Sunday, June 10, 2007

In Memory of Montana: Weis Decides Fighting Irish Wearing Green vs. USC

Charlie Weis may be waiting until the bitter end to decide who will be his 2007 starting quarterback, but he settled the green jersey question early this season. In a move that's usually used to surprise the opposition and motivate the Irish, Weis announced yesterday that Notre Dame will wear their green jerseys this fall when they are home against the USC Trojans.

This time, the third edition of Weis' Irish will do "the wearin' o' the green" to honor the 1977 Joe Montana-led National Championship team. In that '77 ND-USC game, the eleventh ranked Irish warmed up in blue, but stormed out of the tunnel sporting green and overwhelmed the fifth ranked Trojans 49-19. But while it's true that in the past the green has usually spelled Irish success, lately they've been anything but lucky. Although Weis' forces beat Army in them last season 41-9, they lost in green to USC by the same score, while Willingham's 8-0 team lost to BC in kelly green 14-7, and Davies' best squad lost the Gator Bowl to Georgia Tech 35-28 wearing that traditional Irish color.

What wearing green means, of course, is left to conjecture. I have always liked blue (and gold!) uniforms because blue is the color of "Notre Dame," Our Lady. Of course there's nothing wrong in wearing the traditional color of the Irish, as long as it's used to honor the great Irish saints such as Patrick as well as the standout Irish players like Montana. True, it is interesting to note that the three quarterback race in 2007 somewhat mirrors the situation in 1977, when "The Comeback Kid" started the season mired at the bottom, and it took a fluke injury and an Irish loss to move Montana up to the first string. But gimmicks aside, Joe's legacy was built on guts, not luck.

So in the end, it's not important whether the Irish play in blue or green, but what the color represents. If green is worn not for "the luck of the Irish," but for the saintly faith of Ireland, I'm all for it. So keep your four-leaf clovers; I'll stick with three, for according to St. Patrick, they represent the Trinity. Which begs the question:

Is that why Montana wore #3? (It sure didn't stand for "3rd String!")

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