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The Nevada Hangover: The Underwhelming Notre Dame Stadium Experience

Notre Dame’s game against Nevada was the home opener- hopefully it gets better from here.

NCAA Football: Nevada at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve been to a large number of Notre Dame football games. I’m not sure how many exactly, which leads me to think that the number is quite high after 20 years of regular attendance. I’ve seen a lot of good games, and I’ve seen a lot of bad games. I’ve witnessed great victory and I’ve witnessed horrible defeats.

The Hangover

Throughout most of those years, I can say that no matter the result of the game, I had always enjoyed the Notre Dame atmosphere. Even in 2007, a year in which I was at every Notre Dame home game, there was a part of me that was satisfied with my game “experience.”

I can’t say the same for what I witnessed for the Nevada game.

I’m about to get real negative here in a moment, but before I do, let me just say that I realize that most- if not all of this, will be or should be corrected by next year. There are still 5 games left inside this version of Notre Dame Stadium, so let’s discuss how awful it was for Nevada and how bad it may still be for this season.

  • The sound is TERRIBLE. The sound from the speakers sound as if it is coming from underwater while a vacuum cleaner is running.
  • Mike Collins is off his game. Mispronouncing a name is bad, but just saying the name of a senior incorrectly is just wrong. “Luke Cole,” is not a member of this football team. Perhaps it’s an easy mistake, but there were more. Collins would repeat what an official already stated (maybe because his sound was bad too). Collins also tried to talk over the music being played. It made for a very messy afternoon for my ears.
  • The music. The more it gets used- the more I wish it wasn’t there.
  • People are still terrible. I watched a young teen kid (maybe 13 or 14) look around in absolute fear anytime he stood up to cheer. It’s like he was warned by his dad that fans in this stadium don’t really care for such a thing. In a game that had an odd flow and almost no emotion other than impatience, this kids willingness to get excited is awesome- but the fact that it made him worried that he might upset the folks behind him was, well... upsetting.
  • Around the stadium it looks bare, and desolate, and cruel. This, above anything else, is guaranteed to change in 2017, but it’s still not a good feeling to be around.
  • Love the band and always will- BUT NOT ONE SINGLE BAND MEMBER HAS EVER OR WILL EVER CONVINCE ME THAT THEY ARE A REAL MEMBER OF THE IRISH GUARD. This change has nothing to do with the stadium, but it’s horrible none the less and adds to the “what the hell” factor.
  • Also not Notre Dame’s fault but the fault of the new rule from the NCAA that was handed down in 2015. It basically means that all of the pomp and circumstance before the game and inside of the stadium is shortened- or did I just miss it while waiting for that bratwurst

By the new rule, the teams are now guaranteed that they may remain on the field for pregame warm-ups until at least 22 minutes before the opening kickoff. The committee was concerned that teams were being forced to leave the field early because of other pregame activities, and thus were having to spend too much time in the locker room before the kickoff. The new rule may be suspended for a given game by prior mutual agreement of the teams.

  • The concessions still feel cheap to the mouth. Instead of paying $5 for a bratwurst, I would gladly pay double for some off the wall gyro, or steak sandwich- or really anything that I can get at my county fair.

IT JUST FEELS OFF! I tweeted this out during the only moment I actually had any internet access:

Myabe I’m getting old, and it’s weird to me because I was one of those that was leading the charge for change in the stadium such as field turf and a jumbotron- BUT SOMETHING JUST AIN’T RIGHT HERE.

The one positive, and this is a major thing, is that I did notice it was much louder inside the stadium than in previous years. This is important because in years past, a game like this and one that had the WORST flow to it, would have been as quiet as the 8:00 AM Mass.

I know that much better things are in store for 2017 and beyond, but as of right now, the Notre Dame Stadium experience is pretty “meh” and has me a little worried right now.