A football coach’s comment after his team’s victory in overtime raised eyebrows around the internet recently. On Sept. 5, 2021, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish beat the Florida State Seminoles with a 41-38 score. Despite the victory, Notre Dame’s head coach Brian Kelly didn’t seem too happy about his team’s performance.
A reporter asked him, “What did you think about your team’s ability to withstand Florida State’s impressive comeback?” In response he said: “Yeah, you know, I’m in favor of execution. Maybe our entire team needs to be executed after tonight.”
Brian Kelly: “I’m in favor of execution. Maybe our entire team needs to be executed tonight.” pic.twitter.com/BmNcDNHq3d
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) September 6, 2021
The internet responded with jokes and trepidation:
Brian Kelly in Notre Dame locker room after the game pic.twitter.com/0r13NhDIiD
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) September 6, 2021
Notre Dame players when Brian Kelly asks them to stay late after practice for a few minutes pic.twitter.com/RNk8dRaojo
— Ryan (@Ryanmcc09) September 6, 2021
When asked about the comment in a news conference, Kelly clarified that it was a joke, pulled from a quote by late football coach John McKay: “I was kidding. It was tongue in cheek. It wasn’t funny? It’s an old John McKay quote that he used after the game. I was talking, making a joke about it. It was taken seriously? Are you people crazy? It’s a John McKay quote that he used after a game. I was stealing one of his old quotes and being funny. I guess nobody likes to be funny anymore. So if you want to take me to town on that, please do.”
Decades ago, McKay, according to The Washington Post, had responded to a question about his team’s (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) notorious losing streak from 1976 to 1977, with a witty remark. He reportedly was asked to speak about the team’s execution, to which he said, “I’m in favor of it.” In other retellings, he said, “I think it’s a good idea.”
McKay died in 2001, but his jokes are still being repeated today, even though in this case, they missed the mark.
“After Notre Dame’s OT Win, Brian Kelly Attempts to Channel the Spirit of John McKay, and It Fails Miserably.” Touchdownwire, https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2021/09/05/brian-kelly-attempts-to-channel-the-spirit-of-john-mckay-fails-miserably/118591732/. Accessed 7 Sept. 2021.
Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly: Execution Quote Was Joke, Nod to John McKay. https://notredame.rivals.com/news/notre-dame-coach-brian-kelly-execution-quote-was-joke-nod-to-john-mckay. Accessed 7 Sept. 2021.
“Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly Explains His ‘Execution’ Joke after Win.” Washington Post. www.washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2021/09/06/brian-kelly-execution-joke/. Accessed 7 Sept. 2021.
“The Wild Numbers and Social Reactions from Notre Dame’s OT Win over Florida State.” ESPN.Com, 6 Sept. 2021, https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/32157609/wild-numbers-social-reactions-notre-dame-fighting-irish-ot-win-florida-state-seminoles. Accessed 7 Sept. 2021.