The Royal Heffernans

Quite possibly the best family ever

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Rick Reilly Writer: RIP

Hey Rick, this is what it looks like to be a PART of something special.

This post is a little bit overdue, but I initially held off on posting a response to the recent Rick Reilly hack job. I wanted to hear others' reactions, and I didn't want to dwell on it too much the week before the season started. I refuse to provide a link to give him even 1 more page hit, so I will summarize his argument and provide my response below.

ND is "living a lie"
Reilly says ND football hasn't won a title since 1988 and has lost 10 of 12 bowl games and 9 of 10 to USC. Is this his criterion for determining a team "living a lie"? Let's take another NCAA team and analyze their results over a 12 year span. If I said they lost 6 of 10 bowls and 11 of 12 to their biggest rival (the 12th being a tie), would you proclaim them dead and worthy of "demotion"? If so, then USC would have been left for dead before Pete Carroll ever arrived. It's so easy to take a sample of any team and show they are down. Even in this period in which we are "living a lie", we still garner front page headlines EVERY time something occurs. Just this past month, we had front page headlines regarding the suspension of a backup QB, alternate uniforms, and an international trip to play in Ireland. By the way, 35,000 US fans traveled to Ireland for the game. The largest ever for a football game and the biggest tourist influx to Ireland EVER! The mere publication of Reilly's article indicates our relevance.

Our BCS deal is unfair
Reilly bemoans the fact that ND has a seat at the BCS table, and even more so that we get a BCS payout even if we don't play in a bowl. Are you kidding me? Guess who else has this same deal? EVERY OTHER TEAM IN A BCS CONFERENCE! They are represented by their conference commissioner, and they get a share of the BCS as a conference member.

Let's talk money. Before the 2006 season, ND would get a full BCS share if they made a BCS bowl. That happened in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl and in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl. If they didn't get a BCS bowl, they got nothing. So over the first 8 years of the contract, ND made about $28 million. Then, the contract was changed. ND would get $4.5 million for an appearance or $1.3 if we didn't make it. Where did these numbers come from? $4.5M is the conference share for a 2nd place BCS team. $1.3M is 1/66th share of the pot, given 66 BCS teams. That equals out to LESS THAN the share for each nonparticipating conference team. So 2-10 Ole Miss took home more than ND last year.

Still think we got a sweetheart deal? Try this one on... Over the life of the current BCS contract (2006-now) ND has made $11 million, with 1 appearance in the 2007 Sugar Bowl. Had we had the old deal, we would have easily surpassed that amount with $18 million for that one game alone.So do you think ND asked for the new terms? Obviously, the BCS flexed a little muscle and forced ND to take a paycut.
    TV Contract
    This issue seems to have gotten the most attention from Mike Golic and the rest of the media. Too bad, because it's pointless and simple. The discussion also clouds the other inane components of Reilly's argument. Every BCS team is on TV every week. Conferences make sure they are televised. Perhaps a fan in LA can't watch FSU play BC, but those games are on regionally. Do you think ND is on all across the country? Think again. We are preempted in many cities in favor of local games, or other programming. How about this? If ND didn't deserve to be on TV, why is EVERY SINGLE AWAY GAME broadcast nationally? I can't remember the last time I couldn't watch one. That fact alone tells you that ND is relevant. If we didn't have a contract with NBC, some other network would happily sign us.  
      General Piling on
      Here's where I get angry. Why is Notre Dame the national whipping boy? I don't understand the constant piling on by the Reilly's of the world. What did we do to deserve this. We play football. We do well. Since 1988, we had legit runs at a National Title in 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, and 2005. We have also been pretty good in several other years. A few breaks, and we could easily have 2 or 3 more since 1988. Not only that, but we do things the right way. Our graduation rate is the best in the nation almost every year, and almost all of our athletes get a degree. We should be lauded for this, rather than ridiculed.

      Of the 11 different BCS era champions, 7 were on probation at some point during the same BCS era. Is that what it takes to win? yet those teams are lauded for their success, while their failures are given a free pass. Has it really come to ND being the "bad guy" for... what, not winning a title or getting on probation.
        Reilly relevence
        It really just comes down to this. ND is a bit different, because we are independent. A lot of people resent that or hate us for it. Reilly is one of them. However, I consider Reilly nothing more than a glorified blogger pimping hot button article titles to secure page hits, while he hides the fact that he is really just a frustrated writer watching his print medium slip away from relevance. Perhaps it's Reilly who needs to be demoted to writing for Athalon or blogging for Bleacher Report.

        Here's the rub. As Reilly fades into oblivion, ND is celebrating our 125th year of football, and all signs point to great things in the near future and another 125 years of football for generations to come.


        ian said...

        Maybe I was too young, but I don't always remember it being this way. For me, I didn't really notice any of this stuff until ND fired Willingham. Then everyone was saying that ND was "selling out" and putting football first, even though it was obvious that Willingham was killing the program. Then Weis came along and was a huge loudmouth and made everyone dislike ND even more. But Willingham was the turning point. After that ND became racist and everyone took joy in piling on.

        The only way to turn things around is with a likable coach and winning football games. Hopefully, those two things are in place.

        Colin and Liz said...

        I heard about this article written by Reilly as well. Obviously I refused to read it. However, I did read the counter piece written by a pro-ND blog. (
        Their position is based on facts and logic, which apparently is the exact opposite of how Reilly writes articles. As you so eloquently stated Reilly is still driving a horse and buggy in a time of automobiles. An easy way to get page views is to write an article about Notre Dame. Well done, Reilly, you are the worst.

        Colin and Liz said...

        just saw ian's comment and i agree. no one ever mentions how badly willingham flamed out at washington, which fully validated nd's decision. i don't know how much the media will grow to like brian kelly, but i feel like he can win at ND.

        Kevin said...

        Even during Bob Davie's years ND was going 9-2 and 8-3, which I think most of us would gladly take at this point. It wasn't until Willingham destroyed our program for 3 years that we really started going downhill. But again, it only takes a few solid (or very bad) years for things to turn around for a program. My two examples of this are Arkansas on the upward trend, and U. of Miami on the downward trend. I think at some point both those schools will reverse their course.

        We do have Lou Holtz on ESPN going to bat FOR the Irish. He predicted ND would win 11 games this year. Mark May was too dumb-founded to even reply. While I love Lou, I have to agree with Mark - I think we'll be good, and I think some of our opponents are not as good as first blush, but USC and Oklahoma will likely thrash us. I'm going with 9 wins, and I'll call that a success.