You hear a lot of people saying "hey, we're national champs," but I hear more people saying "why aren't we?" And the same thing when I was at Notre Dame -- I thought we won two more championships, but we weren't afforded the opportunity to play for it on the field. And because of the NBC contract, there was a little bit of a backlash.
I just think that you have two phases of football at Notre Dame. One is the performance of the players on the field. The last couple years, that's been a little bit disappointing, but they've had that before. The other thing you have to look at is the experience the football players are having at Notre Dame. One thing that Notre Dame does that nobody else does is they have a senior exit with all the players. When the players leave, they sit down with the athletic director for an hour and a half. And they're asked questions, and if you get a lot of negative feedback, that tells you, when you look at your performance on the field, the decisions you have to make.
I think we lose sight. Everybody wants to talk about "who's national champion." And when somebody does something bad or negative, that's what everybody wants to talk about. And that's what you read about. But there are so many good young men that do so many marvelous things for other people that we don't read about, we don't hear about. I think we lose sight of what college football should be about. It's not just about winning championships. Yes, that's important. But it's also about being productive citizens and if you are going to help other people at a younger age, you're going to continue to do that the rest of your life. And I hope it'll serve as an inspiration to other people who say, "I wanna be part of [something like] the Allstate Good Works Team, I think that's a greater honor, down the road, than maybe being All-America."
I just believe that, being involved in athletics and coaching, when an athlete came to our school, the very very minimum he should expect was the best leadership and the best coaching in the country. And not just on the football field. But teaching him how to succeed in life as well. I always felt if people can trust you and if they know you're committed to excellence, you know they care about other people, that good things are gonna happen to you in your personal life, your professional life and your social life. That's what Allstate's trying to do. They're trying to make sure that there's an awful lot of good things being done, and let's focus on that.
I'm involved with it because I believe in it. Allstate's been a true friend of college football for many, many years. And I think college football's the greatest sport in the world. I was up at the Hall of Fame a couple of days ago where I was fortunate enough to be inducted. And I said at that time, this is the greatest game because it teaches about life, it teaches about unselfishness, it teaches you about teamwork. And I think that this team of Allstate Good Works people is what life's all about.