A Celebration with Ramifications
Notre Dame took down the powerhouse Clemson Tigers in double overtime this past Saturday in South Bend. A College Football game that was at the top of media headlines for multiple reasons.
As you may know from a previous article I published expressing my allegiance for Pro Sports over College, I do not follow College Football like I do the NFL. However, this game could be used as a valid argument against my previously stated opinion. What I watched on Saturday night was entertaining from start to finish. Aside from the quick political intermission.
Two undefeated teams going head to head in primetime. A highly anticipated matchup that has been marked on calendars since NCAA Football released the schedules.
Both programs proved why they are ranked amongst the best teams in the nation. Although Clemson was playing without the services of their NFL bound quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, you cannot take anything away from the Fighting Irish. They fought tooth and nail to pull out this enormous victory.
Notre Dame came out of the gates and punched Clemson in the mouth. They scored a quick touchdown on a long run play. They followed up the touchdown with a quick stop on defense that led to a field goal. Clemson found themselves in a 10–0 hole before they could blink.
This did not phase true-freshman backup quarterback for Clemson, D.J. Uiagalelei. He put the Tigers on his back with his elite-level play under center. He is going to be a major factor in the success of Clemson for the next 2–3 years.
On the other side of the ball was Notre Dame’s senior quarterback, Ian Book. While he did concede a costly fumble inside the 5-yard line, he made the necessary plays down the stretch to pull out a hard -fought, double-overtime victory. Book had some help from his freshman Tight End, Michael Mayer who made numerous plays when Notre Dame needed them most.
Unfortunately, the thrilling ending to a wildly entertaining game was overshadowed by the on-field celebration that caused some controversy.
Shortly after the final seconds ticked off the clock, some 15,000 loyal Notre Dame fans and students rushed onto the field to celebrate at the 50-yard line. Among the mostly masked crowd are Notre Dame Football Players, coaches, and staff members. A photo of the ~Not so Covid-Friendly nor socially distanced~ gathering circulated across the internet and everyone had their opinions.
The large, on-field celebration was met with much criticism. Many thought the Notre Dame security should never have allowed anybody onto the field given the reality of the global pandemic that we have been enduring the last 8 months.
On the other side of the coin, many believe the celebration was warranted due to the gravity of the victory, and the fact that most of the individuals that rushed the field were properly wearing their masks…
While I do see, understand, and acknowledge the point to both arguments, I side with the ladder.
I do not see much merit to the uproar and outrage over the on-field celebration. However, we must ask ourselves a couple of questions…
First being, ‘What would I do if I were in that situation?’
I believe most people, if put in that same situation… Your favorite team, your alma mater, just won one of the biggest games in recent history. You would storm the field too.
While I want to reiterate that from the photo evidence, it does appear that most, if not all participants in the celebration were wearing a proper mask.
Second question you need to ask, especially if you put the blame squarely on stadium staff members or security guards, ‘Could they realistically have stopped fans from rushing the field?’
That answer to that questions, I would have to believe would be a resounding ‘NO’…
Those security guards probably tried to stop fans from jumping onto the field to celebrate, but they stood no chance. Those Notre Dame fans were getting on that field no matter who or what stood in their way.
While again, safety concerns are a top priority, I do not believe you can fault the fans, security guards, players, or the Notre Dame program for the celebration of an enormous double-overtime upset victory.
It is still unclear if Notre Dame will face disciplinary action for what ensued this past weekend or if anybody in the tsunami of people contracted the virus. Notre Dame’s President did issue a warning to students regarding the violation, but no other consequences have been made public.
Hopefully, Notre Dame can take the field without a hitch later this week and improve their bid for the College Football Playoff appearance as one of the top 4 teams in the Country.
With the victory, Notre Dame moves into the #3 spot and Clemson moves down to #4 in the College Football rankings
An instant classic in college football, and an on-field celebration controversy that is bound to be the topic of discussion for future upset victory situations across the college football landscape.