For the final College Football Playoff National Championship game of the four-team era, ESPN broke out all the stops debuting an original score, composed and conducted by John Williams called “Of Grit and Glory.”
The song was accompanied by a montage narrated by former college football national championship stars including Pitt running back Tony Dorsett, FSU wide receiver Peter Warrick, Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, and others.
Those players defined some of the biggest games in college football history, and tonight players like Michael Penix Jr. J.J. McCarthy, Rome Odunze, and Blake Corum are hoping to join that illustrious list.
The end of the season is an emotional time every year, but it is especially punctuated by the end of an era. With college football in total flux, facing an opt-out problem, and conference realignment on top of the NIL and transfer portal conundrums perplexing decision-makers within the sport, and at times turning off loyal fans, the nostalgia of championship games past was quite poignant.
Fans loved the theme and it certainly set the right tone for the game.
The score was introduced as the new theme for the CFP National Championship game and is likely to return for future iterations of the college football finale. Next year, it will be a longer path to the title game with the CFP expanding to a 12-team field.
The montage leaned heavily on Houston’s connection with NASA and that’s a fitting trope because, with all of the changes in college football, it almost feels like exploring a new horizon. For one night, none of that matters, just grit, glory, and the legacy that one of these teams will leave.