Close to 50,000 fans celebrate the 2018 National Championship
Dabo Swinney said they had so much fun a couple of years ago at the Championship Parade they figured they would go ahead and put it on the calendar and do it again. And that is what they did Saturday at Death Valley.
The 2018 National Champions celebrated the program’s third national championship with nearly 50,000 fans during the Tigers’ Championship Parade and Celebration.
“It is good to see everybody back. Thank you for getting up. Cold day, early morning, it does not matter, the Tigers show up. We love you and we appreciate you,” Swinney said in his message to the fans.
Clemson is coming off the first 15-0 season in the modern era of college football. The Tigers capped off their perfect season with a 44-16 victory over Alabama Monday night in Santa Clara, California.
“I tell this team all the time that greatness is not your destiny, but it is a decision you have to make,” Swinney said. “This team made a decision to be great. It is not you’re right to be great, it is a decision to make and this team made that decision.”
It was easy to see the Tigers made that decision. From the first game to the national title win over Alabama, they were one of the more dominant teams in the history of college football.
Clemson won 13 of its 15 games by 20 or more points, including its last 10. In the last 10 games, the Tigers won by an average of 36.1 points.
In the College Football Playoff, they beat No. 3 and previously undefeated Notre Dame, 30-3, and then in the championship game they routed No. 1 and previously undefeated Alabama.
“They were special from Day One,” Swinney said. “It doesn’t take long to get around this bunch to know what I am talking about. The leadership, the focus, the commitment and the will to win was special.
“We always say that champions are made when the stands are empty. Championships are won when no one is watching. We always say that you have to earn it. You earn it with your effort. You earn it with your accountability and doing what is right and nourishing the concept of team and family.
“These guys are the epitome of that. They earn it. No one gave them anything.”
Clemson earned it with the No. 1 scoring defense and a top 5 scoring offense. They earned it with a top 5 offense in yards and a top 5 defense in yards allowed. They earned it with a group of seniors that went 55-4 during their time at Clemson and won two national championships.
“They became the first 15-0 team in modern day history,” Swinney said. “Nobody will be able to take that away from this group, period! They give these trophies out every year, but there will never be another first 15-0 team, ever in college football history. These guys will take that with them forever.
“So here we are in little ole Clemson. This little town. In the hills, surrounded by the lakes, a little town of about 14 or 15,000. Here we are.”
Swinney says when he looks back on the last 10 years, it is amazing to see God’s hand at work.
“The way He has orchestrated people, players, decisions, it is incredible,” Swinney said. “I am so blessed to have been a part of it. Specifically, these seniors wanted to be the best ever.”