By Caity Conroy,
Sports Business Writer
The 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game ended in an intense 45-40 win for Alabama’s Crimson Tide. Coming into the game, the stakes were high for both the Tide and the competing Clemson Tigers.
Both teams were winners of their respective semifinal games, which were played on Dec. 31. The No. 1 Clemson Tigers beat the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners 37-17 at the Orange Bowl, while the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide beat No. 3 Michigan State Spartans 38-0 in an amazing defensive performance at the Cotton Bowl Classic.
On Jan. 11, 2016, the Alabama Crimson Tide took on the Clemson Tigers at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, for the game that college football fans had been waiting for all season.
The Clemson Tigers came into the National Championship Game undefeated. Their resilient offense put up an average of 38.5 points per game and their quarterback, Deshaun Watson, came to be known as one of the most dynamic players in country, having thrown for 3,699 yards and ran for 1,032 prior to the championship game.
Although Clemson had these stellar accolades, Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide was a six-point favorite. Alabama started off the season well, but then lost a game against Ole Miss early on. Although Alabama was ranked number two this season, many college football fans still saw them as the number one team, as their smothering defense held teams to an average of 14.4 points per game. Under the leadership of Nick Saban, the nine-year head coach and six-time National Coach of the Year winner, and Heisman Trophy winner, running back Derrick Henry, the Crimson Tide had a proven record of success.
Saban was able to effectively turn the tide when Alabama needed a change of pace in the 2016 College Football National Championship Game. The call that completely altered the momentum of the game was dubbed “the boldest call of Saban’s career” by CBS Sports writer Ralph Russo. During the fourth quarter, Alabama was able to tie the game at 24 – 24. With 10:34 left in the final quarter, Saban took a risk in trying to keep the ball away from Watson and Clemson’s impressive offense. He called for an onside kick, which was successfully executed and caught by Alabama defensive back Marlon Humphrey.
After an exciting quarter of three Alabama touchdowns, two Clemson touchdowns and a field goal, Alabama defeated Clemson securing the National Championship title.
Saban now has more national titles than any other college football coach but Bear Bryant, the coach who first made Alabama’s Crimson Tide synonymous with college football greatness. Jake Coker, Alabama’s quarterback noted of Saban, “I think as long as he’s in Alabama, Alabama is going to be up at the top.”
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 26th print edition.
Contact Caity at