NFL Players show R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Aretha Franklin National Anthem

Sports Xchange

Legendary musician Aretha Franklin, 76, passed away on Thursday morning due to complications from pancreatic cancer.

Known as the "Queen of Soul," Franklin emerged as a central voice for both the American Civil Rights and Feminist movement through her music in the 1960s and 1970s.

Though best known for her commercial success with 20 number-one R&B singles, one of Franklin's most memorable moments came when she performed the National Anthem prior to a Thanksgiving contest between the Lions and Vikings in November 2016.

The anthem received mixed reviews for its length, clocking in at about 4 minutes, 30 seconds. (Broadcaster CBS even poked fun pointing out the Motown legend's "time of possession.") But there was no denying its singular beauty either. It well may be one of the longest renditions of the national anthems ever, but it’s also almost certainly one of the greatest. Nobody sang like Aretha.

Franklin, a Detroit native, 18-time Grammy winner and the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, leaves behind a lasting legacy for all who were blessed to listen to her iconic music. Our warmest thoughts, best wishes, and deepest sympathies go out to her friends, family, and fans during this difficult time.