INDIANAPOLIS — On Monday night, one team will reach the pinnacle of college football and hoist the College Football Playoff National Championship trophy.
The gold trophy will go to either Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide or Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs.
But, who takes care of the trophy before it gets to the big winner?
That would be Charley Green, one the College Football Playoff trophy handlers.
”Like any celebrity it needs a manager,” Green said.
The trophy is certainly a celebrity. A new one is made each year for the eventual champion and it goes across the country, attracting huge crowds every where it goes.
”We make about 100 appearances a year,” said Green.
Green has been one of the official trophy handlers for 21 years now, he calls it a dream job.
“I’m a lifelong college football fan and I know its more than practice and the plays on the field,” Green said. “So many fans put their heart into this sport for really 365 days a year.”
As Green and his handler partner take the trophy around the U.S., they always have their eyes on the 24 karat gold.
”Everywhere we go we have a sign that says please do not touch the trophy,” Green said.
Green said everyone is encouraged to get a picture with the trophy but no one is allowed to touch it.
”Even my fingers never touch it,” he said.
Any time the trophy needs to be moved, Green wears gloves, puts a felt cover over it and then the trophy goes into a secure travel case.
No one touches the trophy until a champion is crowned Monday night.
“The first person to touch it will be Bill Hancock, the Chairman of the College Football Playoff, who lifts the gold out and hands it to Kirby Smart or Nick Saban,” said Green.
After that, Green said they get to some of the more stressful moments.
”Retrieving the trophy from the winning team on the field, the players start passing it around but we have to get it back,” he said.
But, Green isn’t worried about the trophy being dropped or anything like that. He said he knows the trophy is safe going from champion to champion because he knows how hard the players have worked and how much this moment means to them.
”All that effort, on Monday night it culminates into one team holding this trophy,” Green said. “It’s special, I can see why people get emotional.”
Before the trophy heads off to its new home down South, fans have a chance to be up close and personal with it at Playoff Fan Central.
”It’s a great opportunity to see the actual trophy, the pinnacle to college football,” Green said.
The trophy will be at Playoff Fan Central for several hours on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.