ICYMI: The Pittsburgh Steeline, the official drum line of the Pittsburgh Steelers, speaks to a growing affiliation between professional sports franchises and drum lines. Julia Rendleman made another great video that embodies what this crew is all about:
The connection between drum lines and NFL teams goes back more than a decade. The Denver Broncos' Stampede drum line, which claims to be the first official drum line in the NFL, was established in 2003. (That group has since been joined by a brass band.)
There are plenty of drum lines in other leagues, too, including the NBA and MLS. Of course, marching bands — which have brass, woodwind and percussion sections — have long been associated with high school and college sports.
These drum lines really emerge from the worlds of drum corps and indoor percussion. Drum-corps culture has been known to dip into intriguing musical experiments, as Alex Ross, music critic of The New Yorker, has observed (see this, this, this, this and this).
Denise Odello, assistant professor of music at the University of Minnesota, Morris, spoke about the evolution of drum-corps music from patriotic songs to American songbook to more recent forays into Bartok, Stravinsky and Puccini. (Phantom Regiment produced an 11-minute rendition of "Turandot" for the Drum Corps International championships in 2012.)