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Notre Dame Football: The True Story of Rudy

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A look at the life and times of Notre Dame’s greatest underdog

University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish Photo by Notre Dame/Collegiate Images via Getty Images

You’ve seen the movie. You know the GIF. You think you know the story. But do you?

Rudy’s is a classic underdog story, but for most of us, it ended that day he was carried off the field at Notre Dame Stadium. Even you - the most devoted of Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans - may be under the mistaken impression that he has mostly spent the years since then telling his remarkable story through various media outreach efforts and public speaking engagements. But there’s so much more.

Here, for the first time, we have created a full recounting of Rudy’s truly astounding lifetime of achievement. I hope this makes you appreciate the depth of his truly astounding underdog story.

As a child, Rudy and a small group of friends discovered the pirate One-Eyed Willy’s buried treasure.

Corey Feldman And Martha Plimpton In ‘Goonies’ Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images

The treasure, which had been buried for centuries in rural Oregon (somehow), was worth enough to save Rudy and his friends’ families from foreclosure. Rudy’s gang of Goonies also liberated the gentle Sloth from the clutches of the wicked Fratelli crime family.

While it was just the beginning of his adventures, this archaeological escapade undeniably honed Rudy’s tenacity and teamwork and nursed his sense of self-belief. His efforts to charm Stef Steinbrenner no doubt taught him valuable lessons that he would apply while wingmanning for D-Bob in South Dining Hall.

As a teenager, Rudy discovered a caveman who had been frozen alive for thousands of years and helped him adjust to life in modern society.

Pauly Shore And Brendan Fraser In ‘Encino Man’ Photo by Encino Man Productions/Getty Images

Rudy not only unfroze Link - which was the name he gave to his new Cro-Magnon friend - but helped him become the most popular kid in school, a sports star who was able to land a date to the prom with Robyn Sweeney. Even better, he helped reunite Link with his Ice-Age girlfriend, bringing together what thousands of years and tons of ice had tried to separate. Neither the ruthless passage of time nor the cruel hand of nature could stand against the power of Rudy’s friendship.

Speaking of friendship...

Rudy saved an entire civilization by helping Frodo Baggins destroy the Ring of Power.

Frodo himself admitted he wouldn’t have gotten close to accomplishing this momentous task without Rudy’s courage, pep talks, and unfailingly loyal support. Not only did Rudy save Frodo’s life on countless occasions, he actually carried the brave hobbit up to the slopes of Mount Doom - a feat surely made possible by his conditioning under the tutelage of Ara Parseghian and Dan Devine.

(Brief sidebar: if you don’t find yourself shouting “Rudy! Rudy!” at various points during the Lord of the Rings trilogy, you aren’t a real Notre Dame fan).

Rudy saved the people of Hawkins, IN from an invasion by interdimensional monsters.

Rudy must have needed to settle down after his adventures in Middle-Earth, as he spent a number of years running an electronics store in the sleepy town of Hawkins. But when an interdimensional rift opened and threatened to release an army of vicious dog-like monsters upon its inhabitants, he was ready and willing to lay down his life to protect them. Rudy Ruettiger, super hero.

Recent news suggests that Rudy in fact survived that encounter with the demodogs, as he is now headed to the LEGO DC universe under the alter ego “Shazam.” Truly, is there anything this man’s heart and perseverance can’t accomplish?