Last night, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish played a home game against Boston College showing that sports is all about the money. Boston has one of the closest sports communities in the country. The local teams support each other and they offer their support when it’s needed. Many of the players on the Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox, and Patriots are friends. The same is true for the coaches and the front office. Everyone knows the challenges of playing in Boston as well as the perks with all of the media and fan attention. Having said all of that, for the ownership for the team, sports is business and they will do whatever it takes to make more money. A good example is the Bruins playing the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in January. Both the Patriots and the Bruins will benefit significantly from this event. It’s a good example of two team coming together and putting together an event that will be very special for the Boston fans. It helps the business and the sports community. Then there was last night…
Notre Dame played home game at Fenway Park against Boston College. This was part of the “Shamrock Series”. The end zones had Notre Dame colors and the name. Fenway Park was littered with Notre Dame signs and logos throughout the stadium. The Notre Dame Band was on the field throughout the game as if the game was being played in South Bend, Indiana. The Red Sox Pro Shop was reportedly filled with Notre Dame memorabilia. Shirts, hats, posters…you name it you can get it right here at friendly Fenway!
Granted, Notre Dame is the most popular college football team in the country. There are probably more true Notre Dame fans even in the Boston area than there are die-hard Boston College fans. Boston College’s football program hasn’t exactly given fans a lot to cheer about lately. They haven’t made it to a bowl game since 2010. They had lost seven straight games heading into last night’s game. As part of the “Shamrock Series”, Notre Dame has to be the home team. There’s no way around it. So, there’s the obvious business side here. I’m sure the game brought a lot of revenue in for John Henry.
I wonder how the kids on Boston College felt as they entered a stadium about three miles from their campus that was all filled with Notre Dame logos and signs. It probably motivated them. Going back to the point about the Boston sports community this went completely against all of that. The message here was that the high and mighty Fighting Irish are bigger than your Boston sports community. They can have a home game right in your team’s backyard and you’ll just have to deal with it. Why? Because it’s Notre Dame and you need to kneel down and honor them. This is true even if you are arguably the top sports community the United States of America.
If Boston College was a Top 10 Team on an annual basis, one can wonder if there would have been more outrage from the local sports community regarding this game. Across all of sports, games at different stadiums are become more common. The Winter Classic is now expanding to multiple NHL games a year at NFL and MLB stadiums. Hypothetical question: Let’s say the New York Yankees, the most popular MLB team in the country, wanted to explore the option of playing a game at a different stadium. Let’s say they wanted to look at an NFL stadium. How about if they wanted to do it in Gillette Stadium against the Red Sox? Is there any possibility at all that Gillette Stadium would have Yankee retired numbers, logos, and it be a home game for them?! That would never happen. Or how about if the Dallas Cowboys wanted to explore the option and play at Fenway against the Patriots? How about the Dallas Cowboys star on the middle of the field with Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman being honored during the pre-game? Not even the Red Sox would do that to make a buck. Sports community outweighs the business…except last night.
The reality is that Boston College was taken advantage of because of their current irrelevance in the Boston sports scene. Had they been relevant, Notre Dame would not have bene big enough to come into Boston and take over the most historical sports stadium in Boston.
Boston College was motivated in a game that they had no business being close in. They fought to the end and lost 19-16. Good for them to hang with Notre Dame and give them a few moments of doubt. As for Notre Dame, the great “powerhouse” was not so great last night. This is the #4 team in the country? Really?
Take the “Shamrock Series” to Tampa Bay next. They likely have an opening.