I actually didn't find out about the GIF until I got back from the game. Our phones (my girlfriend was sitting next to me) went crazy with just the TV shot, and mine ran out of battery from it. My friends that didn't make the game but took the trip and tailgated immediately started making memes and sending them around. Getting messages from people I haven't heard from in a while really hasn't stopped, even now.
We're trying to make a positive out of it though. My friends and I had a cool idea to set up a donation page through IndieGoGo and raise money for Leukemia research. Manti Te'o's girlfriend passed away this season from the disease and our modest goal is to raise $5,000 in his and her honor. We'll donate the entire amount to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on behalf of the entire Irish family.
Previously on SB Nation talks to stars of college football GIFs:
Another positive is that AJ McCarron's girlfriend and I now have three things in common: Internet fame from the BCS Championship, running out of phone battery from it and looking ridiculously awesome on camera. I'm sure this has been just as hard on her too and she needs someone to relate to, so I'd like to also officially offer a shoulder for her to lean on during this difficult and overwhelming time.
The GIF only scratches the surface. I would imagine it was like how Charlie Brown feels when he tries to kick the ball, a little shell-shocked and definitely disappointed.
Disappointed because I know ND is a lot better than what they showed -the moment the camera got to me was the exact moment it became crystal clear that us getting beat at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball was not changing and the elusive next ND national championship was going to have to wait at least another year.
Shell-shocked because the way the season went, the intangibles around the team, the storylines with the SEC and their bowl game performances. It seemed like the script and ending were already written before the game started and everything was lined up for a great night.
To have your team in that game is the pinnacle of what you could hope for as a fan, and for that, I'm lucky to have had a chance to witness it. I also got to travel to Miami, Oklahoma and Chicago this year and see two great performances and so as a fan, it was a fantastic year.
Miami hurt me financially, but it was well worth it. I've never seen my ND friends more motivated to organize things like 2,000-person tailgates and 50-person party buses. Getting to hang out on the beach and party for a few days in January isn't exactly a raw deal either. I fortunately made it out just fine with the one exception of spilling some red Jell-O on my girlfriend's club-friendly shirt, which I'm now on the hook to dry clean and replace.
Irish fans definitely did some things that may not typically be thought of as Notre Dame things. Plenty of "Let's Get Weird" tank tops, scantily clad Irish fans, people dancing in the beds of pickup trucks and on rooftops, hookups and other things you definitely don't see at your standard ND tailgate.
Tailgating on South Beach and Ocean Drive, I'd estimate ND fans outnumbered Alabama fans four to one if not more.
Alabama fans did lots of expected Bama things. Cowboy boots. Girls in dresses. Spirit buttons. Collared, tucked-in shirts with shorts. Hideous Croakies. Homemade helmets with a box of tide and toilet paper on each side. Chants of "SEC" at the end of the game. But they were gracious before and after the game and seemed like good sports in general. I didn't witness any fighting or huge verbal altercations, just some soft smack talk.
Thanks to Dan, whom you can keep up with here: