Win One For The Gipper
The last thing George said to me, 'Rock,' he said, 'sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be then, Rock. But I'll know about it, and I'll be happy.'It's the big game. Your team is down. The clock is showing that fleeting moments remain to turn back the enemy and scratch and claw to a win. Nerves are high; energy is down. Fans are getting up and leaving. And the coach calls for a time out and brings the whole team in. He gives a Rousing Speech, reminding the team of what they've done and how far they've come. The team can see that his whole heart is with the game and with them. He asks them to go out there and get the win — for himself, for another teammate who couldn't make it that far, or for themselves. Inspired, the players turn around and return to the fray with new enthusiasm. This doesn't always work... but it usually does.
— Knute Rockney, University of Notre Dame football coach, quoting George 'Gipper' Gipp
- Knute Rockne, All American famously portrayed the trope-naming speech, which has since been repeatedly lampshaded and parodied.
And when Knute Rockne said this to the team, they said, "Why should we? He's dead."- Dave Barry
- Parodied in Airplane!. Ted Striker feels guilty about causing the death of seven men under his command during the war, including George Zip.
Dr. Rumack: I want to tell you something I've kept to myself through these years. I was in the war. Medical corps. One night, they brought in a badly wounded pilot from one raid. He could barely talk. He looked up at me, he said, "The odds were against us there, but we went in anyway. I'm glad. Captain made the right decision." The pilot's name was George Zip.Ted Striker: George Zip said that?Dr. Rumack: The last thing he said to me, "Doc," he said, "Sometime, when the crew is up against it, the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to give it all they've got and win just one for the Zipper!" [cue Notre Dame's fight song]
- Major League 2 has this. First, the manager of the Indians is in the hospital recovering from a heart attack, but tries to avert this trope by telling his successor not to give the team "one of those 'Let's win this one for Lou' speeches... I couldn't stand that." He's promised that won't happen, but later it is played straighter than straight... with a little lie about the severity of Lou's state.
- Averted in McAuslan, when the Gordon Highlanders soccer team is up against the far more powerful Royal Navy. Sports officer MacNeill pointedly does not lecture them - it wouldn't help.
Yes, I thought, get tore in. It's your pay and Samuels' reputation you're playing for. Then I thought, no, the heck with that, it's just for yourselves, that's all.
- Referenced in Kingdom Hearts I - when Jafar forces Genie to attack the heroes, he spends more time apologizing or cheering for them. "Win one for the gipper!"
- In Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, when Grimsdottir tells Sam he needs to stop a missile headed for the USS Ronald Reagan, Sam quips "Did you just tell me to win one for the Gipper?" The reference flies right over Grimsdottir's head and Sam laments he is getting old.
- Parodied in an episode The Simpsons where Mr Burns tells the team "There's a little crippled boy in hospital who wants you to win. I know because I crippled him myself to inspire you."
Milhouse: (in hospital) I hope they win, or Mr Burns said he's coming back!
- In the episode where Homer was teaching showboating to sports celebrities, he used this to inspire one of his clients. The kid himself appeared to ask the athlete to do it.
- Parodied in Sponge Bob Square Pants, where Spongebob implores everyone to do well for Squidward, pretending that he was the one who did something nice for them.
- Invoked by Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware during the Louisville/Duke "Elite Eight" game on March 31, 2013. (The winner of this game would go on to the "Final Four" round of the NCAA championship.) After a freak accident left Ware laying on the court with six inches of his tibia sticking out of his lower leg, he kept telling his teammates "I'm fine. Go win the game." They did, went on to win the tournament, and brought the trophy to Ware's hospital room.
- Knute Rockne made the whole story up.