The College Football Playoff National Championship is a post-season college football bowl game, used to determine a national champion of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), which began play in the 2014 college football season. The game serves as the final of the College Football Playoff, a bracket tournament between the top four teams in the country as determined by a selection committee, which was established as a successor to the Bowl Championship Series and its similar BCS National Championship Game. Unlike the BCS championship, the participating teams in the College Football Playoff National Championship are determined by two semi-final bowls—hosted by two of the consortium's six member bowls yearly—and the top two teams as determined by the selection committee do not automatically advance to the game in lieu of other bowls. This has caused a unique side effect in that, since the inception of the playoff, no #1 seed has won the national championship (in fact, the first team to win it was the #4 seeded Ohio State), a trend that will continue until at least the 2019 finals.
The game is played at a neutral site, determined through bids by prospective host cities (similar to the Super Bowl and NCAA Final Four). When announcing it was soliciting bids for the 2016 and 2017 title games, playoff organizers noted that the bids must propose host stadiums with a capacity of at least 65,000 spectators, and cities cannot host both a semi-final game and the title game in the same year.
The winner of the game is awarded a new championship trophy instead of the "crystal football", which has been given by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) since 1986; officials wanted a new trophy that was unconnected with the previous BCS championship system. The new College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy is sponsored by Dr Pepper, which paid an estimated $35 million for the sponsorship rights through 2020. The 26.5-inch high, 35-pound trophy was unveiled on July 14, 2014.
The inaugural game was held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on January 12, 2015, and won by Ohio State.