Sep 20, 2007

American Models of Excellence

America’s symbols of football excellence have crumbled greatly in the wake of unseemly events surrounding these beloved programs. Within the NCAA, we have born witness to a national crisis that is the mighty Irish of Notre Dame limping to a 0-3 start, while in the NFL, national sweetheart the New England Patriots have been subject to much questioning following Week 1’s CameraGate. This is not the time to bemoan the problems, and make further mockery of these two great and storied football institutions, but more a time to step back, and ask ourselves, what we can do, as fans of sport, to restore the luster that is so deserved for both teams.

Just kidding, I’m totally going to pile on.

The only thing that could possibly make the entire Pats situation better is if they weren’t winning. In one move, they have not only crushed all credibility of past successes with apparently overmatched teams, but have shaken the core of one of the most annoying fan bases in recent memory. Everyone who says that this is not a major competitive advantage, give me a break; I played football for years, and figuring out what the defense was going to do before it happened helped tremendously. Now, my teammates and I figured these things out through studying film of opposing players, and noticing tendencies. If only we had thought to just record the opposing defensive coordinator, we could have cut film study down a ton. This has so far proven a minor distraction, as the Patriots are a real-life fantasy football team, and can do no wrong. Some ‘experts’ claim that San Diego is the most talented team in the NFL, but these same people forget to note all the considerable talent is being (mis)managed by Norv Turner.

3 games played. 0 offensive touchdowns, -.1 yards a carry, 4.72 yards per passing attempt, 1 quarterback who left the school, and legions of Golden Domer fans wondering why the Savior (Charlie Weiss) is letting this happen. The karma gods could be punishing Notre Dame for the years of hubris, for allowing NBC to force this team on the nation every Saturday, or for the cocky, holier-than way they get themselves ranked high every preseason without ever doing anything. But, I’d like to think that this is finally karmic payback for the horrendous treatment of Ty Willingham (who has led the University of Washington Huskies to a 2-1 start). Now, I’m not willing to claim that the Notre Dame as an institution is inherently racist; I haven’t done the appropriate leg work. I will concede that whoever is making decisions for the football team is making a very good show of looking racist.

Let’s recap: Ty Willingham wins 10 games in his first year, defeating 4 ranked teams along the way. No head coach in Irish history had, or has, ever won 10 games in their first year, that also saw Mr. Willingham take home two Coach of the Year awards.

In Charlie Weis’s first year, he beat 0 ranked teams, went 9-3, and was rewarded with not only a spot in a BCS bowl, but also a 10-year extension at mid-season worth a reported 40 million dollars.

Ty Willingham’s second year was much more difficult, mustering a 5-7 record, while facing one of the toughest schedueles in the country. Losing three games to top five teams, and beating only one top twenty-five team, much was made of the blow out losses to Michigan, FSU, and USC.

Charlie Weis’s second year, he was able to secure a 10-3 record, beating one ranked team, and made another BCS bowl game. However, he fell victim to the same problem that sank Willingham, as all 3 losses were blowouts, including a second straight BCS bowl loss by two touchdowns or more.

The final year of Ty Willingham’s Notre Dame career was marked with dramatic highs and lows. Besting two top-fifteen teams over the season, the Irish limped to a 6-5 record, which saw Willingham fired before their bowl game against Oregon State, ending the season 6-6.

As we head into week 4 of the third year of Charlie Weis’s reign, the numbers speak for themselves. 0-3. And I’m not even happy because of the aforementioned perceived racism. I’m happy because this overly cocky, big-headed windbag is getting his comeuppance. This coach who announced that his team would have a distinct tactical advantage over every team they played. So much for that, because with 0 offensive touchdowns, how secure are these Notre Dame higher-ups with the state of their football team?

No comments: