The magic behind Notre Dame's green jerseys is set to be unveiled for their upcoming challenge this weekend. Coach Brian Kelly confirmed Tuesday that the Fighting Irish side will be wearing their emerald jerseys for their upcoming game against Army at Yankee stadium this Saturday.
Their green uniforms are a throwback to Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy when green was worn to inspire fear in the opposing team. Leahy had the team wear their green jerseys more often than not.
The upcoming game this weekend will be a decisive one as the men in green take on Army, the team that have dominated college football in the past.
The green jerseys will also be seen as a homage to New Yorkers, and the many east coast fans that follow the Fighting Irish.
The most famous occasion when the Notre Dame side wore their green uniforms was the challenge against Navy, in 1927 in Baltimore. After Rockne had started his second stringers, Navy scored a touchdown straight away. George Travor, in the New York Sun described what happened next:
"Instantaneously, the Notre Dame regulars yanked off their blue outer sweaters and - like a horde of green Gila monsters - darted onto the field. From that moment on, Notre Dame held the initiative, imposed its collective will upon the Navy."
The following year the team wore green again for the game against Navy.
"K.K. Rockne may, or may not, be a psychologist. But, he did array his team in bright green jerseys for their battle with the United States Naval Academy. Mr Rockne evidently surmised that garbing a band of native and adopted Irish in their native color is somewhat akin to showing a bull the Russian flag," a local scribe wrote.
Then decades later in 1977, the USC coach Dan Devine kept the teams green jerseys a secret right up until the last moment before the game, which was filled with pre match tension.
The green jerseys proved to be a lucky charm once again and the team won 49-16. The wore the jerseys for the rest of the season and went on to win the national title defeating Texas 38-10.
Gerry Faust used the green uniforms during victories in 1983 and 1985. The team switched to the jerseys at half time during the '85 game!
Under Lou Holtz, the team wore green twice, which lead the team to a 1992 Sugar Bowl victory over Florida. Not so lucky in 1999, the team dressed in green lost 35-28 to Georgia Tech for the Gator Bowl. While in 2002, under Tyrone Willingham the team were defeated in their green jerseys against Boston College. Charlie Weis lead the team to victory twice dressed in their green armor.
No doubt Brian Kelly is hoping the green jerseys will bring his team to victory this weekend.