Well, 2012 turned out to be a pretty good year, huh? The pure awesomeness of 2012 was really put in perspective when I decided to comb the SubwayDomer archives. For all the current euphoria around the program, that was definitely not the feeling when 2012 kicked off. They say that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger and that was certainly true of NDFB in 2012. To relive some of the ups and (perceived) downs just peruse this time capsule of 2012: the very best posts from SubwayDomer.com this year!
Typical Notre Dame Off-Season Turmoil. 2012 certainly didn't SEEM to get off on the right foot. Coming off a disappointing loss to Florida State in the Champ Sports Bowl the Irish were hit hard by a slew of last minute recruiting de-commits, coaching staff departures, and player run-ins with the South Bend Police (actual image of Tommy Rees, here). It wasn't all bad news, of course. Manti Te'o and Tyler Eifert decided to return for their senior seasons which brought real hope. The new hires of Harry Hiestand and Bob Elliot to the coaching staff were also great additions. From the beginning of the coaching staff reshuffle, Brian Kelly emphasized the importance of communication and the staff working as a team. Blog Davie weighed in on coaching staff changes here with "The Haydenization of Notre Dame Football." (Which is a pretty good thing according to Jared Diamond). But without a doubt the big news of the off-season was the departure of volatile freshman, defensive-end prodigy Aaron Lynch. Your Emperor captured the frustration felt by many at the time as only he can as "Shooting Bottle-Rockets at the Moon." While the Lynch fiasco felt like a big blow at the time TheSubwayDomer put it all in it's proper perspective noting the D-Line (for the first time in recent memory) had enough depth to survive such a loss.
TheSubwayDomer's charming idiosyncracies. If you're a regular reader you know that TheSubwayDomer has certain… erm…passions. They include field-turf, camo uniforms, dreadlocks, and jumbo-trons not necessarily in that order. (Staff opinions on these subjects can be found here). He's also been a longtime backer of Notre Dame joining the ACC and more conspicuous promotion of all Notre Dame rivalry trophies. Needless to say your Warlord was pretty psyched about the news of ND moving all sports to the ACC and kind-of-sort-of in football. His dream of camo unis didn't happen this year but the Shamrock Series unis versus Miami were definitely a step closer. For all the hate heaped upon this year's Shamrock unis, I can only agree with the estimable Knute School Fool who pointed out Adidas could have gone in a VERY different direction. Oh yeah, TheSubwayDomer also continued waging his valiant war against Tweeting at recruits and friending them on Facebook. Basically just stop being pathetic losers, people.
The SubwayDomer Family grows. Three new bloggers joined SubwayDomer.com this year, Blog Davie, Steve "ManCaveQB" Herring, and yours truly. Blog Davie brought his mad, game-film break-down skills to the site. You can read some of his great analyses here, here, and here. ManCaveQB enriched us all with his football knowledge as well as hooking up SubwayDomer.com readers with his sweet podcast on The New Notre Dame Network. ManCave had some truly amazing interviews with some all time ND greats (his favorite and my own was an interview with Kevin McDougal you can check out here). He also went toe-to-toe on HuffingtonPost.com with NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton on the question of who deserved the Heisman trophy, Manti Te'o or Johnny Manziel? In this humble blogger's opinion, Tarkenton had no answer for the logic bomb that was the ManCaveQB. As for me, I just tried to bring some levity to the blog. Posts like casting the NDFB family as Marvel Super Heroes and opining on the significance of ND swag in the SkyMall catalog were pretty much my schtick. But it wasn't all fluff for Steve in Iowa. Given that Notre Dame just became the first program ever to achieve a number 1 BCS ranking as well as being number 1 in graduating athletes I do take particular pride in this post calling out ESPN radio personality Colin Cowherd for saying first class academics and college football excellence simply can't be achieved together. Suck it Cowherd!
The QB controversy that wasn't. Even if Tommy Rees hadn't had his run in with SBPD there was general anxiety among the fanbase about who should take over at QB1. The SubwayDomer captured this with the perfect metaphor, "Riding on Rainbows." The message? Just chill. 2012 wasn't going to be a replay of 2007. BK's got this. And he did. Everett Golson had definite growing pains the first half of the season, but with a few breaks, some patience, and the willingness of Tommy Rees to gracefully take on the role of "relief QB", Everett Golson emerged as a true dual threat in Kelly's offense and the Irish thrived because of it. And if you didn't notice, ManCaveQB had a post up early in the season tying the Irish's success directly to Golson's ability to limit turnovers. Check it out if you missed it, cause he nailed it. I think every true Irish fan has to absolutely LOVE what Golson has accomplished this year, so here's hoping that a certain NFL Hall of Famer (cough, cough, Joe Montana, cough cough) has changed his mind.
A Season for the Ages. What can you say? The season unfolded like a storybook tale from the very first game and ultimately surpassed all reasonable expectations. (SubwayDomer.com Staff consensus heading into the season was a 9-3 record for the Irish with Alabama making an appearance in the title game. I guess we got half of the equation right). A highly convincing win over the Naval Academy in Ireland put the college football world on notice. The dream would continue for your Emperor as the following week TheSubwayDomer himself was able to take in a hard-fought Purdue game from the comforts of the ND Stadium press-box as "media consultant." ND then swept the Michigan schools for the first time since Ty's(!) first season, throttled the Miami Hurricanes at Soldier Field, and had a true goal line stand for the ages against Stanford at home. In this four games stretch the team did not yield an offensive touch down. A tough win against BYU was the prelude to ND's true statement game, going into Norman and beating the mighty OU Sooners. It was in the aftermath of the OU game where our very own Knute School Fool taught us to "Embrace the Hate" in what I consider the NDFB Blog Post of The Year. (I commented at the time that KSF's post "was the reason blogging was invented.") The heart-stopping triple OT against Pitt cemented Golson's status beyond any doubt as QB1 and the Irish pretty much cruised to victories against Boston College and Wake Forest. At this point thanks to loses by Kansas State and Oregon, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were number 1 and on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Of course, you know what happens next. ND handles the Trojans in the Coliseum and write their tickets to South Beach.
A few inadequate thoughts on Manti Te'o. What can be said about senior linebacker and defensive captain Manti Te'o? There really isn't much more to say that others haven't. His leadership, play on the field, and perseverance through personal tragedy have simply been inspiring. His introduction on Senior Day and the embrace with his family is my favorite moment of 2012. I don't know if he is the greatest college football player in history, but I can say without question that Manti Te'o is the most beloved Irish player of my lifetime. While he was denied the Heisman Trophy, his place in the hearts of all Fighting Irish fans is secure forever.
More of what you've always loved about SubwayDomer.com. There are a few regular features that are always big hits at SubwayDomer.com, and 2012 was something special indeed. GreatShane provided EPIC game highlights each week for Bagpipe Mondays. (My personal faves are Stanford, Oklahoma, Pitt, and USC). (GS also did a great series simulating the NDFB season on NCAA12, I'm just glad the real season turned out so much better). The Irish Blogger Gathering continued its tradition of bringing together the collective insights of the best ND bloggers. And if you read SubwayDomer.com at all you simply have to be a fan of Twittermania! Each Twittermania post has continued to be a hilarious take from ND fandom on the events week and all for a big fat bottle of glory. PootND was the last person to claim Twitter glory, so stay tuned to see who the next champ will be! On top of that delicious goodness, SubwayDomer.com continues to feature the amazing artwork of PhillyKelly (see above). You can purchase some of the latest awesome PhillyKelly swag here.
What Steve in Iowa will remember about 2012. Finally, on a personal note, 2012 will always have a special place in my heart. Not just because this has been the greatest NDFB season in two decades, but because it was also the first year I had a chance to take my kids to an ND game. We saw the Irish beat Michigan in September and the experience was unforgettable. They were NDFB fans before because of their dad, but now they are hooked for life. (My daughter didn't wash off her ND face tattoo for almost a week because she wanted to wear it to school). We also got to meet ManCaveQB in person before the game and hang out which was sweet (see above). Very, very cool guy. I'm glad he was there to "Irish Up" my coffee and to have him in the SubwayDomer Family.
And on that note, it's time to bid a very fond farewell to 2012 (and if I hurry, I might just get this post wrapped up so it's actually in before 2012 ends). Here's wishing all of you a very Happy New Year, one filled with lot's more great content from SubwayDomer.com, and an Irish victory on January 7!
Go Irish! Beat Crimson Tide!