On October 15, 1988, Notre Dame hosted the University of Miami in what was arguably one of the greatest games in college football history. It was tradition vs. swagger, the No. 4-ranked Fighting Irish versus the No. 1-ranked Hurricanes, one coaching star, Lou Holtz, versus another, Jimmy Johnson. But the name still attached to the contest came from a t-shirt manufactured by a few Notre Dame students: "Catholics vs. Convicts."
In this documentary for ESPN Films' acclaimed 30 For 30 series, director and narrator Patrick Creadon (Wordplay, I.O.U.S.A.) doesn't just look back on this epic game. He explores the deeper narrative as a Notre Dame senior at the time, a close friend to the young men in the middle of the "Catholics vs. Convicts" controversy (Joe Fredrick and Pat Walsh) and a fellow classmate of the player behind center for the Fighting Irish (quarterback Tony Rice). He gets the coaches and the players to open up about the fight that started the game, the highly debatable calls that are still being talked about and the insensitive aspects of the irresistibly popular t-shirt.
As compelling as the tale of Notre Dame's dramatic victory is -- even losing quarterback Steve Walsh calls it "a helluva ballgame" -- the backstory is just as riveting.
Aired: 10 Dec 2016