Boston College has a reputation for many things—being the best school on the B Line (#suckstoBU), having the winningest coach in college hockey, its picturesque campus (all thanks to Gasson and Father Leahy’s constant grass replacement), and, unfortunately, its embarrassing football team. Back in 1984, BC was catapulted into the limelight by Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary pass, garnering nationwide recognition for our football program. In the years that followed, as BC became known as a “football school,” students, alumni, and fans from all backgrounds came together to root for the Eagles at Alumni Stadium as well as at away games, generating support for the school and revenue for the athletics department. However, in recent years and even after joining the ACC in 2005, the football team has been performing below many people’s standards, creating low morale and dissatisfaction with the program, the coach, and the players.
It is no secret that people are less than thrilled with the current state of the football program. “Fire Addazio” chants at the games after a botched play or countless empty seats by the end of the first quarter are common occurrences. Many students have remarked, myself included, that it is not rare for our hockey team to score more points in a game than our football team can. Backed by our marching band, we constantly yell, “Go BC! Put some points on the board!” Isn’t it sad that the cheer we use the most is one for when we’re losing, practically begging for a touchdown?
And when we lose, we lose big. Last year the Eagles lost by 49 points against Virginia Tech, by 46 points against Clemson, and by 45 points against Louisville. Joining the ACC may have been a lucrative move, but putting the team in a conference where it simply can’t compete is demoralizing and disappointing for fans and players alike.
While attendance and support have dwindled in the last decade, the program’s spending and coaches’ salaries have increased. It seems that BC Athletics is content with settling for mediocrity, protected by an ever-growing endowment in the billions and the loyal fans they have somehow managed to keep. They know that, at least for the time being, students won’t stop buying Gold Passes, families won’t stop tailgating before the games, and alumni won’t stop coming back to relive their glory days on the Heights.
This is not to say that BC isn’t trying to develop the football program, but it’s hard to be optimistic when the athletics department does not seem to have a clear plan for improvement and the disconnect between the Eagles and their fans only continues to worsen each year. Yet Boston College Football is a tradition for many, and the social aspect of game day is something that no one is ready to give up—just look at how much more time people tend to spend at tailgates than at the games themselves. But does BC really want pregaming and tailgating to be the only reasons people come to the games? Despite having a team that can barely end the season with a winning record year after year, our school spirit is still abundant on campus and among alumni, but only for now.
Time will tell if the football team is past its prime or if it has a bright future ahead, but in the meantime, all we can do as Superfans is show up to the games, wear those bright yellow shirts with pride, and count down the days until hockey season.