To paraphrase LL Cool J, don’t call last night’s College Football Playoff National Championship game a comeback for the Alabama Crimson Tide — turns out they never went away.
Pushing through a 13-point halftime deficit against their SEC rival Georgia Bulldogs, coach Nick Saban’s team dramatically forced overtime and eventually scored a 26-23 victory. After losing in the national title game to Clemson last year on the final play, Monday’s victory clinched the Tide’s 17th national title and the sixth in nine years for Saban, who now is tied with former Alabama coach Bear Bryant for the most Division I college football championships ever. It is also Saban’s second championship win since the new playoff system was installed.
With a 16.7 in metered market results across its main channel, ESPN2 and ESPNU, ESPN shattered the double-digit ratings declines that has hit the NFL this season. To add further context there were no national anthem protests on the field at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium last night and President Donald Trump was in the house — at least for the first half, when it looked like the host Bulldogs had it.
Last night’s primetime game is up 9% in the early ratings over the Clemson-Alabama battle of last year. That January 9, 2017, title matchup saw the Tigers win 35-31, drawing an 8.0 rating among adults 18-49 and 24.42 million viewers.
As it stands, last night’s game in the second-best metered market result of the College Football Playoff era, with only the 2015 Ohio State-Oregon matchup topping it. That 42-20 win for the Buckeyes drew a massive 18.8 rating over the trio of ESPN nets.
Clearly winning the night Monday in both broadcast and cable, ESPN itself had a 16.0 metered market result for the championship game – a rise of 8% from its solo rating of 2017.
And by the way:
Nick Saban now has more national titles than all other active FBS coaches … combined. pic.twitter.com/Osep6TznOD
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 9, 2018