BCS Countdown: 'Touchdown Jesus'

BCS Countdown: 'Touchdown Jesus'

December 21st, 2012 by David Paschall in Sports College08football

Bowl Championship Series 2013

Bowl Championship Series 2013


In the 25 days leading up to college football's championship game between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, the Chattanooga Times Free Press is counting down the traditions and memorable moments involving the Irish and the Crimson Tide. Today is No. 17.

On the south side of the Hesburgh Library on Notre Dame's campus is a 132-foot-high stone mosaic patterned after Millard Sheet's painting "The Word of Life," which features Christ teaching while surrounded by his apostles.

The mural of Christ with his hands extended upward is visible inside Notre Dame Stadium, and it has the more recognized reference of "Touchdown Jesus."

Installed in 1964, the mural contains 81 different types of stone material from 16 countries. Its fabrication was done in 171 finishes, according to the university, and contains 5,714 individual pieces.

A gift from Mr. and Mrs. Howard V. Phalin of Winnetka, Ill., the mural became partially obscured from the playing field when the stadium was expanded to more than 80,000 seats during the late 1990s.

Since the introduction of the mural, Notre Dame has won Associated Press national championships in 1966, '73, '77 and '88. The Irish also were recognized by other services as national champs in '64 and '67.

Alabama, which will face Notre Dame at the BCS title game in Miami on Jan. 7, has yet to prevail in front of "Touchdown Jesus." The Crimson Tide lost 21-18 in 1976 and 37-6 in '87.

Fans of opposing schools in recent years have enjoyed renaming the mural "Field Goal Jesus" in those seasons in which Notre Dame has struggled.