Since Crystal Ball Run first wrote about Notre Dame’s new “Shamrock Series” uniforms earlier this week (set to debut in October against Miami), most fans have seemed…
… Hmm, how do we say this nicely?...
… Well, they seem a bit, umm, “underwhelmed” by the Irish’s new jersey choice.
Ok, so “underwhelmed” might not be the right choice of words. The simple truth? Most fans despise them. Of all the comments we received on our original article on the uniforms, not a single one was positive. On other national outlets, the response has been much the same.
And apparently, it’s not just the fans who despise the Irish’s new look, as on Saturday a prominent ex-Notre Dame superstar spoke out. That person was former Irish receiver and current Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija, and when he was asked about the uniforms after a pitching performance, he wasn’t afraid to tell ESPNChicago.com exactly what he thought:
"Well, it seems to be the thing these days for recruiting, huh?" said Samardzija.
“See how much confetti and hoopla you can put out there to get guys to come to your school. You'd think playing on TV every Saturday would be enough."
Man Jeff, why don’t you tell us how you really feel? Speaking of which, you know what the most ironic part of Samardzija’s comments was? Admittedly, he hasn’t even seen the jerseys yet. Maybe a quick scroll through the Crystal Ball Run archives might change his mind on the “Shamrock Series?”
Probably not. And to his credit, Samardzija’s comments do hold mostly true.
For one, Samardzija is absolutely, positively 100 percent correct in saying that the uniforms are actually more recruiting tool than anything else. As we mentioned in our original post, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what we as writers, the fans or even alumni think of the uniforms. If 18-year-old kids think they’re cool, that’s all that Notre Dame and Adidas really care about. Not to mention that a quick uniform change is just about the easiest way to get people talking about you for no apparent good reason. They say that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” and in this case, it’s certainly true. More than anything that’s happened on the field, these uniforms have been the buzz of college football this past week.
At the same time, Samardzija’s bigger point stands true also: For all the hype around the uniforms, the easiest way to generate buzz has nothing to do with your threads and actually winning football games.
Think about it for a second. For all th e discussion on how the uniform craze helped launch programs like Oregon and Oklahoma State, if it weren’t for creative coaching hires (mainly Chip Kelly and Dana Holgorsen as offensive coordinators at various points; Kelly of course went on to be the head coach) and for actually winning games, it really wouldn’t matter what the Ducks or Cowboys uniforms looked like. After all, remember how much buzz Maryland got about their uniforms last fall? Well, how much did it help them on the field?
Then again, if there is one person we should listen to on the issue, it just might be Samardzija. Sure, he hasn’t seen the uniform yet, but of everyone under the age of 30 who has played at Notre Dame, he’s one of the few people that actually, you know, understands what it takes to win at the school.
That’s right, when Samardzija teamed with Brady Quinn in his junior and senior years, their Irish clubs were pretty much the only relevant ones of the past decade in South Bend going 19-6 in their junior and senior years. The Irish have gone just 32-30 in five seasons since.
And as best we can tell, all the success that Samardzija had at Notre Dame had little to do with the uniform he wore on his back.
For all his opinion, analysis and college football articles be sure to follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.