In Munich, Germany, the party didn’t stop at Allianz Arena, even when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks game was all wrapped up.
Americans sometimes have difficulty grasping the pervasiveness of American pop culture on a global scale, only because the cultural exchange is usually one-way. English has become the world’s lingua franca through several geopolitical processes, including centuries of British imperialism and American imperialism, as well as decades of cultural imperialism emanating from these two nations. “Beatlemania” was celebrated around the world, whereas the global hype for K-pop artists like BTS and the influence of reggaeton on American pop music is a more recent trend.
On the German side, the most prominent example of pop music exchange may be 1983’s “99 Luftaballons” by Nena, a song which remains familiar to millions of Americans. But the NFL Munich game proved that plenty of American rock classics traversed the Atlantic and made an impression on German sports fans.
After the Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 21-16, over 69,811 German and American NFL fans remained in the stands and sang along to American radio classics, including 1971’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver, 1969’s “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond, and 1981’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey.
NFL Munich crowd celebrates cross-cultural exchange during Seahawks-Buccaneers with ‘Country Roads’
After the game, both Seahawks and Buccaneers players and coaches remarked on how the crowd’s energy and unison was infectious.
An NFL podcaster offered some context on the crowd: it was a beautiful melange of Bavarian custom and American music.
There’s even a little Germany-England NFL rivalry brewing now, with the Munich crowd besting Londoners with their enthusiasm.
A love of American football and music proves that Germany is a perfect climate for expanded NFL games… and could perhaps usher in a new era of American exceptionalism.
But for now, the NFL Munich crowd shows American NFL fans that cultures around the world can improve tailgating and crowd culture for the better.