Notre Dame Football Commentary: Player’s Legacy


Nov 9, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Tommy Rees (11) signals to his teammates in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field. Pitt won 28-21. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame Football

Tommy Rees is currently 4th on Notre Dame’s All Time Passing list with 6,917 yards. He will most likely catch the Ron Powlus who finished his Notre Dame career with 7,602 yards. Jimmy Clausen is 2nd with 8,148 yards. Brady Quinn is at the top of the chart with 11,762 yards. It is interesting how the legacies of passers 2 through 4 are somewhat similar. To some extent Quinn’s legacy is the same as these three as well.

Ron Powlus was anointed by Beano Cook as the next Heisman Trophy Winner at Notre Dame. Not only was Powlus supposed to be the next winner, he was a guaranteed two-time winner. However, Powlus never won the Heisman Trophy and never lead Notre Dame to a record better than 9-3.

Jimmy Clausen was the next Heisman Trophy Winner at Notre Dame. However, he forgot that he actually needed to win it on the field. After throwing 56 touchdowns in his Sophomore Season at Oaks Christian, Sports Illustrated put him on the cover and called him the LeBron James of high school football. But, Clausen’s three years in college were marked by 3-9, 7-6 and 6-6 seasons. His final year at Notre Dame was the only time that he garnered any Heisman recognition.

Brady Quinn definitely exceed his expectations. However, he is probably known for being unable to win the big game, just like his Head Coach Charlie Weis. Quinn failed to beat USC, lost both BCS Bowl Games and failed to get Notre Dame to the National Title Game. However, he probably does not deserve all of that blame. He did put the Irish up with about 2 minutes to go in 2005.

Tommy Rees has seemed to have sealed his legacy with a 28-21 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday. It is what everyone already knew. It is what everyone hoped he would overcome this year. Rees is an above-average Quarterback who makes lots of good plays before making a deadly mistake.

In today’s society, most athletes are evaluated by how many championships they win. Alex Rodriguez was an overpaid third basemen who choked in the postseason until he won a World Series with the Yankees in 2009. LeBron James was not clutch and not considered one of the greatest NBA players until he won back to back championships.

These statistics will not matter for Rees. Games in which Tommy Rees has played a significant amount (more than mop up or subbing when a players helmet came off), Notre Dame has won 22 games. Brady Quinn won 29 games in his career which is a school record. Tommy started the majority of two years and played some during two others. Quinn played the majority of all four seasons. Yet, their legacies are completely different despite the numbers being very similar.

Legacies are an extremely tricky thing to figure out. There is no black letter rule showing how it should be determine. Theo Riddick fumbled around for three years before breaking out during Notre Dame’s National Title run in 2012. Riddick’s reputation will be good with Notre Dame fans but he is only 17th all time in yards from scrimmage.

So…Numbers help. Wins matter. Losing determines your reputation the most. Tommy Rees has lost this battle.