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Long home games hurt team

Peter Zavodnyik | Monday, December 7, 2009

Notre Dame’s endowment was $400 million in the late ‘80s when it began negotiating with NBC. It is now $8 billion.

I mention this because I think Notre Dame football will not really prosper until the NBC contract is abolished. We can afford it.

Four-and-a-half-hour football games hurt the team. While it is true that opposing teams also have to play during that four-and-a-half-hour span, they don’t have to do it seven times a year. And while the game is still only 60 minutes in terms of pure playing time, having to muster concentration into that fourth hour is difficult. For visitors, who often make the Notre Dame game their marquee game, this is feasible — once a year. In addition, the length of the games hurt the running attack, as it allows opposing D-lines to catch their breath. (Granted, Notre Dame will have to field a running game before this becomes a real problem.) The numerous time-outs also give opposing defensive backs time to rest — this has mattered a lot in recent years as Notre Dame has grown more dependent on the pass. Despite problems in recent years, Notre Dame usually has more talented and stronger athletes than the opposition; this advantage is mitigated when the game is stopped repeatedly, allowing people to rest. The cumulative effects over the length of a season mean that Notre Dame teams are less effective at the end of the year — this probably contributed to the numerous losses of Weis-led teams in November. Even Holtz’s teams in the early ‘90s suffered let-downs at home late in the second half.

If Notre Dame has to join a conference in order to recruit at the top level, a positive side effect might be the end of that goofy contract — three-and-a-half-hour games are acceptable; four-and-a-half-hour games without roman numerals after them are a joke.


Peter Zavodnyik


class of 1992

Dec. 4