Catholics vs Convicts Told From Notre Dame Perspective

Oct 29, 2016; South Bend, IN, USA; A fan wears a Catholics vs. Convicts t shirt while tailgating before the game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Miami Hurricanes at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 29, 2016; South Bend, IN, USA; A fan wears a Catholics vs. Convicts t shirt while tailgating before the game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Miami Hurricanes at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports /

The Catholics versus Convicts ESPN 30 for 30 set to air after the Heisman Trophy ceremony is told from the perspective of Notre Dame. The Director is an ND Alum.

Catholics vs Convicts is told from the perspective of Notre Dame alum and documentary film director Patrick Creadon. Creadon is known for Wordplay (2006), I.O.U.S.A. (2008) and Square Roots: The Story of SpongeBob SquarePants (2009).

Creadon is a 1989 graduate of Notre Dame. He was a Senior at the apex of Catholics vs. Convicts in 1988. Creadon didn’t just direct Catholics vs Convicts, he was an intimate part of the story. Creadon lived a few doors down from Notre Dame Quarterback Tony Rice in Dillon Hall.

He was also a friend of Notre Dame Basketball players Joe Frederick and Pat Walsh, the purveyors of the infamous T-Shirts that share the name of the film. The impetus at the time was that is was the bad boys of Miami versus the choir boys of Notre Dame.

Many stories that would buck the Catholic vs Convicts billing were left out. Some of the reviews did a good job balancing the stories not in this 30 for 30 installment. The Hurricanes have had their perspective told in parts I and II of “The U”

Former Miami chaplain Leo Armbrust, discussed an experience he had at Notre Dame Stadium with the Sun Sentinel:

"“I’ve got my black jacket on, Roman collar on and walked to the middle of the field in Notre Dame Stadium – taking in the day,” . “A man with an impeccable blue blazer, a Notre Dame lapel pin and pass that says, ‘Official,’ says to me, ‘Father, how are you?…I say, ‘I’m fine, how are you?’ And he says, ‘Go to hell.” I stood there with my mouth open. I couldn’t believe it. Then in the tunnel back to the locker room fans were spitting at me and throwing things. That was Notre Dame.”"

The prevailing opinion its that the first hour of CvsC  is slow. The story begins with former Notre Dame Head Coach Gerry Faust’s last game as Irish Coach. The Hurricanes thumped Notre Dame 58-7 in Jimmy Johnson’s second season. Many called out Johnson for allegedly running up the score.

Notre Dame leads the all-time series 18-7-1, but the Hurricanes had won four in a row leading up to the 1988 game by an average score of 33-5. That included two shutout victories. The second hour focuses more on the 1988 game, the first dubbed “Catholics vs Convicts”

Related Story: Miami Hurricanes at Notre Dame: One Fans Experience

Brent Musburger who called the game for CBS and coaches Jimmy Johnson and Lou Holtz feature prominently throughout the second half of the film. Former Miami Offensive Lineman Leon Searcy, Quarterback Steve Walsh, and Notre Professor Dr. Richard Pierce are also interviewed for the film.

In his review of Catholics vs Convicts, Jason Martin of Outkick the Coverage says:

"“Creadon doesn’t spend time listing infractions; instead he portrays the Miami program as one full of good kids, with a few mistakes that could (and do) happen in virtually every university in the country. The idea of “convicts” does bring up a question of race, but isn’t presented in an accusatory manner. The shirt became a problem because it was beneath what was expected of NOTRE DAME, not because of what it said about Miami."

Martin also does an excellent job of telling the backstory of the rivalry between Johnson and Holtz.

Two of the biggest elements from the game that are discussed are two key missed calls. The one most if not all Hurricane fans who are old enough to remember is the controversial Cleveland Gary fumble on the Notre Dame half yard line.

The other was an Andre Brown touchdown reception late in the game that Holtz alleges was a trap. Miami missed the ensuing two-point conversion and lost 31-30.

In his review of the film, Awful Announcing’s Ben Koo says:

"“The combination of the game having the narrative and backstory it did, living up to the hype, still being referenced today, and playing such a definitive role in the National Championship that year certainly makes this one of the more compelling installments.”"

Catholics vs Convicts is airing in the coveted slot that follows the Heisman Trophy Ceremony. This is the third time that a 30 for 30 involving the U is airing in that slot. The first two were the previously mentioned “The U”

This is the fourth documentary overall on the 1980’s, early 90’s era of Miami football overall. ESPN earlier had a half-hour film on the Miami/Nebraska 1984 Orange Bowl game that produced Miami’s first national title.

ESPN Executive Producer of Entertainment John Dahl discussed the Miami-Notre Dame rivalry with the Miami Herald. “It’s one of the greatest college football games in history, so it’s a natural hook for the post-Heisman slot…That moniker, Catholics vs. Convicts, has stood the test of time over 25 years.”

Asked about the imbalance of the story from the Miami perspective, Dahl told the Herald:

"“Ultimately, I was not concerned about that [imbalance of attention given to Notre Dame] because we did The U and The U Part 2, so we did four hours on Miami over the life of 30 for 30 and Billy Corben did an outstanding job on those two films,” Dahl said. “This was an opportunity to do something different. We wanted a different point of view from The U and The U Part 2. We wanted this one to feel very different…Pat Creadon did a good job of being fair to Miami…He wanted to show that Miami didn’t deserve that moniker.”"

Next: Nine Miami Hurricanes Named to ACC Coaches Team

Catholics vs Convicts airs after the Heisman Trophy Ceremony tonight at 9pm ET and will be on Demand and Watch ESPN.