Notre Dame football: Ranking Shamrock Series uniforms

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 21: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate a win against the Boston College Eagles by singing their school song with their fans at Fenway Park during the "Shamrock Series" on November 21, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Fighting Irish won 19-16. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 21: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate a win against the Boston College Eagles by singing their school song with their fans at Fenway Park during the "Shamrock Series" on November 21, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Fighting Irish won 19-16. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

Notre Dame’s Shamrock Series has included an alternative uniform in recent seasons, but which were the best and worst uniforms of this series?

The Shamrock Series is a series of games that amounts to a marketing ploy by Notre Dame football. It’s been playing off and on since 2009 when Notre Dame played Washington State in San Antonio. The idea is that Notre Dame can play a game for fans around the country to see them play, instead of needing to travel to South Bend. This will expand visibility, and grow Notre Dame’s program.

Shamrock Series uniforms
2019 Shamrock Series uniforms(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /

They also wear strange uniforms, as a way to entice recruits who choose Oregon only for the different uniform combinations. Well, they also want to sell more merchandise, and the Shamrock Series is as good an excuse as any to unveil weird uniforms that can be anywhere from cool to annoying to see Notre Dame wear.

Putting aside personal feelings about the Shamrock Series, Notre Dame’s, “home-away-from-home game series.” The uniforms are the least, interesting, and worth taking a closer look at. So, here it is, a ranking of every Shamrock Series uniform:

9. 2018 Notre Dame 36 Syracuse 3

In 2018, Notre Dame played Syracuse at Yankee Stadium and chose to pay tribute to the New York Yankees when doing so. The results were horrific. I’d argue looking at them constituted cruel, and certainly unusual punishment.

Shamrock Series uniforms
2018 Shamrock Series uniforms (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

My issue isn’t even that they wanted to go with a two-tone helmet. I didn’t hate it on the Jacksonville Jaguars and have seen other college teams do it in interesting ways. The issue is that the divide in helmet color isn’t down the middle.

The divide not being centered bothers me to no end. I also don’t love the texture to the gold but could live with that if they just centered the two colors.

The jersey itself is fine. I could do without the stripe on the pants, but it’s not offensive. That helmet is offensive.

7. 2016 Notre Dame 44 Army 6

God. Country. Notre Dame.

Shamrock Series uniforms
2016 Shamrock Series uniforms (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images) /

In 2016 Notre Dame took on Army, and the uniforms were on a theme. They were green and gold, but with the colors faded into a near fatigue color.

Conceptually, I have no problem with that. The results were just sub-par. The gold on their helmets was shockingly bright compared to the near brown of the gold on the jerseys. That near brown gold blended into the camouflage green and made numbers very difficult to see.

There’s also just something a bit off about the helmet. Maybe it’s the stripe, down the middle, but it’s probably the logo. The logo is difficult to see because it’s printed in a different shade of gold. The logo is an illustration of motif above the Basilica doorway.

A lot of good ideas went into this uniform. It just doesn’t work in the end.

6. 2015 Notre Dame 19 Boston College 16

As a rule, I like green jerseys. I, however, don’t like these uniforms that Notre Dame broke out against Boston College when the two met at Fenway Park.

Shamrock Series uniforms
2015 Shamrock Series uniforms (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

The kelly green pants and jersey are just too much green. It’s overwhelming, frankly. If it was just a green jersey, and different colored pants this uniform would rank higher. It also doesn’t help that these green jerseys had navy blue numbers on them. Again, this is just a dull color that doesn’t pop enough.

In their own right, the helmets are aggressively bright. The stadium lights created such a glare off of the helmets that you couldn’t see there was a poorly done outline of the Notre Dame leprechaun on the side of them.

Again, there are some good ideas here but the uniform just doesn’t work altogether.

5. 2014 Notre Dame 30 Purdue 14

When Notre Dame played Purdue in 2014, they donned this navy and gold alternative uniform.

Shamrock Series uniforms
2014 Shamrock Series uniforms (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The all navy look works, unlike all green. This is because it’s a more muted color. This helps the gold letters and trim pop. The green uniforms were so bright that you wanted to look away from them.

The knock-on these jerseys was the shoulder design. The top of the shoulders was a different shade of blue and had an overly eccentric pattern to it. These were out of place and just made the uniforms a bit busy.

As for the helmets, I like them overall. The ND superimposed on the helmet was cool to see, and the gold wasn’t dull without being aggressively bright.

Was it perfect? Of course not. It wasn’t downright awful either, though.

4. 2013 Notre Dame 37 Arizona State 34

These uniforms from the 2013 Shamrock Series game against Arizona State were clean. All white, with that gold helmet, was an excellent look.

Shamrock Series uniforms
2013 Shamrock Series uniforms (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

White uniforms should be plain, and dull. These ones jump out as really nice though. In the end, it’s the trim and letter coloring that makes these work. The hint of kelly green is really nice and doesn’t overwhelm the uniform.

The gold letters are bright, but because it’s just the letters the uniform doesn’t make you look away from it. Those gold letters match nicely with the shade of gold on the helmet.

If there’s one thing that I’d change, it would be the helmet logo. Either don’t have a logo at all or make the shamrock a green color to match the uniform’s trim.

3.  2009 Notre Dame 40 Washington State 14

For the first game in the Shamrock Series, Notre Dame wore their traditional home uniform.

Shamrock Series uniforms
2009 Shamrock Series uniforms (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

What can I say about the Notre Dame navy and gold that hasn’t been said before? It’s one of those classic uniforms that screams college football. The navy is the perfect amount of dark to offset the lightness of the gold.

The golden domers are iconic and for good reason. These are great uniforms.

2. 2011 Notre Dame 45 Maryland 21

Something is special about Notre Dame when they put on those green jerseys.

Shamrock Series uniforms
2011 Shamrock Series uniforms (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images) /

I also really prefer this rendition of the green jersey, as compared to the green jersey the Irish have worn in recent seasons. Recently, Notre Dame has worn kelly green with navy lettering. Those are still special, but these dark green jerseys with gold lettering are worlds better.

The gold pants offer a nice contrast in comparison to the green overload that was the 2015 Shamrock Series uniform.

If I had one complaint, it’s the helmets. It’s not that the helmets are bad, or I dislike the logo. I actually really like having the shamrock on the helmet to change things up. What I don’t like is that the helmet is almost yellow, instead of gold. On top of that, it doesn’t match the pants.

Other than that minor complaint, I really liked this uniform.

1.  2010 Notre Dame 27 Army 3

What can I say? I have a soft spot for Notre Dame in green jerseys. Add in the classic golden dome for a helmet and these are the perfect uniform for Notre Dame to throw on for a big game.

Shamrock Series uniforms
2010 Shamrock Series uniforms (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) /

Top 5 tight ends in Notre Dame history. dark. Next

Notre Dame plays Wisconsin at Lambeau Field next season, as the next installment of the Shamrock Series. As long as they don’t turn the golden domes into cheese heads to pay homage to the Packers, then they won’t be worse than 2018’s uniform.