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Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame’s the first non-Nike school to ever make the College Football Playoff

I’m not here to tell you that playing in Under Armour or Adidas is a competitive disadvantage. But I am here to offer the clear evidence that no team has ever made the College Football Playoff before 2018 while wearing anything other than Nike apparel. I’ll let you connect the dots.

  • 2014: Alabama-Ohio State, Oregon-Florida State
  • 2015: Clemson-Oklahoma, Alabama-Michigan State
  • 2016: Alabama-Washington, Clemson-Ohio State
  • 2017: Clemson-Alabama, Oklahoma-Georgia

Sure, 67 percent of the Power 5 teams as of 2017 were Nike, and Auburn made the last college football title game before the Playoff era, but ignore that information.

The only thing that matters now is that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have overcome their sartorial deficiencies to make the Playoff.

It was a big deal when the Irish went from Adidas to Under Armour a few years ago.

ND was one of Adidas’ crown jewels at the time. In 2014, it was reported that the Irish departed for a huge chunk of change.

The private school did not reveal the value of the 10-year deal, which will begin when its contract with adidas expires at the end of June, but sources told that the value of the deal, in cash and merchandise combined, is worth about $90 million.

That would make the deal worth more than the $82 million adidas is paying in cash and product to Michigan over 10 years.

The deal could eventually be worth even more to the Fighting Irish, as Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick noted that it allows the school to take some of the cash in company stock.

The Irish had experienced terrible Adidas duds while the three stripe company was in the wilderness of uniform design.

And, uhh, at times Under Armour hasn’t exactly been the best uni partner either.


But last time the Irish were within striking distance of a national title, they wore Adidas, and it wasn’t pretty.

Notre Dame was probably the best non-Nike bet to be the first here as 2018 played itself out.

In any given season, Auburn (Under Armour), Miami (Adidas), Nebraska (Adidas) or Wisconsin (Under Armour) could be somewhat viable options, but none of those teams even won their divisions, much less had a legit shot at a Playoff berth.

The Irish rode the fine margin of needing to go undefeated against a not-great schedule to make the dance.

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