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Notre Dame and Under Armour miss the point and blow an opportunity with ‘88 throwback uniforms

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I wasn’t going to do this, but... here we are.

After being underwhelmed with Tuesday’s uniform unveiling by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Under Armour, I was just going to publish the the one story and move on with my life. The thing is though... the whole thing got more and more under my skin as the day went on.

As far as the uniform itself goes, I’m still okay with it. I’ve seen others critiquing the fake mesh holes on the numbers — but this is still 2019 and they weren’t going to change the “performance” of the overall uniform. The Nebraska Cornhuskers and Adidas did the same thing in 2017 with the faux mesh.

Look... it does the job, but at the same time, it completely misses the point.

All of college football is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the sport this year, and Under Armour (and its roster of schools) are joining in with special uniforms. The Maryland Terrapins, Wisconsin Badgers, Northwestern Wildcats, and Utah Utes are in on this action with the Irish.

So, to celebrate 150 years, the greatest program in college football history reaches ALL the way back to 1988 for inspiration. I mean it’s almost as if Notre Dame fans weren’t talking enough about the 1988 team as it was — SO HERE’S A CAN OF GAS AND A PACK OF MATCHES.

Back in June, I theorized that Notre Dame would wear an alternate uniform against the Boston College Eagles on Senior Day. There were three main reasons:

  • They like wearing an alternate uniform on Senior Day.
  • The history of Frank Leahy between both ND and BC is strong and provides an easy story to sell.
  • They like money.

It made a lot of sense to me, and it made a lot of sense to other people. Perhaps it made too much sense, as an otherwise decent alternate uniform proves to be fairly disappointing.

So... we have a lazy and uninspired version of a uniform that people idolize instead of something fresh and truly celebrates the actual “history” part of the 150 anniversary. After last year’s disaster with the pinstripes in the Shamrock Series, it’s a fairly obvious move for both Notre Dame and Under Armour — but it falls way short (in my eyes) of what this “celebration” is supposed to be about.

Plus... I really can’t take anymore 1988 talk. I just — I can’t do it. Too much of a good thing generally gives you diabetes, and that’s what it’s come to me 31 years after the fact. Here was an opportunity for the school to really honor Frank Leahy — a coach that always seems to fall through the cracks with Irish fans, and instead they chose to give that honor to Lou Holtz again.

I don’t know. It all just misses the point in my eyes.