Sean Payton quotes Chumbawamba.

In 1997, British band Chumbawamba released “Tubthumping,” a song that topped charts in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, and New Zealand, hit #2 in the UK, and hit #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. Since then, the lyric of “I get knocked down, but I get up again” has become incredibly widely referenced. And one of those references came from former New Orleans Saints head coach (and reported soon-to-be NFL on Fox panelist) Sean Payton in an address to graduating students at Loyola University New Orleans this weekend. Here’s how WVUE, the New Orleans Fox affiliate, covered this:

“And continuing with the music theme, Payton wrapped up his speech with lyrics of a popular song from the 90s, by the group Chumbawamba. “‘I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never going to keep me down.’ And that would be my wish for this class. Congratulations.'”

This was referenced in Peter King’s NBC Football Morning In America column Monday, and it took off from there. And while there is no record of if Payton had a whiskey drink, a vodka drink, a lager drink, and/or a cider drink before these remarks, there is perhaps something to citing this as inspiration. In fact, this is far from the first time we’ve seen a “Tubthumping” reference in sports. For one, just a few months back, Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis referenced this to Ellen DeGeneres in a  March interview on her show:

DeGeneres says “Your character, no matter how many people say nasty things, you’re just like ‘Huh, okay.’ You’re never angry, it just rolls off of you. It’s a beautiful character.” And Sudeikis says “It’s the Chumbawamba theory. He gets knocked down, he gets back up again.”

And while it’s not sports, this also came up in American Reunion, the 2012 fourth movie in the American Pie franchise:

“Got a whole ’90s theme planned.”

“Oh. That’s…”

“I booked Chumbawamba.”


“But the pricks cancelled yesterday. Was a setback, but you know me, ‘I get knocked down but I get up again.'”

For more on the history of “Tubthumping,” this 2016 Guardian oral history from Homa Khaleeli is a must-read. Some highlights:

Boff Whalley, guitarist: “At the time we lived near a great pub called the Fforde Grene in Leeds. Irish, Afro-Caribbean, Asian, white, everyone went there. Our next-door neighbour, who was Irish, would come home drunk every weekend from there and try and get into his house, fall over and shout for his wife – it was a weekly ritual.”

Dunstan Bruce, vocalist: “The song changed everything. Before Tubthumping I felt we were in a mess: we had become directionless and disparate. It’s not our most political or best song, but it brought us back together. The song is about us – as a class and as a band. The beauty of it was we had no idea how big it would be.”

How big it would be indeed. Imagine going back to 1997 to tell Chumbawamba “One day, a former NFL head coach and soon-to-be NFL on Fox studio panelist will reference your song in a graduation address.” It would indeed be impossible to keep them down after that.

[The Guardian]


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.