Friday, October 19, 2007

the Green Machine, 2007 | by Jay

From the weekly presser...

Q. I think you mentioned at one point last year or the year before that the '77 green jersey game was your favorite game or one of your favorite games. Do you kind of wish you could have held the jersey as a surprise rather than it being announced so long ago?

COACH WEIS: No, because I didn't want to create a dog and pony show and all of a sudden we come out in the green jerseys. We are 1 and 6. It would be a heck of a thing to come out wearing the green jerseys. But I think at the time it was presented to me, to get that out of the way then so you didn't turn into doing it for the wrong reason, if we were going to use the jerseys for motivation, I'd use the ones that we have, the newer green ones that I really like.

These uniforms are ugly (laughter), but what the players like about them is that they're throwbacks. Because they're throwbacks, they're unique. Remember what those jerseys looked like? Remember those ugly pants? That's what they have to wear this week. What I didn't want to do is I didn't want to make a big deal about using it more as a motivational thing. This is in respect to honor that '77 team.
You know what? Screw it. If Charlie's not going to use the greens as motivation, we will. Adidas corporate marketing strategies be damned...that's what they're there for.

It was thirty years ago today (roughly) that the Irish broke out the Green, and a legend was born.

Let's also reprise a post we did the last time Southern Cal came to town. Click here for some good stuff.

Our friend Jamie sends in this op-ed with which we heartily agree...

by Jamie Reidy

It’s not just hip to be eco-friendly these days, it’s required. Heck, I’m writing this while sitting on a chair made from recycled chairs. But I am here to tell you green is not good.

At least not for the Fighting Irish.

Folks, the famed Green Jerseys are on life support – barely.

Since the famous 1977 game in which the surprisingly green-clad Irish crushed the Trojans, Notre Dame has donned the good luck jerseys eight times. Gerry Faust did it successfully against USC in 1983 and 1985. I’d say he weakened their significance by using them so quickly again in the ’85 game, but, hey, we won.

A master of history and motivation, Lou Holtz waited until the 1992 Sugar Bowl, when his boys were 17-point underdogs to Florida, to pull out the road jerseys with green numbering. Bravo. The Irish spanked the Gators, adding to the uniform’s mystique and giving those of us who were staggering along Bourbon Street that evening the profound joy of mocking the Gator Chomp to every blue and orange adorned person we encountered.

Alas, Holtz also went to the well once too many times. Fully aware his underachieving ’94 squad didn’t deserve to appear in the ’95 Fiesta Bowl against Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam, Kordell Stewart and the rest of the #4 ranked Colorado Buffaloes, Lou shamelessly pulled out the green jerseys. The Irish fell 31-3 but it wasn’t remotely that close.

Bob Davie never really “got” Notre Dame, as perfectly evidenced by his decision to resurrect the green jerseys for the 1999 Gator Bowl. Way to wake up the echoes, Bob! Amazingly, his boys did not rise to the occasion, losing to Georgia Tech 35-28. Just imagine if Boob had waited to play the ultimate Irish inspirational card until the 2000 home game against #1 Nebraska! Ah, never mind; he still would’ve sat on the ball and played for overtime.

Tyrone Willingham really tried to “get” Notre Dame. I recall his addressing members of the Monogram Club at Reunion 2002 and concluding his remarks with deep conviction, “Go Irish!” We all bought it that night. On November 2nd, 2002, Notre Dame entered its home game against Boston College 8-0 and ranked third in the BCS standings. Understandably, bookmakers made the Irish a 10-point favorite at home. Un-understandably, Ty pulled out the green jerseys. Notre Dame fumbled eight times, losing three along with its national championship hopes. And the green faded some more.

If any coach could possibly “get” Notre Dame, it had to be alum Charlie Weis. Demonstrating his feel, Coach Charlie sent his boys out for warm-ups in standard blue jerseys prior to facing #1 USC in 2005. Unbeknownst to Brady & Co., team managers were busy hanging green jerseys in their lockers! Word has it the players went completely bat shit when they entered the locker room. Just thinking about the goose bumps I got that day in the stands gave me goose bumps right now. True to legend, the Irish took a lead into halftime and nearly earned a win for the ages. Yes, yet another loss for the Green Jerseys, but at least they regained some of the shine they’d lost over their previous three outings.

Alas, like Gollum and his Ring, Charlie couldn’t keep his fingers off the precious. Claiming he wanted his seniors to experience winning in the green jerseys, Coach Weis inexplicably – I use this term because no amount of explaining will, uh, explain this decision – pulled them out versus Army. We beat the Cadets! Go Irish! Go Green jerseys! Yawn.

So, today the Green Jerseys’ record (in the "special occasion" category) stands at 4-4. And tomorrow Notre Dame faces USC in South Bend. Thanks to considerable pressure from Adidas (they didn’t like Charlie’s last minute switcheroo in 2005 because it prevented them from stocking the online Bookstore with similar jerseys. What’s the opposite of “cha ching”?), the Irish will take the field in replicas of the uniforms Dan Devine’s national champions wore in 1977’s legendary “Trojan Horse” game. This decision was announced months ago, mostly to give Adidas plenty of time to manufacture enough "mystique" to go around this time (at $50.00 a dose).

But let me not going to rail against the gross commercialism of this decision. Instead, I am going to plead for the sanctity of the Green Jersey.

President Jenkins, or Coach Weis, or Athletic Director Kevin White, or Board of Trustees chairman Patrick McCartan, or the ghost of George Gipp...or whoever runs this damn place, I beseech you:

Do not allow the Irish to embarrass the Green Jerseys once more (no matter how cool they look).

The Green Jerseys need to be placed in a secure, airtight room, where they can rest and regain their magical strengths for unseen fights that lie ahead (not games against the fourteenth ranked team in the country!). Please, pay Adidas whatever they want to recoup their losses on jerseys already manufactured. Any price will be worth the salvaging of an important piece of Notre Dame lore. And buy some carbon credits to offset the CO2 produced by the trucks that hauled all those jerseys unnecessarily.

But there's one alternative to packing them away forever, one alternative to putting them in mothballs, one alternative that would, just a little bit, start to color in the faded green and rekindle the mystique...

Beating Southern Cal tomorrow.