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Analyzing the different angles of the Te’o situation

Jan 17, 2013, 4:37 PM EDT

2012 Heisman Trophy Presentation Getty Images

We look forward to getting back to Notre Dame football coverage. With college all-star games being played and recruiting taking some wild twists and turns, getting the focus off the soap opera surrounding Manti Te’o would be a welcome change after a very long night and morning.

Still, it’s hard to quantify just how large this story has gotten. Our initial reaction piece led the coverage on NBC News’ website, and we are well on our way to an all-time daily high for pageviews. In a story that gets more and more confusing (not to mention depressing) the deeper you dig, a hoax likely perpetrated by a young man hiding out in his parents house in Palmdale, California, still has a few chapters to be written.

Yet this story will have trouble advancing until we hear from Te’o. And while he and his new team are busy at work likely preparing for an onslaught of media attention, the All-American linebacker certainly has some explaining to do.

But let’s take a look at this story from a few more angles:


Does this hurt Manti Te’o’s draft stock? Only 32 decision makers can answer that, though it won’t stop most of us from talking about it for the next few months. That said, each and every team will have an opportunity to go one-on-one with Te’o at the NFL scouting combine, where they’ll get the linebacker free of his agent and media team. There will be some pretty intense discussions in Indianapolis, and you’ll like hear that Te’o came out of each and every one of them in good shape.

Some journalists have downgraded Te’o, even if he wasn’t in on the hoax, because he was duped. That led a guy like Skip Bayless to downgrade Te’o’s “intangibles,” while pulling away from his previous comparison to Ray Lewis. It shouldn’t be hard for guys like Skip to think back and remember when Ray Lewis was entangled in his own media mess. And it was a lot worse┬áthan falling in love with an imaginary girlfriend.

But making Te’o the face of your franchise might have gotten a lot tougher for teams picking at the top of the first round. And even if he runs and tests and talks as well as anyone could hope in the months leading to the draft, that perception might be hard to overlook.


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While Te’o is no longer a part of the Irish football program, Notre Dame saw fit to spend an hour answering questions and discussing candidly what they knew about the situation, filling in important pieces in the timeline, and putting the onus on their former star linebacker to tell his side of the story.

It’s been a chaotic 10 days for the Irish football program. After being embarrassed against Alabama on the biggest stage of college football, the program hung in limbo while head coach Brian Kelly pondered the Philadelphia Eagles job that eventually went to Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. Players, staff members and coaches didn’t really know what Kelly planned to do, but when he said he was coming back, the Irish got a huge boost. But all of that is up for grabs after yesterday’s revelations.

Cynics will connect the Te’o story to some media machine working double-time to promote the Fighting Irish. But those same cynics seem to have selective memory, especially thinking back to August when that very same machine had backed its tires over the Notre Dame football program and left it for dead.

This was a situation Notre Dame knew would eventually be exposed and the university’s immediate statement and Swarbrick’s press conference showed the seriousness of it all. Expect Brian Kelly to field questions when he’s back from recruiting, adding another layer of fun to Signing Day.


It might be a stretch to think that anything happening in the media could directly effect the Irish’s recruiting efforts. But don’t think this punch line isn’t appreciated by teams working overtime to protect their players from the hard charging Irish coaching staff.

Notre Dame is still on pace to have one of the more exciting weekends in January the football program has ever seen. The Irish will welcome touted defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, along with a handful of other players next weekend, all entertaining the idea of filling the final spots in this heralded recruiting class.

Yet this situation will most definitely come up in the living rooms of recruits everywhere. In many ways, it might have taken the spotlight off Brian Kelly, a guy who looked like he had one foot out the door to some earlier in the week.

The Irish have too good of a class to let anything fall apart in the next few weeks, and are well on their way to laying the tracks for their 2014 class. But this is sure to have recruits — the majority of whom spend a ton of time online — paying attention. For good reasons and bad.

  1. idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    Manti’s uncle was on the radio today and he has some crazy new information….check out this radio interview…CRAZY

    • jerseyirish10 - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      Wow is all I can say. I stopped it just after 17 mins as I just can’t listen anymore. Now 9 year old little girls are part of it, using cancer as part of the thing to maybe get close to Manti down the road for either money or fame. It’s just reached stupid levels. Te’o needs to speak, say when you knew and how far you played along, take the beating and get on with your life. No crime here, no money lost, from what I can tell no one really hurt. He’s pretty much just become a laughingstock for people and put a sour note (as if Bama already didn’t do enough) on a great season. Let’s get back to ND football, super recruiting class, keep it together and hopefully land Vanderdoes….that would be sweet. I appreciate on some levels ND sticking by Te’o through this silly event but really, it’s enough.

  2. mungman69 - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:22 AM

    I STILL don’t get it. Color me dumb but I don’t understand this. Maybe the next few days will bring forth some leveling.

    • massivedick - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      I think this is hilarious. Typical Catholic/Notre dame look the other way. Your beloved Te’o ain’t da sharpest tool in da shed. Don’t dare let him speak in public or he may pee his pants on national TV. This blog is the first time his “situation” has been brought up on Notre F’n Dame Central and it’s only for spin. Te’o knew about this and kept talking. ND admin knew about it and went into damage control. Heaven forbid someone speak against the almighty ND … I’ll see how long till I get censored … just like those pedophile priest whistle blowers.

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Jan 18, 2013 at 11:03 PM

        A rose by any other name would still be as big of a dick

  3. mungman69 - Jan 18, 2013 at 7:03 AM

    Well, time to go to work. See you all later.

  4. don74 - Jan 18, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Of the many things my dad used to tell me that I now regard as sage advice is one that applies here.

    If it seems too good to be true it is.

    I don’t know where the truth lies with this situation but I do know everyone had a hand in this hoax, even Manti and his family.

    • don74 - Jan 18, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      His family had her in Hawaii, he knew 12/6 it was a hoax and continued to speak of her before the game. Didn’t tell the University till 12/26. As Parcells used to say “Let’s hold off with the annointing oils.”

      For that matter everyone had a hand in the hoax including us. We bought the thing hook, line and sinker. The crazy thing is the guy’s impact on the program and the school would be just as big without his embellishments. The guy seems to have a great value system, niave but great. But it can’t be overlooked that he got as wrapped up in his story as all of us. I guess his ego got the best of him.

      I bet the guy who was going to name his daughter Manti is glad his wife overruled.

      • florida727 - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM

        Not sure why you’re getting all the thumbs-downs #don74. There’s one very specific timeline reference that’s VERY troubling. And that’s Manti himself acknowledging he learned of the hoax on a certain day (December 6th?) and TWO DAYS LATER talking about the death of his grandmother AND GIRLFRIEND. How any ND or Te’o apologist can justify that is beyond me.

      • florida727 - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:06 PM

        Forgot one thing: he also went on ESPN during a ND basketball game IN JANUARY and when the interviewer brought up the whole “personal tragedy” thing, Te’o went along with it like, yep, I’ve gone through a lot this year, thanks for the sympathies, I’ll get through it routine. One of the really sad aspects of this, as pointed out in another online story, is that because of this whole girlfriend hoax thing, he never actually got the chance to truly grieve over the death of his grandmother, the one who actually did die.

  5. nudeman - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Anybody ‘side me sick to death of this story?

    Keith, I suggest an immediate 6 part profile of Bruce Heggie

  6. ajw21 - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Nude I agree. The first night I couldnt get enough trying to get the facts. Then I was like Teo will talk Thursday so thats good. Then his interview was cancelled and I got bored with this. It is what it is. Goodluck in the NFL Teo and lets move on to ND Football 2013!

    • nudeman - Jan 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM

      I’ve heard Heggie is practically living in the Gug and is up to a bench press of 450 lbs
      Can anyone confirm?

      • don74 - Jan 18, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        Best Heggie comment I heard was at 6’5″ if he received punts and fell forward he could double the average return.

  7. ndirish10 - Jan 18, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    As more and more articles on Ronaiah Tuiasosopo come out, I’m leaning towards Manti being duped. Check this one out:

    He seems to be a pathological liar, maybe Titus, the father knows this and is the reason he praised Manti as a great role model to our youth through his statement last night. I would doubt that if he knew that Manti was in on the hoax he wouldn’t make that comment.

    I will take the Lou Holtz route. Go Irish!!!

  8. elwaysmilehighdenver - Jan 18, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Friday afternoon. 12:30 est Manti still hasn’t said a word! Maybe he’s hiding in a closet. The longer he hides out the worse this will get! Manti Shame-o the leader of the golden domer football team! What a douche bag!!

  9. 1historian - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    One more thing – I’d like a show of hands from any of you who think Skip Bayless’ take on this is worth a shit.

    None? I thought so.

    Oh I’m sorry – you in the 4th row. You just want to be excused to go potty? Go ahead.

  10. ajw21 - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    1hist: This is embarassing for ND but not a tragedy. No one died, comparing this to terrorist says more about you then the people telling jokes. Who cares what ND haters say. How do we get over this? Winning will help. If Ray Lewis can get over being at the scene of a murder, ND & Teo can recover!

  11. 1historian - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    In a very noble effort and because I am really quite a guy I have taken 12 opportunities to contribute my 2 cents to this story. This makes 24 cents that I have contributed and the result has been non-existent. (Not the first time, not the last.)

    So: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

    As of right now I officially don’t give one single flying shit about this sad little story anymore – whatever happens, happens.

    Que Sera Sera

    It’s a little below 0 here in central Maine today, a foot or so of snow is on the ground, the sun is out, my neighbor just came home with some hay for her goats, the wild turkeys are all over the damn place, the local birds are making an unholy mess around the bird feeder outside, (not to mention the damn squirrels but they have little ones to feed too), I’m reading a really interesting book, the dog is at daycare and I’ll be going to get him in a few hours, ‘Blue Bloods’ is on at 10 tonight and Ray Lewis’ last dance is scheduled for Sunday night.

    19 days until NSD

  12. dickasman - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Guys, notre dame just came across biggest btch, no her name is not lizzy, her name is Karma, no not Kama sutra but just Karma. You reap what you sow. Time for reaping. God is teaching us all a lesson here. He is alive and well, amen!

    • bernhtp - Jan 18, 2013 at 7:44 PM

      She’s been harping on the Lizzy case in the national media for a while.

  13. dickasman - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    One advice to everyone on this board. Delete Facebook. Delete twitter. Save humanity. I did. Couldn’t be happier, you will be too!

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:14 PM


      While i would agree that is sound advice, a bit of self reflection might lead you to the conclusion that people don’t generally take advice from a message board contributor that’s only consistent trait is nonsensical quips and gross inuendos. If you want to be Dr. Phil, you’ve gotta get in bed with Oprah first.

  14. dochrd - Jan 18, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    What a strange end to a great season–blowout in the NCS game, Kelly interviewing with the Eagles, the Full-Manti hoax. I’m going to try hard to remember how I felt about this season way back in December, how it felt like the Ara/Dan/Lou years. This weirdness will pass, and hopefully the spring game and fall practice will make January a distant memory….

  15. mungman69 - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    Now he’s talking. Let’s hope this gets cleared up.

  16. mungman69 - Jan 19, 2013 at 2:17 AM

    Inside the Morman

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