IRVING, Texas — The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame today recognized Clemson (14-1) as the recipient of the 2016 NFF MacArthur Bowl Championship Trophy following its 35-31 victory over Alabama (14-1) yesterday in the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship before a sold-out crowd of 74,512 fans, record for Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Clemson’s name will be etched alongside the greatest teams in college football history for the second time overall on the MacArthur Bowl Championship Trophy, which is housed at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. An event honoring the team will take place at the Hall during the spring.
“On behalf of the National Football Foundation, our 12,000 members and our board of directors, and Chairman Archie Manning, we are extremely proud to recognize Coach Dabo Swinney and the Tigers,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “This trophy was started in 1959 by General Douglas MacArthur, Grantland Rice, the great sports writer, and legendary coach Red Blaik, and etched on the side of this stadium replica in all silver are all of the subsequent national champions. As the keepers of the history and the legacy of the sport of football, we are exceptionally pleased to etch this Clemson team on its walls.”
Swinney’s 2016 Tigers were led by two-time Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Deshaun Watson, who notched four touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter. Watson, the game’s Most Valuable Player, passed for 420 yards and three touchdowns, adding another rushing. Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow caught two of the touchdowns, including the game-winning score with one second remaining in the game. The former walk-on finished with a game-high 10 catches for 92 yards. Tight end Jordan Leggett and wide receiver Mike Williams added 95 and 94 receiving yards, respectively. Senior linebacker Ben Boulware collected Defensive MVP honors with six tackles, including one for a six-yard loss.
With the win, Clemson claims the MacArthur Bowl for the second time in the school’s history. The Tigers previously won the MacArthur Bowl in 1981 under 2017 College Football Hall of Fame electee Danny Ford. A team in the current ACC has now claimed the trophy 11 times.
Presented to every national champion since 1959, the MacArthur Bowl represents the pinnacle of team achievement in college sports, and each year during its 58-year history a new name has been etched alongside the greatest teams of all time. The trophy, a replica of a football stadium, features archways with space to engrave the names of 100 teams and miniature goal posts. The trophy was the gift of an anonymous donor, who commissioned Tiffany & Co. to craft it from 400 ounces of silver, in honor of NFF founder General Douglas A. MacArthur. It took eight months to make, and the trophy features MacArthur’s famous quote: “There is no substitute for victory.”
Twenty-four different schools have claimed the trophy at least once during its 57-year history. Alabama has hoisted it the most, claiming it an unprecedented eight times. Notre Dame is second with five wins while Ohio State, Miami (Fla.), Southern California and Texas have each etched their names four times on the trophy. Florida, Florida State, Nebraska and Oklahoma each boast being three-time recipients. Clemson, LSU, Michigan State and Penn State have each won the trophy twice.
During college football’s Poll Era, the NFF MacArthur Bowl Committee selected the recipient of the trophy. With the advent of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) in 1998, the national championship game has determined which team claimed the MacArthur Bowl, a tradition that will continue with the adoption of the College Football Playoff.
First presented in 1959, previous NFF National Champions and MacArthur Bowl recipients include: Syracuse 1959, Minnesota 1960, Alabama 1961, Southern California 1962, Texas 1963, Notre Dame 1964, Michigan State 1965, Michigan State/Notre Dame 1966, Southern California 1967, Ohio State 1968, Texas 1969, Ohio State/Texas 1970, Nebraska 1971, Southern California 1972, Notre Dame 1973, Southern California 1974, Oklahoma 1975, Pittsburgh 1976, Notre Dame 1977, Alabama 1978, Alabama 1979, Georgia 1980, Clemson 1981, Penn State 1982, Miami (FL) 1983, Brigham Young 1984, Oklahoma 1985, Penn State 1986, Miami (FL) 1987, Notre Dame 1988, Miami (FL) 1989, Colorado 1990, Washington 1991, Alabama 1992, Florida State 1993, Nebraska 1994, Nebraska 1995, Florida 1996, Michigan 1997, Tennessee 1998, Florida State 1999, Oklahoma 2000, Miami (FL) 2001, Ohio State 2002, Louisiana State 2003, Vacated 2004, Texas 2005, Florida 2006, LSU 2007, Florida 2008, Alabama 2009, Auburn 2010, Alabama 2011, Alabama 2012, Florida State 2013, Ohio State 2014, Alabama 2015 and Clemson 2016.