Doug Halberstadt: Notre Dame off to poor start

I know it’s not considered polite or good behavior to enjoy another person’s misery. Regardless of how rude or inconsiderate it may be, I have to confess that’s exactly what I’m doing. I find myself enjoying the fall from grace of this year’s Notre Dame college football team.

The mighty “Fighting Irish” are off to their worst start in the school’s 119-year history. They are winless in their first four games. No other Notre Dame team in more than a century has failed to win at least one game in their first four attempts. This year’s team has made history. They will become (in) famous.

For many of the obnoxious Notre Dame fans I know, this is not only unbearable, it’s downright embarrassing. I’ve overheard them grumbling, complaining, threatening to turn in the rest of their season tickets for this year, and yes, even quit sending in their checks to the alumni association. Now that is serious.

Notre Dame and their fans have seemed to have always had a certain egotistical air about them. In the past, they’ve shunned the idea and have even refused offers to join a conference. They’ve chosen to remain an independent. Why? I believe they think they are far superior to any other team in the country and, maybe most importantly, they don’t want to share the enormous television revenues they collect from their contract with NBC. This gives them an unfair advantage in exposure and dollars collected. Two huge factors that help when recruiting.

If they continue to lose games in front of national television audiences, it may actually have an adverse effect on their recruitment efforts. I say it’s about time. For years they’ve benefited from their unfair advantage. Maybe this year it will finally backfire on them.

If Notre Dame’s season continues the way it has started, those obnoxious fans I referred to earlier may find themselves having to take a step or two down on the old ego ladder. For them, that may prove to be even more painful than watching their favorite college football team make history.

From my point of view, it’s nice to see David beat Goliath every once in a while.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

from the Sept. 26 – Oct. 2, 2007, issue

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