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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Fans cheer as Clark, an American bald eagle, lands on the arm of a fan at AT&T Stadium on Saturday.

Sunday, December 30, 2018 1:00 am

Dylan's Dallas Diary

Freelancing eagle adds some levity

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

ARLINGTON, Texas – It has been one heck of a ride in Dallas. Notre Dame didn't play well enough to win in Saturday's Cotton Bowl, but just being here in AT&T Stadium was a thrilling end to a season that had been building to this since September.

Bowl games in college football always come with plenty of bells and whistles, and the College Football Playoff has made sure to add plenty of extra entertainment to the main football game.

On Saturday, one of those add-ons was a live eagle that flew around the stadium during the national anthem. The eagle, named Clark, was supposed to soar over the stadium to the strains of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and then return to his owner, but Clark had other ideas.

Instead of fluttering back down to the field, he picked out a random Notre Dame fan in the stands and landed on him. That fan was a flummoxed when Clark alighted on his shoulder, so the eagle found another Irish fan, this one with arm held straight, ready to be perched upon. 

Yahoo Sports! talked to an eyewitness of the eagle's journey, who said: “Clearly the eagle favors the Irish.”

Clark's journey led to a tremendous photo-op with the second fan, in which a nonplussed eagle seems to be wondering what exactly is happening. One of Clark's handlers rushed up to secure him, but it was a moment of levity before the game began.

The game didn't feature many happy moments for Notre Dame fans and the Irish's season ended with a 30-3 loss. At least Clark and a few lucky fans had fun. That's all for me from Dallas, where I had a blast as well.

Dylan Sinn covers Notre Dame football for The Journal Gazette. He can be reached by phone at 461-8223, via email at or follow him on Twitter @DylanSinn.