The newest version of The Shirt was released this past Friday and the early verdict is that it's a winner. Last summer I ranked the previous versions of the shirt and my early reaction to the newest addition to The Shirt lineup is that it belongs with some of the better shirts of years past.
I do admit to liking the green shirts as they do stand out better, but this navy blue is far better than the attempt at gold last year.
Also much better than last year is the current year's quote: This is the Day and You are the Team. The phrase is historically credited as the capper to Rockne's "Win One for the Gipper" speech and certainly works for a year where the team is widely considered a national championship contender.
Of course, we have to mention, along with everyone else I suppose, the omission of Frank Leahy from the back of the shirt. The images of the great coaches from ND's past on the shirt harkens back to the Mt. Rushmore version of The Shirt, except in this version Leahy is replaced with Charlie Weis. That is to say, the man who won four national championships with the Irish is not there, but the man who has won nine games is.
Now, I don't think it's worth getting too worked up over the Leahy omission. After all, as the only coach with a huge statue of himself outside of the football stadium I don't think people will be forgetting about Frank anytime soon. Still, it is worth noting.
For the record, here is the reasoning behind the design from The Shirt committee. I can see where they are coming from as the coaches listed all do have a special connection with the current students.
First and foremost, the design highlights Knute Rockne and the Four Horsemen, universally recognized as the founding fathers of Notre Dame lore.You really can't go wrong with using Tradition to sell something related to Notre Dame, and aside from some mild argument over Leahy not making the cut, I think many would agree that the current version of the shirt is a winner.
Ara Parseghian, the man who coached the teams our parents grew up watching, also appears on The Shirt, as does Lou Holtz, the coach who introduced us to Notre Dame Football when we were young.
Coach Weis completes the design and the journey through the ages, joining those who have come before him looking down on the stadium situated below.
(Next week on BGS Fashion Review I will be reviewing the last line of men's and women's athletic workout gear currently availabe in the Bookstore.)