Notre Dame night football games offer an unparalleled experience: a whole day dedicated to tailgating, stadium lights burning bright in the dark and the moon hanging above. The superiority of the night games’ atmosphere proved itself on the evening of Oct. 23, 2021, with Notre Dame and University of Southern California facing off at Notre Dame Stadium. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, a light show made a surprise appearance. The lights, which usually illuminate the field, were switched off as the crowd’s cell phones gleamed in the dark. Music began to play, and green, flickering stadium lights matched the beat of the song. The light show, which proved to be popular, also occurred during the game against North Carolina on Oct. 30.
Although night games typically fall on dates later in the semester when the temperature begins to drop and a frigid South Bend winter creeps upon campus, students often prefer the atmosphere compared to afternoon games. However, in the past, Notre Dame night football games have not always been favored by everyone.
The Sept. 8, 1988 edition of Scholastic featured a piece by Brian Cody titled “See Ya Later Tailgaters…?” It detailed the administration and security department’s growing concern for public intoxication and rowdy tailgating, which the task force attributed to night football games. According to the article, the task force laid out a solution for the worries of the upcoming 1988 football season: “Since alcohol consumption and public drunkenness increase substantially when home football games are scheduled in the evening and the combination of greater alcohol consumption, automobile operation and darkness increase danger to all University guests, the scheduling of evening football games shall be prohibited.” Arguably, these concerns still exist. Today, students and alumni enjoy the atmosphere during night football games, with tailgating culture ever-persisting.