Notre Dame Football: 10 Reasons Why "We" Love and "They" Hate the Fighting Irish

BenjaminContributor IIIAugust 6, 2011

Notre Dame Football: 10 Reasons Why "We" Love and "They" Hate the Fighting Irish

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    As all Notre Dame fans (or any college football fan for that matter) know, there's really no middle of the road when talking about the Irish; either you love 'em or you hate 'em. Notre Dame is synonymous with college football, and it has earned the Irish a lot of praise and criticism over the years.

    Once again, ND has gained some praise (ranked 18th in the USA Today coaches poll) and received some predictions for what should be a great year for the Irish (BCS, anyone?). Heck, even Mark May said—in a very cloaked manner of course—that Notre Dame is up and coming.

    But with praise comes criticism, as you can't find any sports website without an article about how the Irish are "overrated"...again.

    So to celebrate all the HATE that Irish fans LOVE to see, here are 10 reasons why "we" love and "they" hate Notre Dame. 

10. Rudy, Rudy, Rudy

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    What better way to start this list than with a hit Hollywood picture based on one of Notre Dame's most legendary—thanks, Hollywood—figures.

    Though the story is exaggerated in many aspects (the jersey laying scene never happened, as well as Dan Devine denying Rudy to suit up; it was his idea for Reuttiger to suit up against Georgia Tech), it is still heartfelt and inspiring.

    No hardcore Notre Dame fan can get through the scene with Rudy being carried off the field with a dry eye, while no Irish Hater can get through it without gagging a bit.

9. Overall Success

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    Yes, Notre Dame haters, we know, we know. Notre Dame hasn't won a national title since 1988. You have made that overwhelmingly clear—though I'm sure the 1993 squad would love to argue their case.

    Despite not winning it all in more than 20 years during this era of so-called "College Football Irrelevance" that saw Notre Dame go a very un-Irish-like 99-73 (starting with the Bob Davie era), ND is still in the tops of many categories.

    Notre Dame has won eight wire service National Championships (AP or coaches), claims credit for 11 and is credited by many for 13. The Irish are second in winning percentage behind only Michigan, third in wins behind Michigan and Texas and have the fewest losses of any FBS program (minimum of 700 games). Other accolades include the most Heisman winners (seven) and the most players or coaches inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (48).

    So yes, Irish fans will love to continue reveling in our past glory, while Irish haters will continue to remind them that it is past glory.

8. Tradition

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    Whether it be the Play Like A Champion Today plaque, painting the helmets gold (with real gold flakes of course) or their amazing mascot who could probably whip everyone else's in a bare-knuckle brawl, Notre Dame is teeming with tradition.

    Every time the Notre Dame Marching Band plays the "Notre Dame Victory March," Irish fans' hearts swell while Irish haters' stomachs turn.

7. The Media's Love-Hate Relationship

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    One thing we know is analysts love to talk about Notre Dame good or bad because it means ratings, so this one is pretty simple.

    Notre Dame haters hate when the media are showing some lovin' on Notre Dame and love it when the media are cracking down on the Irish.

    Irish faithful love when the media are showing some lovin' for the Irish and still love to see it when the analysts are putting ND down; nothing like some bad publicity to add some fuel to the fire.

    By the way, Mark May, you're looking a little more handsome to Irish fans this year. Maybe Lou is rubbing off on ya.

6. Fanbase

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    The Notre Dame faithful are one of the largest, if not the largest, fanbases in the nation. Spanning from California to New York as well as Hawaii (thanks, Manti Te'o), Irish fans pop up everywhere in the United States.

    They're passionate, loud, overbearing, sometimes nonsensical, prideful, traditional and never back down from a fight.

    And that's why Irish fans love them.

    And that's why Irish haters loathe them.

5. Rivalries

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    Notre Dame plays in some of college football's best rivalries. From the Holy War (Boston College), to the battle for the Megaphone Trophy (Michigan State), to the greatest inter-sectional rivalry in college football—the battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh (USC)—Notre Dame has epitomized the meaning of the word "rivalry" in many of their games, especially the rivalry between CFB's two most winningest programs (Michigan).

    You don't play in four games of the century without establishing some bitter blood between two teams. 

    The Notre Dame fans love to gloat about their rivalries and all-time records, while Irish haters love to remind them of their records in those rivalries over the past decade. 

4. Notre Dame Stadium and Campus

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    Notre Dame has one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation. No one can walk by Touchdown Jesus without marveling at its beauty or glance at the main administration building without admiring the Golden Dome that sits on top. 

    Notre Dame Stadium is also a spectacle. The House that Rockne Built opened in 1930 and seats more than 80,000 spectators. It is a mural in and of itself to the tradition of Notre Dame.

    For Notre Dame fans, it's enough to bring a tear to their eyes, while for Irish haters, it's enough to make them vomit.

3. Famous Coaches

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    They've delivered some of the most famous pregame and halftime speeches ever recited. They've combined for some of the most impressive records in the history of the sport. And they're the reason why Notre Dame became Notre Dame.

    From Knute Rockne to Ara Parseghian, to Dan Devine to Lou Holtz (and many more in between), Notre Dame has had some of the most memorable coaches at the helms over the last century (as well as some forgettable ones).

    Notre Dame fans love to talk about their greatest coaches, while Irish haters love to remind them of the not-so-great ones (Faust, Davies, Willingham, Weis).

    Sidebar: I could not find a picture of Knute Rockne in the Getty Images, so this one of Lou Holtz's handsome face should suffice our needs.

2. Independence

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    It allowed Notre Dame to develop a nationwide fanbase and recruiting pipelines in states thousands of miles away—and ultimately led to ND becoming as popular as it is today. 

    The Fighting Irish's Independent status has allowed for some of the greatest rivalries in college football and helps Notre Dame to play some of the best teams in the nation year in and year out.

    Simply, Notre Dame can play who they want to, when they want to.

    Notre Dame fans love it because they get to see their Irish on the national stage against top teams, while Irish haters loathe it because of their conference restrictions forcing them to play Vanderbilt or Iowa State.

1. It's Notre Dame

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    The biggest reason why "we" love Notre Dame and "they" hate Notre Dame is because it's Notre Dame. They're essentially the New York Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys or the Los Angeles Lakers of the college football world.

    You either love to see them succeed, or you love to seem them wallow in mediocrity.

    But there's no denying that Notre Dame is one of the greatest programs around, and they're sure to cause some discussion, good or bad, come college football season.

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