Many of the fine American institutions that prop up our society aren't recognized in any founding documents, and those holding such office given far more regard than we hold for our actual elected officials. Among these exalted figures are the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest winner, the Batman actor of the moment, and of course the current singer of the theme tune to primetime football games.
The mantle has passed over the years, from Hank Williams to Faith Hill to the current herald of "Football Night in America", Carrie Underwood. It's an important title, to be sure; how would we know to prepare ourselves for what we're about to see, what we tuned our televisions to specifically, without someone singing hosannas to the mildly-regulated violence about to occur? But the particular tune viewers accustomed themselves to over the past season might not be the original expression of excitement and anticipation that we would earnestly believe.
The triumvirate of Carrie Underwood, the NFL, and NBC, which airs the Sunday night primetime game, as well as a handful of other parties, have been tackled with a lawsuit alleging that the song used as the introduction for the 2018 season infringed upon the copyrighted work of another artist. Singer Heidi Merrill alleges that Underwood's "Game On" is a direct infringement upon her own song of the same name, which Merrill claims she and her collaborators pitched to Underwood's producer back in 2016, specifically for use as the intro song for the NBC broadcast. The CNN story above has YouTube videos of both songs for comparison.
Merrill is seeking both an injunction and unspecified damages for the alleged infringement. While the songs do seem to bear similarities, it's hard for us non-musicians to distinguish what elements are copied and what are common building blocks of songs. There's also the question of whether Merrill's work was intentionally copied, or if that particular earworm burrowed deep only to reemerge months or years later, misidentified as an original idea, though such a mistake would hardly absolve guilt. Regardless, more likely than not we were going to get a new theme song for the 2019 broadcast, regardless of the lawsuit, although the legal action will undoubtedly hasten the writer's pen.