Swarbrick acknowledged a hotly contested sentiment among Irish fans, commented on the energetic atmosphere, or lack thereof, of Notre Dame Stadium and encouraged the Irish student body to take matters into its own hands.
“I need your passion,” he said. “I travel around with our team, and our stadium is the quietest place we play. I want you guys on that Saturday night at least once to make USC have a false start penalty.”
Apparently Swarbrick addressed the students during dinner this past week in anticipation of next weekend’s game with Southern Cal. Anyone who has been to a home game in South Bend over the past couple of seasons knows there is a lot to be desired when it comes to environment and crowd noise. Some of the issues can’t be fixed (namely lack of student body and design of the stadium). But plenty of them can be so for a variety of reasons, this really pissed me off.
First, the student section isn’t too blame. Having spend 4 years there, including the miserable 2007 season, I can attest to how loud it gets. ND has 8,000 students who stand the entire game and cheer their asses off. Blaming them for lack of crowd noise is just stupid.
Second, ND stadium can get loud. Anyone who was in the stadium in ’05 for 4th and 9 or watched/attended the Michigan game in ’88 (embedded above) knows how loud that stadium can be. And you know what the biggest difference between those games and the past couple of seasons? Notre Dame was a very good football team. When you produce teams that lose to Syracuse and UConn on Senior Day, you’re going to cause a distinct lack of noise within your stadium. Will ND ever be as loud as a night LSU game vs Alabama in Baton Rouge or the Swamp for UF-FSU? Probably not. 20,000+ students and different stadium designs will ensure that.
But the biggest reason Swarbrick bitching about the lack of noise annoys me is he is in a place of power within the athletic department and can make changes to fix some of the biggest issues.
- Stop celebrating the various staffs and obscure department groups at the 20 yardline during TV timeouts. I know that sounds cold but it just zaps any momentum from the crowd. The music has to stop, everyone gives a polite clap while giving two shits about it at the moment.
- Do something about the ushers. While never experiencing this myself (either I’m the worst fan or I actually sit near normal people), way too many people have complained about being told to sit down when standing during critical moments or been warned that they were cheering too loud (wtf?) for it not to be an issue. It’s frickin football game. People stand, people cheer loudly (you’d hope) and sometime people curse. None of those are reasons to eject someone from the stadium.
- Accept that drunk fans usually equals louder and more rowdy fans so do something with Excise. (Note: I doubt Swarbrick has any power to fix this, just wanted to complain about Excise)
- Win! Then win some more! Just keep F&$%KING winning!
None of these issues are new and have been bandied about by ND fans for a long time. Still, as the athletic director, I’d like to believe that Swarbrick would be in position to help fix some of them. We all like to think he already did a good job with number 4.
There are plenty of reasons that ND stadium is quiet. The student section is without a doubt not one of them. So don’t complain to them or implore them to get the stadium louder. They’ll be plenty loud next Saturday night and even the Saturday following that. It’s not them Jack. It’s you.