Carrie Underwood is carrying the ball for NFL Sunday Night Football

Carrie Underwood is carrying the ball for NFL Sunday Night Football

Carrie Underwood debuted her Sunday Night Football theme song (Sept. 8) and helped the NFL do more to get in touch with its feminine side in a bid woo the growing number of female fans.

In fact, more than 43 million women watched the Super Bowl this year; more than the Grammy Awards or the Academy Awards last year, according to Nielsen, which tracks viewers.

Underwood is the newest female football icon to benefit from the trend. While no women are actually playing at the pro level yet, the league believes women are increasingly influencing the game, according to The New York Times, which examined the trend earlier this year.

New NFL safety rules prohibiting such things as peel-back blocks, helmet-to-helmet contact and helmet spearing by running backs were largely in response to concerns raised by wives and mothers of players at all levels of the sport.

“This is a powerful issue for everybody,” the NFL’s Chief Marketing Officer Mark Waller told The Times. [But women] “have more of a role to play in managing that issue.”

The NFL also see women as a potentially huge market. This year, Victoria’s Secret opened its first store inside a football stadium. They chose a bastion of male testosterone, Dallas Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Underwood replaced Faith Hill, who stepped down from opening the Sunday night game after six years. Before her, it was a man’s game.

Hank Williams sang the Monday Night Football theme song for years. His cowboy hat, grungy beard and whiskey voice came to symbolize the rough-edged nature of the game. Punk-rock singer Pink sang the theme song starting in 2006 when the production moved to Sunday night.

She was followed by Hill who sang the intro song for seven years. Now Underwood has taken over the mic. Check out her rendition of the song and let us know your thoughts. And, follow TheImproper on Twitter for the latest pop culture news.