Shut up, Fredo.

While doing some research into the infamous 2002 “Neon Jersey Game,” in which Tyrone Willingham inexplicably had his 8-0 Fighting Irish team dress up like limes to face 4-3 Boston College, I came across these charming quotes from post-game interviews with BC personnel:

BC head coach Tom O’Brien: “The kids were excited when we saw the green jerseys. They took the green jerseys as a sign of great respect, as if we were something to be reckoned with.”

Sophomore tight end Sean Ryan: “I felt ‘Wow’, we really are playing Notre Dame. They really respected us. They really thought that we were a challenge for them and that meant a lot to me and a lot to our teammates, too.”

The Irish lost that game, of course, as they fumbled the ball away three times, threw two interceptions, and gained only 184 total yards against a banged-up BC defense. Afterwards, Golden Eagles players tore apart the visiting locker room at Notre Dame stadium celebrating their victory.

This was the beginning of the end for Willingham, as his Irish finished the ‘02 season with a squeaker at Navy, an easy win over Rutgers, and consecutive blowouts on the road at USC and in the Gator Bowl against NC State. The next two seasons featured two more awful losses to BC: a 27-25 loss on the road in Chestnut Hill in 2003, and a 24-23 loss back at Notre Dame Stadium in 2004 that infamously featured a Notre Dame punt on 4th-and-5 from the BC 30-yard line with three-and-a-half minutes to go in regulation, and a comically inept field goal attempt as time expired.

(I was there for the ‘04 game, and it was probably my lowest-ever moment as an ND fan: I’d driven 700 miles back to South Bend after spending fall break on the East coast, tailgated in the pouring rain for hours until I was drunk enough to think that Willingham might not blow it, screamed, shouted, sang, danced, cursed, and shook my keys just like I was supposed to, and then (in an admittedly Fredo-esque move) nearly came down with pneumonia after the game thanks to one of the worst colds of my life. Thanks, Ty.)

Anyway, though, let me set the record straight: Notre Dame DOES NOT CARE about Boston College. Nor do we “respect” them in any significant sense. This is why BC’s nickname - which they share, by the way, with a certain illustrious former U.S. Attorney General - recalls the stupidly inept brother who was sickly as a child, failed to avenge his father’s death when given the opportunity, betrayed his family to a Cuban gangster, and then was unceremoniously shot in the back of the head and dropped at the bottom of Lake Tahoe. The fact that BC fans get as geared up for Notre Dame as teenage girls do for a Justin Timberlake concert does not entail that this attitude is reciprocated.

Perhaps these bits from Eric Hansen’s latest column in the South Bend Tribune will help to put the ND-BC “rivalry” in a bit more perspective:

  • BC has only been ranked higher than its current No. 4 slot three times in its history, all during the 1942 season. It spent three weeks at No. 3 that year and one week at No. 1, losing to Holy Cross 55-12 as the nation’s top-ranked team.
  • This is only the third time in the 17 meetings between the two schools in which BC has been the higher-ranked team.

So no, Fredo, you can’t come back in the family. You’re stupid and incompetent, and we know you’re doing an okay job right now running that casino out in Vegas, but we also know that your head’s getting too big and soon you’re going to start doing stupid things like beating your wife, getting hooked on coke, banging hookers, and attacking software engineers in local sports bars. We don’t love you, we don’t want you, we don’t care about you, and as soon as mom passes away we’re going to blow your brains out and tell everyone you died in a boating accident. No matter what you keep telling yourself, that’s the only reason you’re off the ND schedule after 2010: this is not a rivalry game, you’re no more relevant than Cincinnati or Rutgers, and Notre Dame needs you far less than you need them.

Enjoy the undefeated season and the #4 ranking while they last: if the past is any guide, it might not be much longer.


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One Response to “Shut up, Fredo.”

  1. Aaron Ford Says:

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