As most of you know by now, ESPN will be premiering a new 30 for 30 documentary this December known as: “Catholics vs. Convicts.” The film chronicles the legendary 1988 Notre Dame - Miami matchup; a game in which the Irish won and ultimately propelled them to their 11th National Title.
As a representative of One Foot Down, I had the privilege of sitting in on a screening of the film Friday night in advance of the the 2016 matchup between the Irish and ‘Canes. I also got to sit in on a Q&A of some of the major players in the film including: QB Tony Rice, DB Pat Terrell, FL Pat Eilers, director Patrick Creadon, and t-shirt makers Pat Walsh and Joe Frederick.
The film did a great job of telling all sides of the story. Although it is told from an Notre Dame point of view, you’ll hear interviews from both the Notre Dame side and the Miami side. John Dahl, Executive Producer of ESPN Films, said they intentionally did that because they had already done two other films from a Miami point a view, “The U Part I and II.”
Obviously the film covers the game itself, but also the events in years prior leading up to the game. They also went in depth on the backstory of the “Catholics vs. Convicts” t-shirt and how it contributed to the hype.
One of my favorite parts of the film were the stories about Lou Holtz and how he interacted with his players. They are bound to make both Irish and ‘Canes fans laugh.
Before the film Jack Nolan of Fighting Irish Media, who is also frequently featured in the film by the way, told the audience one thing.
“If you come away with one thing from this film it is that you will learn a lot.” Nolan said.
I’d concur with Nolan. There is so much in this film that I personally didn’t know about the game and everything that surrounded it.
Ever since 30 for 30s came out in 2009, I’ve been a huge fan of them. Some are better than others, but I’d have to say “Catholics vs. Convicts” is one of the better ones I’ve seen thus far. “The U” 30 for 30s always get well deserved praise, but I’d put this one right up there with them. Irish fans are going to love this film. It will probably bring back bad memories for Miami fans, but nonetheless it is a great film. That might just be the ND fan inside me saying that, but I firmly believe it.
ESPN also has to believe it as well or they wouldn’t have put it in the time slot that they did. The film will debut on ESPN on December 10th right after the Heisman Trophy presentation. Over the past couple of years some of the best 30 for 30s have premiered in that time slot, and Catholics vs. Convicts shouldn’t be any different.