Notre Dame Football: 10 Ways to Know You're a Fighting Irish Fan

Connor KillorenSenior Analyst IMarch 25, 2012

Notre Dame Football: 10 Ways to Know You're a Fighting Irish Fan

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    There is no such thing as neutrality as it pertains to Notre Dame football fans.

    Either you love 'em or you hate 'em.

    For those who do love the Fighting Irish, there are a number of ways to prove their allegiance to the storied program.

    We are listing 10 ways here, but there are many, many more.

    Enjoy!

10. You Hate Michigan

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    Notre Dame includes many institutions as traditional rivals, but the University of Michigan is perhaps the most hated of them all.

    Some may claim that USC earns that distinction, but it's truly a personal choice.

    The Wolverines have had Notre Dame's number as of late, winning the previous three matchups against the college football behemoths.

    Last season's contest, a thrilling 35-31 Michigan victory that went down to the wire, only added to the insurmountable hate that Fighting Irish fans have for the Wolverines.

    All in all, the annual meeting with Michigan is circled on the calendars of Notre Dame Nation.

9. You Love Tailgating at Notre Dame Stadium

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    To say tailgating is a big deal at Notre Dame would be an understatement. While the tailgates outside Notre Dame Stadium may not live up those in the SEC, they're still anticipated by hoards of Irish fans.

    People come from far and wide in SUVs and motor homes, sometimes arriving on the Monday or Tuesday before game day.

    If you haven't made it to the parking lots on campus during a fall Saturday, do it as soon as possible. It's a sight to see.

8. You Adore Knute Rockne

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    Knute Rockne, to put it simply, is the most beloved figure in Notre Dame Football history.

    The most successful coach in program history, Rockne is also credited as the "Godfather" of Notre Dame Football.

    Notre Dame Stadium is even commonly referred to as "The House that Rockne Built."

    If you're a Fighting Irish fan, there's no doubt you love Knute Rockne.

7. Your Blood Pressure Is Higher Than the Average Person's

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    Since Notre Dame won its last national championship in 1988, times have not been so good for Fighting Irish fans.

    The program has been stuck in the unforgiving pit of irrelevance for the better part of 15 years, which have come with more agonizing defeats than anyone would care to admit.

    Whether it be a four-overtime loss to Pittsburgh in 2008 or a shocking senior day loss to Syracuse in 2007, certain games have increased the blood pressures of the Notre Dame faithful.

    Not to mention, the Fighting Irish went without a bowl-game victory from 1994 to 2008, when Charlie Weis' squad took down Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl by a score of 49-21.

    Times simply have not been forgiving for fans.

6. A Lot of People Don't Like You

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    Notre Dame fans are certainly proud, and that irks people at times. Trust me, I'm one of those very proud people.

    And as I said in my intro, neutrality does not exist when it comes to Notre Dame.

    If you haven't done this, try it. Put on your Notre Dame gear and walk through a place such as an airport or a big city. I'm sure you'll get more dirty looks than you could have imagined.

    To put it simply, there are large amounts of people who have a special type of hatred for Notre Dame.

5. You've Said a Prayer at the Grotto

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    When times are tough for the Fighting Irish, fans flock to this beautiful site known simply as "the grotto."

    Many a prayer have been offered to God throughout the years, and it's an amazing sight when the sun goes down.

    If you haven't lit a candle and said a prayer here before, I strongly advise you to do so. It's an experience you won't regret.

4. You Know the Name of Every Heisman Trophy Winner in School History

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    Angelo Bertelli, Johnny Lujack, Leon Hart, Johnny Lattner, Paul Hornung, John Huarte and Tim Brown.

    If you haven't memorized those names yet, you can't consider yourself a true Notre Dame fan. The school prides itself on being home to those seven Heisman Trophy winners, and it's another part of the rich tradition of the university. 

    If only another trophy could be added to that collection soon...

3. You Hate USC

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    Along with Michigan, there isn't a more hated team in the eyes of Notre Dame fans than USC. The Trojans dominated the rivalry from 2002 to 2009, winning eight consecutive matchups.

    However, the Irish beat the Trojans in Los Angeles in 2010, effectively ending the losing streak.

    Unfortunately for Notre Dame fans, USC is on the rise, with Lane Kiffin's squad widely expected to be ranked as perhaps the nation's No. 1 team in the preseason polls.

2. You're Extremely Impatient

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    Notre Dame fans are impatient. It's blatantly obvious.

    The program hasn't won a national championship since 1988 and the fans are starved for another, to say the least.

    Because of the intense demands for success, the head coaching gig comes along with most pressure of nearly any job in America, save for president.

    Perfection is something these fans demand and expect.

1. "God, Country, Notre Dame"

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    Every Notre Dame fan has this set of priorities: God, country, Notre Dame.

    Some fans even love Notre Dame more than their own children. While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, it encapsulates the type of infatuation many have with the storied program.

    Fans far and wide count the days until kickoff. They are jubilant after every victory and stung after every loss.

    In essence, if you're a fan of this team, you love Notre Dame.