The McDouble is like Notre Dame. It’s tried and true — a fixture of the fast food scene, just as the midwestern Catholic school is a fixture of the college football landscape. It’s enduring, well followed, and it’s on everywhere. Turn on your radio in Albuquerque or West Friendship and you’ll be getting the same appeal to the cheapo inside of you to buy the two beef patties with good old American slice for just a buck, just as you can turn on your TV to any NBC station throughout America to pick up a Notre Dame football game.
Both have loyal followings. Rabid, some would claim. The followers swear by, uphold it, and defend it against all doubters and haters. Oh, and are there ever haters. “It’s two hocky pucks and tasteless, semi-melted cheese” they say. “Are you kidding me, Notre Dame’s schedule consists of Navy and Army,” they make note, asking when the last time the Irish actually mattered was. Pointing to other menu items, or teams, which are better represented in today’s “premium” trend of fast food or SEC-dominated college football landscape, it could be argued that both the McDouble, and the Irish, are in decline.
Manti Te’o and the 2012 Notre Dame football team would argue differently. I’ll be straight-up in that I had my doubts coming into the year. But with their 4-0 start, Notre Dame deserves their status in the Top 10 of the latest AP poll. This is a dominating defense, and one which does not quit despite knowing full well it can’t always get help from the offense. And that offense, under either Everett Golson or Tommy Rees, is doing something it rarely has done over the last few season — namely, avoiding making enough mistakes to lose games. I know the season is only a third of the way done, but after being skeptical coming into the year, I’m buying the Irish.
I’m also buying the McDouble after trying it for the first time last week. I know. Having gone 23 years without eating one of fast food’s most iconic items is like going 23 years as a college football fan without actually watching a Notre Dame football game, but curiosity and a stingy but growling stomach finally got the best of me.
I don’t know how much longer the McDouble will last at a dollar given the upcharge for the “Daily Double” that many McDonalds’ have adopted. Just as I don’t know how long Notre Dame can last as a power player in college football. I hope they lasts forever though. Why does the McDouble work? Heck, why does Bob Diaco’s defensive scheme work? It just does, that’s why.
Maybe it’s Te’o. He’s your beef, he’s got to be. Yes, the patties are small, but there’s two of them, and despite their small size and well done nature you seem to be hit with an altogether beefy taste with those characteristic sweet notes on the backend. Can you say sideline to sideline? Of course there’s help. That cheese – bulky, mishapen – that’s Stephon Tuitt. A one man wrecking crew inside, the cheese is waxy and unrefined at first. But give it a quarter (ok, 15 mins steaming in the wrapper on a hot day) and it gets melty and gooey and serves that essential component of being that salty-fatty-awsome binder so essential to cheeseburger construction. To continue the analogy, Tuitt, the big cheese if you will, plugs up the middle to allow Te’o to shine.
Now, don’t forget your supporting cast. I’m talking Danny Spond, whose timely big plays hits you like the umami and vinegar blast of a pickle and chopped onion. Or that hard-hitting, omnipresent Zeke Motta – that would be your sweet and salty ketchup — coming in to add a needed zing just when the defense needs an open field stop. And that bun, that squishy, sweet, slightly malty bun which combines flavors and textures in the general mess of mechanical digestion I like to call chewing — well, that’s everyone else. From Prince Shembo on the line to cornerback Bennett Jackson, it works together and gets the job done, allowing the stars to shine but also contributing the needed glue to hold it all together.
Not actual glue though. That would be gross. And the McDouble? That magnificent, cheap, but of just so good value hamburger amidst a sea of bigger and faster hamburgers? Wake up the echoes my friend, because if September has shown us anything, it’s that that relevance is far from lost.