Fact or Fiction: Play Like a Champion Today

Every commercial break during a Notre Dame football game is sprinkled with videos of people interacting with the gold “Play Like a Champion Today” sign. Plenty of myths have sprung up about this iconic sign. Let’s take a look at the most common ones.

This is exactly what the famous sign looks like.

Only football players are allowed to touch the sign.
Obviously fiction. We see people just like us touching the sign every weekend! It’s a great photo op, take your whole family on a tour and then have everyone touch the sign together.

The sign is a cursed object that siphons life energy from all who touch it.
This is fiction, folks! Do not be afraid to touch this sign on your Notre Dame tour!

When scientists swabbed the sign, they found traces of E. coli, Salmonella, fecal matter, and over 100 types of bacteria that end with –coccus.
Fact! Be sure to bring hand sanitizer on your tour. (Unless your bucket list includes getting strep throat from the person who touched the Play Like a Champion Today sign two minutes before you did.)

If you touch the sign without pure love for Notre Dame in your heart, you will immediately explode.
Probably fiction, but it’s best not to chance it.

The sign is filled with the spirits of past Notre Dame football legends.
Duh, that’s why it’s hanging there.

When all members of the football team touch the sign, a Fighting Irish victory is guaranteed.
Fiction! Notre Dame has had plenty of rough years, even though 100% of team members touched the sign.

If you stare at the sign for too long, you’ll go blind.
Fact! A deleted scene from Rudy features the players trying to sneak the sign into the visitors locker room after Coach Devine agreed to let Rudy start, in the hopes of temporarily blinding their opponents. The hero Rudy put a stop to that, saying he wanted an honest game. Unfortunately the producers realized that they had already reached their quota of historical inaccuracies, and the scene was cut.

The sign was created by God Himself upon the founding of the University in 1842.
The sign was actually made by Laurie Wenger, who worked at the Notre Dame campus sign shop! The sign is based off another sign of unknown origin. Lou Holtz saw a picture of the Original Sign and asked Laurie Wenger to recreate it. But the Original Sign was likely created by God Himself upon the founding of the University in 1842.

There are no other replicas of the sign in existence.
This one is false, you can find versions of the sign dang near everywhere! Sometimes the verb is customized to feature a place of employment or pastime! Some of the strangest ones we’ve seen: Embalm Like a Champion Today, Launder Money Like a Champion Today, Spray Graffiti on Railroad Cars Like a Champion Today, Slink Quietly Off to Your Bedroom and Pretend to Study So You Don’t Have to Help Your Mom with the Dishes Like a Champion Today, and Secretly Shake Cans of Soda Before Handing Them to Your Friends Like a Champion Today. There’s a sign for everyone!

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