It was halftime of the 1928 Army vs. Notre Dame Game that legendary head coach Knute Rockne gave his "win one for the Gipper" speech to his beleaguered players. Notre Dame was having one of its worst season's on record and Rockne was trying to salvage what he could of the season. He told his players about the tragic death of George Gipp, a great Notre Dame player. Many historians doubt that Rockne's version of Gipp's last words was true. None the less, Notre Dame did win the game against Army that memorable day.
This speech became ingrained in popular culture after its recreation in the 1940 movie, Knute Rockne- All American. The phrase "Win one for the Gipper" became a permanent fixture in American society. Here is the transcript of the dialogue from the movie...
Well, boys ... I haven't a thing to say.
Played a great game...all of you. Great game.
(He tries to smile.)
I guess we just can't expect to win ‘em all.
(Rockne pauses and says quietly.)
I'm going to tell you something I've kept to myself for years --
None of you ever knew George Gipp.
It was long before your time.
But you know what a tradition he is at Notre Dame...
(There is gentle, faraway look in his eyes as he recalls the boy's words.)
And the last thing he 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 got and win just one for the Gipper...
(Knute's eyes become misty and his voice is unsteady as he finishes.)
I don't know where I'll be then, Rock", he said - "but
I'll know about it - and I'll be happy."
(There is a hushed stillness as Rockne and the crowd of boys look at each other. In the midst of this tense silence, Rockne quietly says "Alright," to the men beside him, and his chair is wheeled slowly out of the dressing room.)
Well, what are we waiting for?
With a single roar, the players throw off their blankets and rush through the doorway.