Released in 2010, the song is an ode to high school football and the waning days of playing the sport as teens get older. For Chesney, football will always hold a special place in his heart. He played the sport himself when he was in high school. The country singer appeared on NFL Countdown to discuss the song.
“‘Boys of Fall’ for me was just one of those songs that was so much about our lives. And how we lived it,” Chesney said. The singer let Payton listen to the song after one of Chesney’s concerts. “He kind of threw up his arms and I could see. He almost got a tear in his eye. When we decided to do the video the way that we did it, I had in my head someone giving a speech to a high school team before they go out on the field.”
Kenny Chesney Recruited Payton for the Music Video
Chesney recruited Payton for the music video to play the role of the high school coach. The crew decided to film the video at Payton’s alma mater Naperville Central High School. Payton gave a speech to the school’s real football team before they went out to play on a Friday night game.
“That was unique. I didn’t feel nervous,” Payton said. “I felt anxious because you’re speaking to someone else’s team. And let me just share with them what I’d like to do if I was able to all over again.”
Cameron Brate was among those many high school football players that listened to Payton in the video. Brate is now the tight end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For years, Payton didn’t realize their connection until a group of high school friends pointed it out to him. Payton met with the NFL player, and they took a picture together.
“Obviously, everyone knew Sean,” Brate said. “Knew who he was and all the success that he had. They kind of told us there was going to be a camera crew for the game. He gave us a really good pre-game speech. It’s got to be one of the best speeches that I’ve heard.”
Chesney said football creates lasting bonds between not only teammates but also between younger and older generations.
“It just goes to show you how football touches so many generations,” Chesney said. “I don’t know what it feels like for those guys. But for me to be a part of that in such a small way, it’s unbelievable really.”
The Saints and Buccaneers face-off later tonight (Nov. 8).