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Country music artist Darius Rucker's second collection of NFL-based clothing line a 'labor of love'

Darius Rucker's allegiance to the NFL goes back long before his acclaimed music career. Rucker's family had congregated to watch Super Bowl VI between the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins in January of 1972.

"I remember going around and asking everybody which team they were pulling for that day," said Rucker, who was 5 years old at the time. "Everyone was pulling for the Cowboys, so I decided that day to be a Dolphins fan. They lost and I cried."

The following year, the Dolphins achieved the only perfect season in NFL history, which the franchise will honor in a 50th anniversary celebration later this month when the Dolphins host the Pittsburgh Steelers for Sunday Night Football. That year, Rucker recalls, was "pretty easy to be a fan."

The three-time Grammy winner known for being the lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish before going solo as a country music artist, Rucker has more reasons to celebrate this football season with the recent release of the second collection of the NFL x Darius Rucker Collection by Fanatics. The product line launched last year with 22 items featuring all 32 NFL teams and has expanded for the 2022 season to 27 items, including T-shirts, fleece options, outerwear, vests and even shorts and pants.

"When I was initially asked to be part of it, I was shocked. As a lifelong football fan, it's been a dream come true to curate a fan apparel line inspired by blending my passion for both music and football," Rucker said. "The clothes for me are all about sharing clothes I would want to wear. Everything in this line, if it has a Miami Dolphins emblem on it, I'd wear it."

BCL Entertainment, a company that specializes in partnering talent with brands, brokered the partnership between Fanatics, the NFL and Rucker, who adds that the collaboration has been a "labor of love."

One of Rucker's favorite items from the initial release is an olive button-up shirt jacket, something he wanted to bring back and create a new iteration of in the new line.

"I wore that jacket like crazy through the winter," he said. "The hoodies are also very important because I wear them around the house and neighborhood. Those were two things I wanted to come back."

Having just concluded his summer tour, which included the inaugural Riverfront Revival Festival in his hometown of Charleston, S.C., Rucker is looking forward to the release of his forthcoming album, which will release sometime this winter and is his first solo project since 2017's "When Was The Last Time".

Even in his busy schedule, Rucker has found time to stay connected to his beloved Dolphins, who host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, and manage five fantasy football teams. His go-to player in fantasy football leagues if available is Aaron Rodgers.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) meets singer Darius Rucker prior to an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears. Sunday, December 12, 2021 in Green Bay, Wis. (Todd Rosenberg via AP)

"He always puts up numbers, especially late in the season when you need that with fantasy playoffs. I'm not very lucky with fantasy, though," he said. "I have a lot of fun with it.

"I like to watch more than one game at a time. Everywhere I manage to live, I make sure I have a set-up that allows me to watch three or four games."

Rucker is enjoying the new-look Dolphins this fall, especially during the team's 3-0 start under first-year head coach Mike McDaniel. 

"The first few games I really thought we were going to the Super Bowl," he said. "I love McDaniel's play-calling and what he's done. The defense has gotten better every week as well. I think we have a good team and still think they'll make the playoffs. Then who knows?"

Rucker's final prediction for the 2022 NFL season?

"Dolphins are in the Super Bowl. That's it."