The College Football Playoff National Championship game is one of the most highly anticipated sporting events of the year, and like the Super Bowl all eyes are on the National Anthem performance ahead of kickoff.
Singer-songwriter Natalie Grant blew fans away with her rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” while viewers puzzled over the Space Force presence in the color guard as Alabama and Georgia prepared to take the field.
It might not be the Super Bowl, but the energy at Lucas Oil Stadium was electric as Grant headlined the opening ceremony. 12-year-old Kaylen Brown signed the National Anthem for deaf viewers, representing the Indiana School for the Deaf.
Natalie Grant Nominated For Eight Grammys
Grant is a Seattle native who developed a passion for contemporary Christian music early on in her career. She now calls Nashville, Tennessee, home. She’s been nominated for eight Grammys, and she has received the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year five times.
Her riveting performance of the National Anthem had fans buzzing on social media and it wasn’t long before she was trending. Anyone who didn’t know who she was before the game learned quickly who she was once she finished singing.
Space Force Presence Leads To Confusion, Memes and Jokes
Twitter was also buzzing after the Space Force appeared with the Color Guard to present the flag, leading Space Force to start trending ahead of the game.
CFP officials released a statement prior to the game with details of the pre-game ceremony: “The Nation’s Colors will be presented by a Joint Service Color Guard from the Military Department of Indiana’s Ceremonial Unit, including Indiana and Kentucky members of the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Space Force and Coast Guard. During the national anthem, a giant American flag will be unfurled by local host committee volunteers, including teachers from across Indiana.”
Naturally there were several memes across social media featuring Steve Carell, star of Prime Video’s “Space Force” comedy. The timing of all the free publicity couldn’t be better for Amazon, as the show returns for its second season on February 18.
While some Twitter users admitted to forgetting about the Space Force entirely and perpetually wondering about Space Force’s mission, others thought it was “sneaky” that the newest branch of the military suddenly appeared in the Color Guard:
You can’t just sneak Space Force into a pregame anthem ceremony with the other ones. It’s not real I’m sorry
— Abnormal Scrutiny (@marxandlennon) January 11, 2022
Why isn’t the space force rep carrying a light saber?
— Mark Rodgers (@markrsports) January 11, 2022
Alabama Crimson Tide Takes on Georgia Bulldogs
After a season plagued by COVID-19, No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia made it to the end of the road with the national title on the line. With two SEC teams meeting for the national title, all eyes were on Indianapolis on Monday night.
— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) January 11, 2022
ESPN noted that over 100 cameras and microphones would be used to cover the event across 13 brands and platforms, including several Spanish-language destinations like ESPN Deportes. After a year filled with uncertainties, including several canceled championship games across all NCAA sports, ESPN clearly planned to go all-in with their National Championship coverage.
In the end, the Georgia Bulldogs claimed victory in a 33-18 win over the Roll Tide, cementing their supremacy in the SEC and taking home the National Championship title over their conference rivals.