Notre Dame Hype Machine Begins Again With Clausen, Kelly

Robert DentonCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2009

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Jimmy Clausen #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish walks the sideline during their game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame, Wake up the echoes cheering her name.  I think I just figured this whole Notre Dame thing out.

The echoes need to be awakened because they've been dead for almost 40 years.  Everything that made this program great for so long is gone.  They're not even the best "Catholic" program in the country, much less the end all be all of college football.  Boston College has won 58 games since the beginning of 2003. In contrast, the Fighting Irish has won 45, and have only beaten the Eagles once in that same time span.  In the name of the father, the son, and the HOLY COW...Just once? Really?

There are 20 games on television each week that are more interesting than listening to Pat Haden and Tom Hammond talk about the "good old days," as they bring to life another close Irish loss on NBC.  No longer can Paul Hornung and Johnny Lujack stir the imaginations of 17 year old kids who, instead of watching the game in the first place, are more likely to be spending their Saturday afternoon beating the hell out of Notre Dame on PS3, as they man the controls of Boise State, Cincinnati, TCU, or some other new "up and comer."  Their relevance in the universe that is college football has long since passed.

However, this fact being lost in the hubris that is Irish Nation, they begin to lube up the hype machine once again to promote Jimmy Clausen as the next NFL "can't miss quarterback, and Brian Kelly as the next "can't miss coach."  For such a highly respected academic institution, do they not teach history in South Bend? 

Notre Dame has not had a great quarterback in the NFL since Joe Montana...and the ironic thing about his success is that he wasn't hyped at all.  According to Wikipedia, Montana was rated lower than Washington State's Jack Thompson, who was the third overall pick in 1979.  Ever heard of him? Me neither.  Montana was also taken behind Clemson's Steve Fuller, and Morehead State's Phil Simms.  Montana wasn't drafted until the third round by the San Francisco 49ers, who finally took him with the 82nd pick in the draft.  Five Super Bowls, 40,551 yards, 273 touchdowns, and a Hall of Fame induction later, he became arguably one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all-time.

After Montana, the Notre Dame turned NFL quarterback cupboard is virtually bare.  In 1980, the St. Louis Cardinals took Rusty Lisch in the fourth round.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took Blair Kiel in the 11th round in 1984.  Steve Beuerlein, who actually did have a solid career, and won a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys in 1993, was a fourth round selection by the Los Angeles Raiders in 1987.  Following Beuerlein, two complete busts followed with Rick Mirer in 1993 and Brady Quinn in 2007.  

I'm sure there are many reasons why these quarterbacks have not had the success promised by draft gurus everywhere.  My contention is that it's a lack of toughness that is the primary reason these Notre Dame signal-callers have struggled at the next level...and it's the Notre Dame hype machine that is to blame.

When you spend your entire college career listening to how great you are and listening to your fans tell you what a wonderful program you play for, it seems that it would be hard to develop the toughness necessary to become a great quarterback in the NFL.  Pictures of the sad, disbelieving, almost entitled look on Brady Quinn's face, as he dropped from a sure top 10 pick to the bottom of the first round, are legendary, and represent exactly what I'm talking about.  "What? Me? I'm not as great as everyone told me I was?"

Now, in another prime example of Notre Dame's inability to see what they really are, they begin to prop Clausen to the top of the draft board.  This band of Notre Dame apologists is doing the same thing to him that they did to Mirer and Quinn before him.  It's this throng of blind followers that all think they are much better than they really are. 

Well, let me just tell you what you are. With Clausen as your quarterback, you are 16-21 since 2006.  You haven't beaten a team in the top 25 in three years.  You're second rate to Navy and Boston College.  You are a has-been, period. 

If that's not bad enough, you're also the 87th ranked defense in the country out of 120 teams...and how does your blind, egotistical administration feel you can get things turned around and get your once proud program back to the promised land?  They go after Brian Kelly, the head coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats, who are also abysmal on defense and happen to be the 48th ranked defense in the country!  The hype machine has already pumped him up to be the greatest head coach in college football history. 

The distance from where you are and where you need to go is laughable if it wasn't so embarrassing.  "We're Notre Dame, we can hire anyone."  What a joke.  When the echoes finally wake up someone with some sense around there, will someone please let me know?