Carrie Underwood Faces Lawsuit Alleging She Stole ‘Game On’ NFL Song

By Tiffany Meier

Carrie Underwood, the NFL, and NBC are facing a lawsuit for allegedly copying another singer’s material for the 2018 “Sunday Night Football” theme song, according to multiple reports.

In a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday, June 19, a songwriting team claimed that Underwood’s “Game On” song was a “slightly modified” version of a song by the same name by singer Heidi Merrill that was released in 2016, according to The Associated Press.

Merrill claimed that she pitched the song to Underwood’s producer in 2017 as a possible “Sunday Night Football” theme, but the producer responded through an assistant at the time: “I’m sorry, we’re going to have to pass,” according to the report.

In the lawsuit, Merrill argued that Underwood’s song is “substantially—even strikingly—similar, if not identical” to her song, in title as well as tempo, etc., according to Billboard.

“The Defendants knowingly, willfully, and intentionally copied original, copyrightable elements of the Plaintiffs’ original Work,” the complaint read, “publicly performed or displayed the Infringing Song, and otherwise violated the Plaintiffs’ exclusive copyrights in the Work for substantial personal and commercial gain,” according to the report.

Singer Carrie Underwood performs during the pregame show prior to Super Bowl XLIV
Singer Carrie Underwood performs during the pregame show prior to Super Bowl XLIV between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Feb. 7, 2010. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The lawsuit sought unspecified damages, saying the copyright was violated on the song that had been pitched to Underwood’s representatives in 2017.

The songwriter group that filed the lawsuit is composed of four individuals, including Merrill.

Representatives for Underwood, the NFL, and NBCUniversal Media LLC have not issued any statements in response.

Below are videos of the two songs for comparison:

Following the news of the lawsuit, several people took to social media to comment on the issue.

“Sorry, I am no fan of Underwood or the NFL, I am just a musician and music fan in general… Other than the actual words ‘Game on’ this is not even the same song. Sorry, you have to work harder or catch your own break. Music is tough, not everybody makes it,” one person commented.

Another person disagreed and commented, “Pretty obvious they ripped this lady off. They’ll end up paying her off. Sorry Underwood fans, I know you don’t want it to be true.”

However, some people thought the whole lawsuit was more about a publicity stunt.

“I was on here about a hour ago the video had 1.3k views.. now it has 46k damn,” one person wrote.

Another commented: “Yeah it’s gonna be tough to prove that they stole this. I played them both together and I don’t know if there is enough similarity. Maybe an out of court settlement if you are lucky. But hey, you got noticed, which was part of the plan, I’m sure. Did they rip you off? I wouldn’t doubt it. But I’m not the judge.”

Rise to Stardom and Touring with Children

Underwood rose to stardom after winning the fourth season of “American Idol” in 2005, and she’s since sold over 65 million records worldwide, reported Realtor.com.

After the recent birth of her second son, Jacob Bryan, she seemed to be spending as much time at home as possible ahead of her “Cry Pretty Tour 360” that started in May.

“Carrie lives a very quiet life,” a source told People magazine. Underwood and Fisher “take Isaiah fishing, to the zoo and to farms so he can learn about animals. They very much live a farm life and seem to love it.”

Carrie Underwood performs on June 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Mastercard)
Carrie Underwood performs on June 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Mastercard)

She’s also already planning to tour with her children.

“It’s just all gonna happen at once,” she told PopCulture. “I went on tour with Isaiah when he was 11 months old. He was right there when we had our first show. And it was really hard. Obviously, I have help when I’m out there. Somebody’s gotta watch my kid when I’m on stage.

“But I’m really bad at utilizing that, which I think is good too,” she added. “Nobody ever got up with my kid in the middle of the night. That was me, and I’m proud of that.”