Friday, December 7, 2012

Media and retailers take "dust rag" to Notre Dame

If you’re in your teens or early 20s, you can’t honestly remember a time when Notre Dame football was nationally relevant. Sure, you’ve seen them on television countless times due to their contract with NBC, but the storied program known for leprechauns, golden helmets, and Knute Rockne, have been nothing more than a “history book” since the early 1990s.

Since 1991, all Notre Dame home football games
have been aired exclusively on NBC

What are the younger fans missing? Ironically, what they’re missing has very little to do with the team, but everything to do with the “hype machine” that has been buried like an old time capsule...until now.

In 2012, the “hate” is directed towards the mighty SEC, and their current crown jewel, the Alabama Crimson Tide. Unless you’re a fan of the Tide, your disdain for Alabama runs as deep as an ocean while you wait for someone, anyone, outside of the SEC, to dethrone the juggernaut that has been built under head coach Nick Saban. SEC fatigue and Alabama fatigue are the two items that comprise a grand recipe for abhorrence in 2012.

Saban is attempting to capture back-to-back titles
at the University of Alabama

Enter Notre Dame…

Disdain and hatred, you say? Media darlings, you say? For those old enough to remember a different time, the only school in the country…was Notre Dame. Current “fans” who’ve grown tired with the SEC dominance of college football, obviously missed out on the late 80s and early 90s. The “era” that saw Notre Dame merchandise in virtually every “sports store” in the nation, regardless of store location. Notre Dame was the “home team” in SEC markets, yes…SEC markets.

Championship hat from 1988

Notre Dame, home of Raghib “Rocket” Ismail, you see, he was “the man” the last time Notre Dame held this stage, and Lou Holtz was the wise and fearless leader of college football. The Irish were college football, and everyone else, well; they were simply the “other teams” battling for second place. While certainly not the case in the literal sense, the media did a fantastic job at painting a "slanted" picture.

Although the Fighting Irish only won the national title on one occasion (1988) during their most recent glory era, the time period, as aforementioned, will be mostly remembered for domineering media coverage, propaganda, bandwagon fandom, and merchandise sales that rivaled anything the college sports world had ever seen.

Back in my day, you weren’t considered “cool” unless you had Notre Dame apparel. Only the rise of Florida State, under legendary coach Bobby Bowden, even came close to that of Notre Dame in terms of social attention during this time. In the current age, young people wear the colors of the team(s) they root for, twenty years ago; kids wore Notre Dame gear, even if they rooted for Alabama. No, I’m not joking…

Raghib Ismail graces the cover of a 1991
edition of Sports Illustrated

What is the underlying statement?

Notre Dame is back, and congratulations to them for an amazing 2012 season, however, nobody could be happier, than the media. The same media who propped them up to seemingly unreachable heights twenty years ago, have waited twenty years to bring them back from obscurity.

For the younger crowd who’ve waited for someone to interrupt the mighty SEC, you got your wish in terms of media coverage, but the older crowd will tell you, Notre Dame is not the team you “prayed” for. History has documented, that when Notre Dame is “back,” the media circus that surrounds them is more suffocating and toxic than any SEC bias.

Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame, the media is waiting to chant your name!

Alabama fatigue? Stomach 30 days of Notre Dame, and then call me with your regrets...

Additional reading material

-Why I won’t be cheering for old Notre Dame
-The problem with Notre Dame football
-NBC Sports to kick off 2013 with 10 hours of Notre Dame football on 1/1

Edwin Watts Golf

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