What would Touchdown Jesus do on the campus of the University of Notre Dame with all that money?
It appears as if college sports fans and Irish alumni just got the answer from above – Notre Dame’s Stadium – that is!
But first, here’s a little history…
Along with the beautiful 218 foot tall bell tower of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the gleaming 187 foot tall gold dome of the school’s administration building, the 210 foot tall Hesburgh Library forms the skyline of America’s most recognized Catholic university.
A gorgeous mosaic named the Word of Life adorns the south side of the entire Hesburgh Library and towers over the north end zone scoreboard of the University of Notre Dame’s 80,795 seat football stadium in South Bend, Indiana.
This famous mosaic showcases Christ the Teacher. He’s reaching out to others, and with his raised arms, appears to mimic a football official signaling a touch down. It’s obvious to onlookers that he’s presiding over the action from on high.
Known universally throughout the college football world as Touchdown Jesus, this Word of Life mosaic doesn’t need a Hail Mary Pass or an Immaculate Reception to become the focus of regular discussions surrounding NCAA college football.
Though unintentional, Touchdown Jesus quickly found its way into football lore when fans of all religious beliefs recognized Jesus’ innocent, but obvious, pose on this monstrous mural.
The spectacular mural was formally unveiled on May 7, 1964 during the dedication of the school’s Hesburgh Library.
The clever and creative work of art is usually referenced whenever Notre Dame plays a football game at home.
Announcers have both joked, or intimated, that the Fighting Irish’s rich football tradition (comprising 11 national championships and 7 Heisman Trophy winners) has partaken in a heavenly edge as a result of a protective Touchdown Jesus hovering over its campus stadium.
Now, let’s fast forward the tape…
Notre Dame’s President Rev. John Jenkins was quoted as saying more space was needed to accommodate Notre Dame’s broadening research activity. “What’s exciting about this project is it brings together athletics, faculty and academics, research and a student center, so it’s an integrated model,” Jenkins said.
Three different buildings will flank a revamped football stadium and will attempt to integrate new music, anthropology and psychology classrooms into campus life.
In addition, as many as 4,000 new seats will be added to the school’s iconic football stadium.
Legendary Notre Dame Coaches Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz could never have envisioned the popularity of the mural nor comprehended the influence Touchdown Jesus has wielded over the years.
With the mosaic’s imposing image of the Son of God’s raised arms peering confidently from the library into the stadium, no instant replay or further review should ever be necessary whenever Notre Dame scores a touchdown. The ruling on the field, and in this case, on the campus, will always stand.
The Son of God has already made the call.
Constructing flashy new classrooms and expanding and updating a legendary football stadium is what Touchdown Jesus would do with all that football money!
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!