Jan 8, 2010, 1:00 PM EST
Leave it to ESPN to get under the skin of Notre Dame fans even when they weren’t playing or firing a head coach.
I happened to notice a fun new graphic that ESPN was touting every
spare moment it could find. That graphic depicted a listing of
collegiate football programs with “the most national titles since major
polling began.” It listed Alabama and Notre Dame as tied with 8,
effectively robbing Notre Dame of 3 of its consensus national
championships. Effectively, ESPN, for whatever reason (a reason I’m
sure is in line with some MBA’s or group of MBA’s strategy for ESPN and
their relationship with the SEC), has revised history, and thanks to a
liemedia distribution capacity coupled with the
fallow intellectual capacity of the greater portion of the nation’s
population, it seems likely that it’s only a matter of time before it
becomes “common knowledge” that ND holds only 8 national championships.
Whatever ESPN is trying to accomplish here, there’s little doubt
that their intent is no less duplicitous than Urban Meyer’s average
thought. Notre Dame, despite internal and external forces and
influence, continues to refuse to “get in line” and join a conference
and they continue to remain in a relationship with NBC. Thus ESPN, the
“journalistic entity” that covers the sporting world – a world that is
as much about business as it is about some ethereal notions of fandom
and entertainment – has probably at best identified Notre Dame as
competition and at worst identified Notre Dame as an enemy. So long as
Notre Dame refuses to cooperate on a business level with ESPN, ESPN
would rather Notre Dame be seen as a Vanderbilt or Duke in the college
There’s not much more to be said about this. It’s outrageous. It’s
irresponsible. And it’s further indication that ESPN is little more
than TMZ plus flashier intro screens and less journalistic integrity.
I have a feeling this is graphic is more because Alabama claims to have 13 national championships, like the one in 1930 where Park H. Davis, a former player and coach selected them co-champions with the Irish, who were named the National Champs by the five other major polls of the era, yet Alabama recognizes themselves as that season’s National Champ. Fuzzy math by the Tide, and most likely the case for ESPN’s unwillingness to acknowledge that football existed before the Associated Press started their poll, which is a pretty ridiculous decision by ESPN, although pretty consistent for a network that wasted months trying to decide “who’s NOW.”
You’ll rarely hear me side with the WWL, and I think that their journalistic integrity stinks sometimes, but I think this change is more because Alabama fans are out of control in their quest for claiming titles from years past as opposed to simply trying to cheat the Irish out of the Knute Rockne era.