// you’re reading...

Beating the Odds

Notre Dame’s Glory Days

Brian Kelly is the latest to try his luck of the Irish in the Notre Dame football program.

Unfortunately for Kelly, the job is not what it once was. For sure, the prestige, visibility and the expectations are the same as ever, but one key factor can never be what it was in the old days: the great talent pool that flocked to South Bend.

Recruits have more options than they did years ago. Notre Dame is fighting programs all over the country for the blue-chippers.

That raises a question about sports dynasties. Which teams truly represent great achievements? Is it the Yankees? They had an advantage in brewery money that enabled them to buy Babe Ruth. Is it the Montreal Canadiens? They always seemed to have access to the top French-Canadian talent. In fact, here’s quite a discussion on which of those two franchises is the best.

But I’m looking for a team that forged great achievement while on a level playing field. Can there be a North American pro team more impressive than the San Antonio Spurs? A small market team, the Spurs have won four titles. Only the Celtics, Lakers and Bulls have more.

And how about the Pittsburgh Steelers? They have captured six Super Bowls, more than anyone else, and it’s hard to see what inherent advantages have helped them do this.

As for the Celtics, I don’t know enough about their history to say what might have helped them win all those titles. Was Red Auerbach just more shrewd than other executives, or did he have more money at his disposal?

The St. Louis Cardinals have won more than their share of titles in big-league baseball. A lot of credit for that goes to Branch Rickey, who essentially invented the minor league farm system that fed top-level talent to them. But that’s not an unfair advantage. It was an action taken to maximize resources.

At any rate, my hat is off to teams that simply worked harder and smarter than their opponents.

We’ll now see if Brian Kelly can do that at Notre Dame.


No comments for “Notre Dame’s Glory Days”

Post a comment