Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Reason #103912 Why I Hate Notre Dame

As Sam notes in his post, I believe that the recent SC v. ND game was easily the game of the decade, and could possibly be the game of several recent decades combined (maybe if I was born earlier I would know this for sure). However, that being said, just because it was a good game doesn't mean I have to like Notre Dame.

In fact, if anything, I hate Notre Dame more now than ever, and it is not because I go to Marquette and my older brother went to SC, it is because of some of the dirty tactics that Notre Dame and its Jabba the Hut head coach used that were not nearly as innocent as trotting out in luck-of-the-irish-shamrock-green jerseys> Perhaps, most notably, would be Jabba's decision to grow the grass "Touchdown Jesus" watches over, ridiculously high in a feeble and dangerous attempt to give the Notre Dame even more of a home field advantage.

One might ask, "How would that give Notre Dame an advantage?" and"What is wrong with giving yourself a home-field advantage by doing so?"

Glad you asked.

Why do it? In theory, when a home team is faced with superior athletes who are faster than the ones you have you can "slow them down" by making changes to the playing surface, one of them being letting the grass grow longer without cutting it (another example could be watering the field excessively before a game as well), because thick, tall grass slows runners down as it creates more friction (hence why track runners run on a dirt/clay/rubber track rather than on grass at all). In addition, taller grass can make cutting and juking more difficult as it creates an uneven playing surface (more on this in a minute) that may cause difficulty in getting the footing required to make say a juke move. Also, offenses depend on timing, and if a QB and his receivers are used to routes taking X amount of time on a certain surface, a surface that sets out to slow receivers down can disrupt that timing. Lastly, longer than normal grass can have purely a mental effect on unsuspecting players, as they know or at least believe the grass could have an effect on their "normal" game, leading an athlete to over compensate.

I'm not saying that any of the above actually happened in the SC v. ND game or that SC would have killed ND if the grass was cut shorter, the above is just me stating why it is done (similar things have also been done to slow down base runners in Major League Baseball).

Next question:

Why is this bad?
1) You slow down your own, already slower, less athletic players, so that sort of negates the purpose (unless it is to throw off timing or for psychological effect). 2) Most importantly, longer grass creates an uneven playing surface because not all blades and patches of grass grow at the same rate, when you cut the grass, you cut it so that all of the blades and all of the patches are the same length. So why does this matter? Simple. Running and cutting on an uneven playing surface increases the likelihood of injury and I think it could be argued that the long grass contributed to Desmond Reed's probably season-ending injury (one of SC's kick return men) and that it could have also contributed to two injuries to Notre Dame lineman. If I'm Reed and the ND linemen I'd sue the Jesus out of Notre Dame if it can be proved that they let the grass grow out of the desire to gain an additional home-field advantage with complete disregard for player safety. Knee injuries not only can end a players season, but could also end a player's career in the NFL before it even could get started.

One question still remains.... Why do you care? USC won, ND lost, isn't that good enough for you?

Yes I am happy SC won and ND lost, and I'll admit ND is a much better team than I thought and SC was lucky to come out of South Bend with a win, but here at 1832, we believe in the truth, and yesterday during a Notre Dame press conference, Jabba the Hut was asked about the grass and he asserted that the grass was the same length for the SC game as it was for the MSU game a few weeks ago (note in order to view the press conference footage you need a premium rivals pass, which I cant give out, I will post a link to a free transcript when/if it is made available). Oh really Jabba?

These pictures seem to tell a different story:

The first photo is taken from the SC v. ND game and notice how the Notre Dame player's right foot is barely visible, now look at grass length in the second picture from the MSU v. ND game, the grass in the first picture is clearly longer.

Notice to Jabba: You had 45,000 fans at a pep rally the night before with Joe Montana and "Rudy", you had a sold out stadium, you had two weeks to prepare for this game, and you even brought out the luck-of-the-irish-shamrock-green jerseys. I think you had all the home-field advantages you could want or ask for.

Growing grass to this length was pointless, stupid, and potentially dangerous, which causes me not to respect Notre Dame or Jabba the Hut.

Oh and Notre Dame fans, don't even bother commenting on the spot of the fumble, the timeout outs that SC called when they had none, or Bush's push into Leinart, I can rebut all of them and the regardless of any of them, I'm pretty sure the game would have ended in the same result with a SC victory and a ND lose.

Update: Below are links to photo galleries of the MSU v. ND game and SC v. ND game... in all the pictures the grass appears to be much longer (and certainly more uneven) in the SC v. ND photos. I have also posted links to some newspaper accounts that agree with my story.

MSU v. ND photo gallery
SC v. ND photo gallery

Star-Telegram in Texas (they have no reason to side with SC, Texas wanted SC to lose this game, as evidence by a state by state Sportsnation poll that was on ESPN before the game)
Daily Breeze in LA

(there are at least a dozen more, if you want to read them do a google news search for "grass and ND" and "grass and SC or trojans" and sort by date.