Notre Dame football: 5 best seasons in Fighting Irish history

Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Allsport
Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Allsport /
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(Photographer unknown/Sports Studio Photos/Getty Images)
(Photographer unknown/Sports Studio Photos/Getty Images) /

Notre Dame football wins first national title in 1924.

Knute Rockne was not only important in the continuum of Notre Dame football, but he was an innovator in the game of football as well.

He was a progenitor of not only how the game was played, but also how the game was covered. He pioneered using the forward pass as an offensive staple as well as using motion to deceive defenses.

If Nebraska was the first program to create a strength program with weight lifting, Notre Dame was one of the first to invest in offseason training and would be the precursor to what we know as spring practice.

Rockne also curried favor with the media from all over the country to cover Notre Dame football. He was one of the first coaches to pitch products and have paid endorsements. Rockne used his influence with the media to film newsreels of Notre Dame’s offseason practices.

Though there were other voting bodies, Notre Dame claimed their first title in 1924. Though the AP crowned national champions during the regular season, the Irish accepted their invitation to the Rose Bowl and defeated the Stanford Cardinal.

That 1924 team featured the famed Four Horsemen, Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller, Jim Crowley, and Elmer Layden. They also featured a defense that allowed just 5.4 points per game. This was the first of many dominant teams under Rockne.