One week ago the Irish lost to Alabama in the national title game, but Notre Dame still remembers the last time it won a national championship and the players who helped get the team there.
Back in 1988 Andre Jones was among Notre Dame’s top defensive standouts. Andre died 19 months ago after suffering a brain aneurysm at the age of 42. His son, Irish wide receiver TJ Jones, carried on his legacy of playing in a championship game on this year’s team.
During last Monday's championship, TJ caught the very first pass of the game. Throughout the rest of the game he had several "almost" moments, nearly scoring twice more but coming up shy of the goal line each time.
Certainly TJ wanted to win the game, but he says he was also proud to have had the opportunity to honor his dad.
“I just wanted to perform not only for my family, my team, but my dad most of all. Because he wished he could be here. It’s one thing he wanted to see, that we always talked about it. I know, win or lose, I wanted to put it all out on the field,” said Jones in an interview with NewsCenter 16 after the BCS game.
Jones said he thought about his dad a lot during the game, “there were times when adversity hit, when a lot of people were in the dumps, I knew that he wouldn’t want me to slump, wouldn’t want me to get down into I guess the rut, so I kept a positive attitude, I tried to build the team back up.”
Even though the Irish didn’t win the title, Jones stayed positive by reflecting on what his dad would have said had he been able to attend.