Irish Football 101


  • Since the AP began certifying the winner of its national crown in 1936, Notre Dame has won more national championships than any other team in the country. The Irish have won eight titles (1943-46-47-49-66-73-77-88) -- with Oklahoma second on the list with six. Notre Dame generally is considered to have earned 11 consensus national titles (1924-29-30-43-46-47-49-66-73-77-88). But there have been 19 seasons in which Notre Dame has qualified as a national champion from at least one of the 22 legitimate poll titles (1919-20-24-27-29-30-38-43-46-47-49-53-64-66-67-70-73-77-88). That means in every decade from the teens to the 80's there has been at least on National Championship.
  • Notre Dame has been ranked in the Top 10 in 34 of the past 61 seasons (1936-1997) in the final AP poll, and 22 out of 47 seasons (1950-1997) in the final UPI (Coaches) Poll.
  • Irish players have been honored as first-team All-America selections on 170 occasions. Notre Dame players have received recognition on at least one All-America second team on 66 other occasions. Notre Dame has had 92 consensus All-Americans. Notre Dame has had 77 different players earn the consensus designation, more than any other school. Notre Dame has produced at least one consensus All-American in 25 of the last 31 seasons. In fact, Notre Dame had a consensus selection in 17 straight years - including all 11 years under Ara Parseghian and all six under Dan Devine - from 1964 through 1981. Notre Dame has had 29 unanimous choices, more than any other university. Irish players have won 7 Heismans, 6 Timmies (Wash. D.C. Athletic Club), 5 Maxwell Awards, 4 Lombardi Awards, 3 Outland Trophies 3, Walter Camp Trophies, and a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award.
  • Notre Dame has produced 37 members of the College Football Hall of Fame who were players.  
  • There have been 5 former coaches who all ended their careers at ND who are in the College Football Hall of Fame.
  • The Irish are 13-7 in Bowl Games.
  • Notre Dame is second only to UM in total victories (UM has about a ten year advantage in time played), yet the Irish hold a .757 - .742 edge over UM.
  • 1- Notre Dame (753-228-42, avg. .757), 2- Michigan (766-254-36.avg. .742) 3-Alabama (717-260-43. avg .724).
  • The #1 & #2 coaches with the highest winning percentage are Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy. The winning percentage of Knute Rockne (105-12-5.881) in 13 seasons and Frank Leahy (87-11-9 .855 at ND) in 11 seasons at ND and 2 at BC rank one-two among all coaches according to NCAA figures, making them the two winningest coaches in college football history. Leahy's official NCAA mark is .864 on a 107-13-9 record that includes a 20-2 mark as Boston College head coach in 1939 and '40.
  • NFL/AFL teams have drafted 416 Notre Dame football players since 1921 when the draft began. Notre Dame has had 55 first-round draft picks. Overall, the Irish have had five players (more than any other school) chosen as the first pick in the entire draft
  • Notre Dame has helped build its football tradition with impressive records against top-ranked opponents and against teams entering with lengthy winning streaks. The Fighting Irish own eight victories over number-one-ranked teams (most recently over unbeaten FSU in 1993)--with five of those coming in bowl games beginning with the 1971 Cotton Bowl. Notre Dame also has played the spoiler role on numerous occasions--eight times coming up with a victory or tie in an opponent's final game of the season to end a potential perfect season (Michigan State '66, Texas in '71 Cotton Bowl, Alabama in '73 Sugar Bowl, Alabama in '75 Orange Bowl, Texas in '78 Cotton Bowl, West Virginia in '89 Fiesta Bowl, Colorado in '90 Orange Bowl, Texas A&M in '93 Cotton Bowl). Here is a listing of games in which the Irish have put an end to an especially impressive winning streak maintained by an opponent:

    Notre Dame 7, Oklahoma 0 November 16, 1957 - Owen Field, Irish ended the second-ranked and defending national champion Sooners' 47-game winning streak, still the longest in college football history.
    Notre Dame 31, Miami 30 October 15, 1988 - Notre Dame Stadium,
    Irish ended the top-rated Hurricanes' 36-game regular-season winning streak.
    Notre Dame 27, Georgia Tech 14 October 24, 1953 - Notre Dame Stadium
    Irish end fourth-rated Georgia Tech's 31-game unbeaten streak,
    Notre Dame 24, Texas 11 January 1, 1971 - Cotton Bowl,
    Irish ended the top-ranked Longhorns' 30-game winning streak
    Notre Dame 0, Army 0 November 9, 1946 - Yankee Stadium,
    Irish snapped the Cadets' 25-game win streak
    Notre Dame 23, USC 14 October 27, 1973 - Notre Dame Stadium,
    Irish ended the sixth-rated Trojans' 23-game unbeaten string. The victory in Notre Dame Stadium was the pivotal triumph in Notre Dame's 1973 national championship season.
  • Against the major conferences, ND has a winning record against all of them.
    ACC 46-10-1  
    Big East 68-26-2 (includes Miami)
    Big 10 202-94-15 (Includes Penn State)
    Big 12 33-15-2  
    Pac 10 60-29-6  
    SEC 18-10-0  
    WAC 47-9-0  
  • Notre Dame has faced 129 different opponents, They have winning records against 115 of those schools, even records with 8 schools, and losing records with 6 schools (of those 6, 2 are now gone, and one has not been played since 1914 [Yale]). The others are Michigan, FSU, and Georgia.
  • Notre Dame has had 9 losing seasons in the previous 111 seasons, they were in 1887, 1888, 1933, 1956, 1960, 1963, 1981, 1985, 1986. The first 2 were the first 2 seasons of ND Football.
  • Gus Dorais (the first ND player ever to win ANY All-America honors) and Rock developed the forward pass while Lifeguards at Cedar Point in Sandusky OH, the summer of 1913. The pass was used previously in games, but it was used sparingly and only when the ball handler was in trouble prior to 1913. Gus and Rock developed it into a weapon.
  • Rock created the backfield motion with his shifts, which were banned originally. Notre Dame is credited with the modern football shoulder pads designed by Rock while he was a consultant with Wilson sporting goods. Another example, in the year 1925, when Wilson teamed up with Rockne to create the first ever valve inflated football, eliminating the need for a stem which previously had caused a lump under the laces. and even the modern huddle (Leahy changed from the circle to the huddle that is used even in present day).