Now I know what many people are thinking. Especially the "Domers." Another ND bashing article. But I wrote this because I actually wanted to learn about this dynasty known as ND. I must admit I was very surprised to learn what I learned.
First of all Notre Dame is one of the most popular teams in college football. And they are here to stay. Like it or not. The fan base stretches all over the world. Yes Notre Dame are the Yankees of college football.
My journey took me all the way back to 1887. Which is the year it all began for Notre Dame. Since that day Notre Dame has won 831 games. Lost 284 games and tied 42 others. Now that's 3rd for most wins in the history of the game. Behind only Michigan and Texas. ND has the second highest winning % in college football. Behind only Michigan. Notre Dame 12 undefeated seasons. In this time ND has won 11 national titles. Some would argue 13. ND has produced 178 All Americans. And 7 Heisman winners. Notre Dame has 48 players in the college football hall of fame and 10 in the NFL hall of fame. Since 1962 Notre Dame graduated 98.74% of its players in 4 years. Only 13 players have left with out degrees. That's pretty amazing if you ask me.
Then you have the tradition. Folks you would be hard pressed to find a team with more tradition than the university of Notre Dame. I learned that prior to each game, Notre Dame students paint all football helmets gold, using paint containing real gold dust. I learned that Prior to the start of the game, the team attends mass in formal attire at the Sacred Heart Basilica. At the conclusion of mass, fans form a line from the chapel to the stadium, which the team walks through. Coming out of the locker room, players slap the famous "Play Like a Champion Today" sign. Between the third and fourth quarters of home games, the Notre Dame Marching Band plays the finale to the 1812 overture, as the crowd reacts with synchronized waving of arms, with their fingers in the shape of a letter designating the name of the head coach. Since 1961, Sergeant Tim McCarthy for the Indiana State Police has read out a driving safety announcement to the crowd during the fourth quarter. When Sergeant McCarthy begins his announcement, the crowd goes silent to hear his message, which invariably ends with a pun. At the conclusion of every home game, the team turns to the student section to salute them by raising their helmets in the air. They do this after a win or after a loss. At the conclusion of every home game, the band plays the Alma Mater, "Notre Dame, Our Mother". Those who stay link arms and sing the lyrics. Not to mention its historic stadium. Notre Dame Stadium is the home football stadium for the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team. Located on the southeast part of the university's campus in Notre Dame, Indiana and with a seating capacity of 80,795, Notre Dame Stadium is one of the most renowned football stadiums in college football. With no replay boards and just two modest scoreboards, the stadium experience evokes a more traditional feel. Notre Dame Stadium is used exclusively for football related activities.
Can you say wow? Now Ive always been a person who's never been a fan of Notre Dame. I wont lie about that. But I will say I now have a better understanding as to where the fan base gets its passion and pride come from. I wish my gators had 10% of the tradition that Notre Dame has.
Now here's whats interesting to me. Whats interesting to me is why do people either love or hate Notre Dame. There's no middle ground.
The Domers label the people who don't like Notre Dame as "jealous haters." Yes people seem to hate Notre Dame. But jealousy? lets define jealousy. Jealousyis an emotion and typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something. That's not hitting the nail on the head. How about being Just plain old jealous? which is hostility toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage. Now that's a little more like it. But i'm sure we can find a better word to describe whats really happening. How about Envy which may be defined as an emotion that "occurs when a person lacks another’s [perceived] superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it. People could argue that.
So yes, people love or hate Notre Dame. No doubt. But now here's where my opinion differs from the domers. Domers are quick to point out that were just hating on the giant that has become Notre Dame. Where I think its not that black and white. To me people tend to root against Notre Dame because of what's perceived as the unfair advantagesthat are annually given to Notre Dame. Not because they want to be Notre Dame. Now these perceived unfair advantages range from extra exposure from all the TV. Or the special treatment that they get by the BCS. Or they easier life that's enjoyed from not playing in a conference.
We all get mad when a celebrity get off because they are a celebrity. We all seem to not like the little rich kid that gets all the perks from having a rich daddy. We all like to watch the Yankees lose because they have the unfair advantage of buying the best roster in baseball. I think its just that innocent when it comes to Notre Dame football.
To the Domers. Try and remember that here's what people who don't know what Notre Dame is all about fail to see. They don't see the tradition that I just learned about. They don't see the 11 to 13 National Titles. Nor do they see the 831 wins. They don't care about your past. They don't care about 178 All Americans that ND has produced. They don't care about how many people get there degrees. What they see is that ND hasn't done much in terms of Notre Dames own standards in the last 20 years. They see a team that has lost more bowl games than its won. They see a team who's last 5 coaches have a combined record of 85 wins and 61 losses. They see a team who in the last 13 years has gone to 10 bowl games. Where up until last year they lost every one of there bowl games. Fans also see a team that in there opinion isn't very good. Yet gets all kinds of special treatment. Like having all its home games since 1991 be nationally broad casted by NBC. Which is a huge recruiting advantage. Or what about the special "Notre Dame Rule" which gives the university unique privileges in the postseason, due to its independent status. If Notre Dame finishes in the top 8 of BCS teams, they are automatically selected. If they finish in the top 12, they are considered for a BCS spot. Notre Dame now receives $4.5 million for playing in a BCS game and $1 million when they do not. In essence, they are treated like a conference team in either case. This is a change from the previous arrangement in which the Irish received $14 million for a BCS appearance and no cash otherwise. That will always rub people the wrong way.
What people forget is that most of there reasons to hate Notre Dame aren't really valid. Lets face it. College football has changed alot in the last 50 years. College football is become more of a buisness than ever before. That's not Notre Dames fault. Nor is the fact that ratings sell. Guess what? NBC has every right to make money. In case you didn't know ratings make money.
Now even though it falls in the same category of Business and making money. I disagree with Notre Dame getting special treatment from the BCS simply due to principle. To me that principle is only the best teams should go to the BCS bowl games. Again I can understand how this will make people not like Notre Dame.
So in conclusion I say this to all the haters. Lets face it. Notre Dame is truley a unique institution. Its a place like no other in college football. Its a source of deep rooted pride just like football is down here in the south. Try and respect what Notre Dame has accomplished. Try to accept that in a way we all want to be what Notre Dame has become.
To all the Domers. Try and understand that alot of "haters" who just arnt aware of what Notre Dame is all about. Also try and understand that the haters see a team who hasn't done much at all lately still get rewarded as if they were still on top. These haters see these unfair advantages and react in only a typical way. And they don't care if its Notre Dames fault or not.