Comments by College Football Playoff (CFP) Executive Director Bill Hancock on the CFP being named “Sports Event of the Year” by the SportsBusiness Journal in New York City Wednesday, May 20, 2015:
This is very cool. We are in tall cotton. Just to be here tonight and to be in the finals with these nominees is an honor. They are icons: Super Bowl, MLB All-Star Game, US Open and Women’s Open golf, NBA All-Star Game, and International Champions Cup. Those are bucket-listers.
I want to thank Richard (Weiss, SBJ publisher) and Abe (Madkour, SBJ editor.)
This award belongs to the university presidents and conference commissioners who worked collegially and with courage and foresight to create the playoff. One of them, Mike Slive, is an honored nominee tonight. Thank you, Mike.
It also belongs to the members of the selection committee. They are high-integrity volunteers who gave their time unselfishly to evaluate and debate the teams and get it right. Two of them are being honored as nominees tonight and thus are identified as the best of the best: Jeff Long and Dan Radakovich.
And there are plenty of others to thank. The bowl committees and staffs and volunteers, stadium staffs, students, coaches, and schools’ staff members.
This event isn’t theirs, and it doesn’t belong to our staff of 13 enthusiastic, delightful and diligent people in Dallas. It belongs to everyone. The College Football Playoff is a public trust, like Central Park. Everyone owns it, and we wanted everyone to be able to touch this first one and to experience it.
I want to thank our television friends from ESPN, particularly the hard-working John Wildhack and Burke Magnus who are here and being honored tonight. As you know, the semifinals and championship were the most-viewed events in cable television history. ESPN did a wonderful job of conveying the enthusiasm for this great game. And demonstrating that, at its heart, college football is fun.
Setting up the playoff was the opportunity of a lifetime. We had just over two years to do everything, from giving it a name, to reserving hotel rooms to setting up team-selection protocol to ordering vests for the chain crew. We planned, we analyzed, we laughed. At the news conference to announce the event’s name was “College Football Playoff,” a reporter in San Antonio immediately tweeted, “If Bill Hancock had a dog, its name would be ‘Dog.’”
More than anything else, this award is a tribute to the great game of college football—to its passion, its traditions, the way people love their teams and count the days until the next season begins. College football is a national treasure.
We promise to maintain the playoff as an element of higher education. We promise to continue to elevate the game both on the field and off, through our remarkable Extra Yard for Teachers philanthropic initiative, to celebrate and enhance K-through-12 education in America.
We are humbled and thrilled to accept this honor on behalf of everyone who worked so hard to make it possible. Thank you very much.