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John Williams Wrote New Theme Song for ESPN’s College Football Playoff National Championship

“Intercollegiate football has been at the heart and soul of our nation’s life for so long that the opportunity to musically salute this great tradition has been a particularly meaningful joy for me," Williams said.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 09:  Honoree John Williams accepts the Life Achievement Award onstage during American Film Institute’s 44th Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute show to John Williams at Dolby Theatre on June 9, 2016 in Hollywood, California. 26148_005  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Turner)

John Williams

Getty Images for Turner

Viewers who tune into the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday night will be treated to a uniquely cinematic event. The David and Goliath matchup between the TCU Horned Frogs and the Georgia Bulldogs has all the makings of a Hollywood film, particularly if the Horned Frogs are able to complete their unlikely Cinderella run and win the game. So it’s fitting that ESPN turned to Hollywood’s most beloved composer to provide the music.

Variety has reported that five-time Oscar winner John Williams has composed a new three-and-a-half minute theme song for the game, titled “Of Grit and Glory,” that will air during ESPN’s broadcast. The song was recorded by a 96-piece orchestra with Williams conducting on December 21.

“Intercollegiate football has been at the heart and soul of our nation’s life for so long that the opportunity to musically salute this great tradition has been a particularly meaningful joy for me,” Williams said. “I was thrilled and excited when ESPN suggested that I write a theme for the Jan. 9 championship game. The games themselves always raise the collective spirit and, in the end, the competition brings us all closer to a place where the concept of winners and losers dissolves into mutual respect and admiration. The invitation to write this music constitutes a great honor for me, and I feel especially privileged to make a small contribution to one of our country’s most treasured traditions.”

Williams’ decision to work with ESPN is in line with his previous comments about wanting to focus on shorter compositions that don’t come with the time commitment of a feature film. While next year’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” is expected to be his last film project (unless the James Bond producers call him), Williams has said he plans to turn his attention to writing orchestral music for the concert hall.

“At the moment I’m working on ‘Indiana Jones 5,’ which Harrison Ford — who’s quite a bit younger than I am — I think has announced will be his last film,” Williams said last summer, adding that scoring a major film takes six months, which “at this point in life is a long commitment to me.”

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