The 2016 Shirt
In approaching design for The Shirt 2016, the student committee wanted to create a Shirt with a bold and modern design, one that would stand out in the ND Stadium, and one that paid tribute to ND’s storied history while looking to the future. For these reasons, we chose the 2016 color – a bright royal blue similar to the 1991 and 2011 Shirts. Also, The Shirt 2016 is 100% washed cotton, marking a return to 100% cotton but keeping the softer feel of more recent Shirts.
In honoring the past, the back design features banners with the years that ND won national championships. The main focus of the back design, however, is a quote. This quote comes from Fr. Hesburgh in an interview he gave to Sports Illustrated in 1958. Fr. Hesburgh was responding to criticism after the firing of ND head coach Terry Brennan, and in the article he provides his perspective on collegiate football. He said:
"There is no academic virtue in playing mediocre football and no academic vice in winning a game that by all odds one should lose... There has been a surrender at Notre Dame, but it is a surrender to excellence on all fronts, and in this we hope to rise above ourselves with the help of God."
With this quote, Fr. Hesburgh articulated a sentiment that is still present today at ND—that the University of Notre Dame strives for both academic excellence AND the pursuit of championship football. There is no reason the two are mutually exclusive endeavors.
Following the death of Fr. Hesburgh last year, we wanted to honor him on The Shirt 2016 in a way that felt appropriate, and we felt that this quote fit perfectly.
The front design is simple compared to the back but maintains the overall design aesthetic and modern feel. The words “Fighting Irish” are placed around a football graphic and “2016.” The front design is also a modern rendition of the 1991 Shirt, which featured “Irish” with a football graphic.