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From Purwho: 'Rudy' farce represents overblown Notre Dame legacy

  • BY DANIEL THOMPSON Assistant Sports Editor

    We’ve all seen it; we all know the story.

    “Rudy,” tells the story of the 5-foot-6-inch, 165-pound walk-on at the most storied football program in America (at the time). What some may not know is that the story of Rudy was a farce, a fraud that tricked the minds of sports fans around America.

    Like any sports movie, “Rudy” was “loosely based” on a true story. If it weren’t for a September, 2010 interview of Joe Montana, who played at Notre Dame shortly after Ruettiger graduated, America would still be tricked into thinking all the things that took place in the movie were true events.

    Yes, he did get to play the final two snaps of his senior season. Yes, he did get a sack against Georgia Tech. Yes, he did get carried off the field, but as Montana stated in the interview, Ruettiger worked hard, but not any harder than anybody else on the team at the time.

    There was no “Ru-dy” chant in the stands. Nobody threw jerseys on head coach Dan Devine’s desk while protesting for Ruettiger to dress. Although the movie portrays Ruettiger to be a hero as he was carried off the field, Montana confirmed Ruettiger was carried off the field, but it was done as a joke more than anything.

    The movie gave people of this generation a sense of tradition at Notre Dame – a sense of tradition that hasn’t been relevant since the late 1980s.

    Most Notre Dame fans, the same fans who haven’t stepped foot in South Bend, don’t know the first four words to the Alma Mater “Notre Dame, Our Mother”, and who wear reversible Notre Dame football, IU basketball jackets, think that because Notre Dame won a national championship in 1988, the team is still relevant in the college football landscape.

    Notre Dame fans are quick to point out that their team has won more national championships – eleven – than any other college football program in America. What they forget to say is that three of those 11 were voted on by the Helms Athletic Foundation, the same foundation that voted Purdue basketball national champions in 1932.

    If Purdue’s 1932 championship is irrelevant then why do Notre Dame’s three football championships count? Of their 11 championships, the Irish have won only four bowl games to earn the championship; the other seven were voted on by a committee and split with other teams.

    This weekend as Notre Dame fans come to town from mostly central and southern Indiana (a few will come from South Bend), rest assured that the tradition they boast of is about as relevant as a tweet from Tom Crean.

    What doesn’t make sense is why Rudy put so much time and effort into something that he was awful at. If he would have spent half his time and energy on anything else as he did on football, he could have become anything he wanted. Instead, he became just another story of the kid who wouldn’t quit and happened to get a movie made after himself.

  • Is there an actual point to this article? Everybody...especially die hard Notre Dame fans, actual alumni or subway alumni knows that Hollywood took extreme literary license with the story about Dan Reuttiger. As far as the claim that he could have been anything he wanted, but just 'happened' to get a movie made about him is misleading, if not just flat out wrong. He had the manuscript for this movie and, a la his perseverence in getting into notre Dame, he took his pitch from studio to studio and received rejection after rejection before finally getting somebody to take a chance. BTW. Several yrs. ago I went to West Laffeyette for a Notre Dame Purdue game and saw dozens of homemade t-shirts (preumably frat shirts) that very crudely stated '...Bring back the potato famine...', and others that said,'...Igot your CLOVER right here...'. Hey, genius it's a SHAMROCK. Totally classless.

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    Gringo Mafia: Black Ops & 'Family Recruitment' Official thorn in JSapp's side POTW 3/25/12

  • LIShamrock said... (original post)

    Is there an actual point to this article?

    Yes,there is a reason, sour grapes. It's a common trait in Purdue fans. This one even appears to be a professional writer yet gets his facts wrong. First, Purdue didn't win a NC in 1932, the consensus Champs were a split between Michigan and if Michigan was undefeated that year what happened to Purdue? Well, in those days the Big 10 schedule was about 6 games. Purdue actually did better than Michigan against a few common opponents, but didn't make any waves nationally.

    The funny this is, one respected college football research rating did give Purdue the 1931 NC, but not only did they split that with Pitt, but USC won every other poll or rating system.

    And, of course, as we all know, the only "split" NC ND ever won was in '73 when we beat the "other champion" in the Sugar Bowl....ironically, that other team, Alabama, claims quite a few years as NC when another team was given more recognition. For example, they do, in fact, claim '73 because the coaches did not vote after the bowls....until '74 because it was so obvious that the head to head winner was the NC.

  • Not that I wanna defend a whining PU fan, but as far as the Nat. Chmpnshp in '32 he was referring to basketball. I don't know if you picked up on that dannan.

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    Gringo Mafia: Black Ops & 'Family Recruitment' Official thorn in JSapp's side POTW 3/25/12

  • No, i didn't. Thank you for the correction. Must've been a helluva year in West Lafayette in '32...undefeated co-Big 10 champs in football and a basketball NC. If that is their only bball NC, i'm actually a little surprised.

  • Rudy was a good movie. But it is a little perplexing that so many people seem to know more about the partly fictional "Rudy" story than about actual Notre Dame football heroes, even those who have won Heisman Trophies or led Notre Dame to national championships. I guess that's Hollywood.

    By the way, I was at the Rudy game and I didn't have a clue who he was and don't remember any chanting by the fans or anything like that.

  • From everything i've ever read about Rudy, it seems he was always a teller of tall tales. But, when it comes down to it, that is all legends are after all those involved have grown old and died. Reagan's portrayal of Gipp has made him into a saint in most people's minds, yet the truth is he was a hustler. i don't necessarily think this is a bad thing, but it is always good for the true stories of great accomplishments to be accurately retold. The truth usually ends up making better legends.