IRVING, Texas (Jan. 12, 2023) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame salutes the College Football Playoff (CFP) and its staff, led by CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock, for their exceptional efforts in staging the ninth CFP National Championship. The organization also congratulates the Los Angeles College Football National Championship Host Committee for their hospitality in organizing multiple first-class events.
“As the CFP enters the final year of its first decade, we can empathically say the College Football Playoff has generated heightened interest in college football,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “The CFP National Championship has truly become one of the most compelling gatherings in all of sports, and the game’s success is a testament to our country’s love of college football. Bill Hancock and the CFP staff have once again transformed an entire region, highlighting everything right with our great game as well as the region’s unique local assets.”
A sellout crowd of 72,628 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, witnessed No. 1 Georgia (15-0) claim a commanding 65-7 victory over No. 3 TCU (13-2) Jan. 9, giving the Bulldogs back-to-back national titles. Georgia, headed by Coach Kirby Smart, now joins Alabama and Clemson as the only programs that have claimed multiple CFP trophies. The Bulldogs’ 15 victories this season mark the most wins in school history while giving them their fourth national title: 1942, 1980, 2021 and 2022.
Stetson Bennett IV, the former walk-on who has created a storybook career during the past two seasons in Athens, claimed the game’s offensive MVP honors, completing 18 of 25 passes for 304 yards. He threw for four touchdowns and ran for another two, tying him at first for most points scored (36) in a CFP title game. Safety Javon Bullard earned defensive MVP honors, picking off two passes and recovering a fumble, all before the half, which helped give the Bulldogs a 38-7 advantage after two quarters.
The game generated a Nielsen-reported audience of 17.2 million viewers as part of ESPN’s MegaCast presentation while the 2022 College Football Playoff Semifinals, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl delivered record-breaking viewership, averaging 22.1 million viewers, the biggest audience in the past five years and the third-most watched Semifinals in the CFP era.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, where Georgia notched a thrilling 42-41 victory over Ohio State, attracted 22.4 million viewers, the most-watched primetime CFP Semifinal since Year One. The game ranks among the Top 20 cable telecast of all time and the best non-NFL telecast, cable or broadcast, since last year’s CFP National Championship. The Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, where TCU upset Michigan, 51-45, garnered 21.7 million viewers, placing it as the third-most watched afternoon CFP Semifinal of the CFP era.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and Vrbo Fiesta Bowl now place as the fourth and fifth most-viewed CFP Semifinals ever, reaching more than 42 million total viewers between them with 11 percent year-over-year growth. Collectively, the 2022-23 New Year’s Six games averaged nearly 13 million viewers across all six games, up year-over-year and the most-watched New Year’s Six in three years.
“The whole picture, the championship game, the Peach Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the New Year’s Six, are a fabulous showcase for college football,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “And the impact on the local community, including the extraordinary work of the Extra Yard for Teachers program, is a great testament to impact of college football. We are extremely grateful to the Los Angeles host committee, Bill Hancock, CFP Chief Operating Officer Byron Hatch, and the entire CFP staff for delivering a first-class experience. We know that they sacrificed incalculable hours with their families and endured many sleepless nights to ensure an exceptional experience for the fans.”
Using the national spotlight of the game, the CFP honored Iowa LB Jack Campbell, the 2022 recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy®, airing a video profiling his accomplishments as a scholar-athlete between the first and second quarters on the video boards. The CFP also supported the announcement of the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame class with a feature on the video boards and an in-stadium interview with newest inductee Troy Vincent (Wisconsin). Earlier in the day, the official announcement of the 2023 class was announced live on the field at SoFi Stadium during ESPN’s “Championship Drive Presented by Mercedes-Benz.” NFF President Steve Hatchell surprised Tim Tebow (Florida), an analyst on the broadcast team helping announce the inductees, that he too was a member of the class during the national telecast.
The 2023 class includes Eric Berry (Tennessee); Michael Bishop (Kansas State); Reggie Bush (Southern California); Dwight Freeney (Syracuse); Robert Gallery (Iowa); LaMichael James (Oregon); Derrick Johnson (Texas); Bill Kollar (Montana State); Luke Kuechly (Boston College); Jeremy Maclin (Missouri); Terance Mathis (New Mexico); Bryant McKinnie (Miami-FL); Corey Moore (Virginia Tech); Michael Stonebreaker (Notre Dame); Tim Tebow (Florida); Troy Vincent (Wisconsin); Brian Westbrook (Villanova); DeAngelo Williams (Memphis) and coaches Monte Cater (Lakeland-WI, Shepherd-WV), Paul Johnson (Georgia Southern, Navy, Georgia Tech), Roy Kramer (Central Michigan) and Mark Richt (Georgia, Miami-FL).