Notre Dame Football recently announced another “Green Out” for the 2019 Football Season. This year, Irish fans will be asked to wear green against Notre Dame’s most bitter rival, the Trojans of USC. Last season, the fans had a rather successful Green Out against the Michigan Wolverines. It’s now been two years in a row that Notre Dame has supported a “Color Out,” so can fans expect to participate in this event annually? Let us take a look at the history.
2018 Michigan “Green Out”
This past fall Notre Dame held a Green Out in their home opener against the Michigan Wolverines. This grassroots movement started by Notre Dame fans on social media and gathered momentum roughly 100 days before kickoff. At that same time, the Notre Dame Football Program began to get wind of the movement. Even the official social media account of Notre Dame Football posted videos of players announcing to Irish fans that they wanted them to wear green for the game.
On opening night the Notre Dame Football team came out in their traditional navy jerseys. They would save the honor of the green jerseys for senior night against the Florida State Seminoles. Notre Dame Stadium, on the other hand, was, for the most part, covered in green. Yes, it wasn’t as pure of a color as the Penn State “White Out” or Michigan “Yellow Out,” but compared to past failures, this was a great effort by the Notre Dame fan base.
2013 Oklahoma “Green Out”
Before last season, Notre Dame had not attempted a color out since the Oklahoma Sooners visited South Bend in 2013. Unfortunately, not even half of the fans wore green that day. Navy, grey, gold, and other colors of t-shirts that accompany the Fighting Irish filled the stadium. Not to mention, there was a lot of Sooner Red in the stands that day. It wasn’t the first time and won’t be the last time that opposing fans visit Notre Dame Stadium in waves.
Most of the burden can be placed on Notre Dame fans for not attending the game. However, Notre Dame Stadium is one of the most historic college football stadiums in the country and opposing fans will pay about anything to see their team face the Irish in South Bend during their lifetime. But that is a topic for another day.
Hopefully, these lackluster attempts to green out Notre Dame Stadium are a thing of the past.
2019 USC “Green Out”
Now that the University is officially on board with promoting this Green Out for fans, hopefully, the stadium will be closer to 100% green. Luckily last season the Green Out was more straightforward because the official Notre Dame T-shirt was green. That is not the case this year with “The Shirt” coming in a light blue color.
Always expect the students to wear a unified color each fall, but the real trick is to get the older fans on board. Sometimes fans weren’t aware of the Green Out, and it is essential to spread the word not only on social media but through other avenues.
Perhaps printing a Green Out notification on the tickets would suffice.
Adding More Green to Notre Dame Stadium
The last time Notre Dame Football gave out rally towels to the entire crowd was back in 2011 for the USC game. To take the Green Out to another level, Notre Dame could give out towels to each fan. Last year, the Notre Dame Students received green towels for the Michigan game. However, the rest of the crowd was left without a towel to wave.
Even back in 2011 Notre Dame fans were given green pom poms for the Boston College matchup. It may not have been a total of 80,000 given out, but it was certainly more than just the students. Since the Irish have made plans to Green Out the USC game, this gives the University plenty of time to find potential sponsors for the towels.
Back in the spring, Compton Family Ice Arena gave out rally towels to all the fan who watched the Irish play in the Big Ten Championship Game against the Penn State Nittany Lions. The atmosphere and Jumbotron were terrific for that matchup. Albeit the arena only holds roughly 5,000 fans, it was a small sample size for what could take place at Notre Dame Stadium.
Future of the “Green Out”
The 2020 season will be a natural choice for the Irish. With the Clemson Tigers coming to South Bend, this will without a doubt be the marquee game of the season. This can potentially be the biggest game at Notre Dame Stadium since the 2005 USC game. Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers are coming off a 15-0 season in 2018 and a dominating win over the Irish and Crimson Tide in the playoffs.
Notre Dame always seems to play the monumental matchups on the road in recent memory; whether it was Florida State ’14, Clemson ’15, Miami ’17, Georgia ’19. Most of these games are home and home series, such as Georgia in 2017 and Michigan last season. For whatever reason, it seems as though College Football fans only remember the road losses of the Irish and not so much when they take care of business at home.
Nevertheless, Clemson will most likely be a top 5 opponent when they visit South Bend in 2020, and most wouldn’t be shocked if they are sitting at #1 or #2. The last time a #1 ranked team was at Notre Dame Stadium was the USC game in 2005. Most fans would suggest that is the loudest the Stadium has been in the last two decades.
Irish Fans will make the Difference
Throughout the Brian Kelly Era, Notre Dame Stadium has slowly become a more intimidating environment. The younger fans have been trying to turn the stadium into a more hostile venue for opposing teams for the last several decades. With the addition of the jumbotron and now the Green Out, Notre Dame Stadium is on the right track.
If there is going to continue to be an annual Green Out in South Bend, it’s going to have to start with the fans. Social media played a significant part in promoting the Green Out for the Michigan game last fall. If enough people support this event each season, the Notre Dame Football program will continue to listen to the fans. Hopefully, in 10 years, Irish fans will be talking about the Green Out as being one of their favorite football traditions.