The Irish were defeated by Alabama in the BCS National Championship game, but that didn't stop Notre Dame fans from looking forward.
Local restaurant management described the scene as "trailing off" after the first half of the game, but said they were surprised many dedicated fans stayed through the end. Although, they said the mood changed as the game went on.
"We were absolutely packed, it was a fantastic environment leading up to the kickoff and even through the first half it was a lot of fun in here," said Between the Buns manager, James Goodsman. But as the game went on he noticed a change, "you started seeing people go, 'alright, I think I'm losing sleep at this point. I think I'm going to go home because I have to work in the morning.'"
But the fact folks stayed through the game at all, surprised others.
"It was very electric, people were looking forward to it. Every time Notre Dame flashed on the screen, the place blew up, and we pretty much stayed full from the time the game started all the way 'til the end," said a bar manager at O'Rourkes, David O'block.
Although disappointment was clear.
"I expected them to do better, but at the same time, no one expected them there, and they got there," said local fan, Gerry Lawton.
"You have to be disappointed, but if you're an Irish fan, you just stick with 'em. It's your team," said another fan, Larry Marko.
From here, fans agree, it's time to move forward.
"With what Brian Kelly has done with the team, this isn't the pinnalce, it's just the start. During the game they showed their recruiting class, and it's one of the tops in the nation. So I think that this is just like a momentum builder, because no one expected them to do anything this year," said O'block.
"I've talked to a lot of customers today, and everybody is a little disappointed, but a lot of people are optimistic that Kelly has a great recruiting class coming in. We know exactly what we need to grow into at this point, and I think Notre Dame football is definitely on the upswing," said Goodson.