 album, So Runs the World Away, and it’s refreshing to me that the NFL decided to tap the vein of nostalgia rather than the violent collisions they often promote instead. With all the recent studies about the devastating effects of football concussions, maybe this is the kinder, gentler game the NFL hopes to sell. I like the sound of it.

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