Football Wins Fuel Notre Dame Passion
With Notre Dame rolling into Denver for a pair of hockey games over New Years weekend, one thinks about their legion of fans and, especially, their football success. It wasn't that long ago that ND generated either nation-wide love or contempt. The contempt peaked in articles and blogs in 2012-2013 when searching Google for key words 'hate Notre Dame'.
The hate has recently grown quiet.
In 2012, Deadspin published The Haters Guide to Notre Dame, one of the more caustic articles on Notre Dame. Among the litany of reasons to 'hate Notre Dame':
It's an underperforming football entity with an irritating tribal gloss of holiness, which gets far too much acclaim and adulation when it happens to succeed. The Fighting Irish belong with the Red Sox, the Yankees, Twilight, Taylor Swift, and any other property that is artificially relevant because the media wastes so much f***ing time telling you how relevant they are.
On Notre Dame Fans: They're a novelty, a program designed to capture the attention of casual casual casual casual college football fans—New York-media types who believe that something is relevant only when they've deigned to pay attention to it. These are the people who say they're rooting for Notre Dame because "they're a great story," which is what you say when you're a front-running douchebag.
As for the ACC affiliation: Notre Dame is too chickens*** to join a real conference and relinquish its 37 scheduled games against Air Force every year. So it's worked out this bizarre f***-buddy relationship with the ACC, where it will get credit for being in a second-tier "BCS" conference while still maintaining its stranglehold over Tom Hammonds's affections. Now this undefeated season will give them even more leverage, because the ACC has no self-esteem.
Catholicism: No football program wears its religion on its sleeve more than Notre Dame. Even BYU isn't obnoxious enough to have Jesus overlooking the end zone. It's that kind of "we're more special than you" attitude that makes me hope that Satan will one day crawl out of the Earth's mantle and raze the entire Notre Dame campus with a single crack of his fire lash.
Of course, the reasons for most of the hate goes to Notre Dame football program. Some of the resentment resides with envy, others see their NBC television contract as undeserved, while others see the program's independent status as elitist and their legion of zealous fans as bandwagon jumpers.
Why all the hate?
In 2012, the unranked Irish led by a generally unlikable Brian Kelly went 12 - 0 and lost to Alabama (42-14) in the BCS Championship Game. In 2013, still as an independent, they went 9-4 and went to the Pinstripe bowl where they pounded Rutgers.
Starting in 2014, the Irish agreed to play five games each season against ACC foes while remaining an FBS independent. Now that the BCS is running the show, the relative weakness of the ACC and mediocrity of ND football in recent years has transformed the hate to ambivalence as the Fighting Irish football team have become a non-factor in the national title hunt. With that, there has been a precipitous decline in Notre Dame haters.
As for lacrosse and hockey, there is no hate for Notre Dame in Denver. Pioneer hockey fans want to see Notre Dame fall to the Pioneers almost as much as beating North Dakota and lacrosse fans want the Pioneers to crush Notre Dame almost as much as pounding Duke. They'll have to string together some more titles before they drum up hate in the Mile High City.