In 1962, Notre Dame linebacker Mo Pottios was thirsty, so he did what any thirsty 22-year-old kid would do. He leveraged his future NFL salary to borrow $5000 from Art “The Chief” Rooney, and unwittingly established what has become the most iconic bar in South Bend: “The Linebacker Lounge.”

Previously, the structure at 1631 South Bend Avenue was occupied by Eve’s Drive-In, which Mo replaced with “The Linebacker Lounge,” or simply, “The Backer.” Basic and unassuming, the Backer sprang fully-formed into the Notre Dame landscape, a perfectly unpolished gem on the outer crown of campus. By the time Elwanda Delinski assumed ownership of the bar in 1984, the modest local watering hole Mo Pottios envisioned had quietly exploded into a destination hangout for the surrounding Notre Dame community, along with throngs of die-hard fans world-wide, whose pilgrimage to Notre Dame always includes a pitstop at “The Backer: Across from Notre Dame.”

In 2022, Delinski passed the torch to a pair of former Notre Dame football teammates with the goal of preserving the uniquely simple character of the bar while toasting the broader Notre Dame audience. From South Bend loyals to bucket-listers with a Linebacker box to check, all will have a questionably appropriate Backer story. The Backer’s sixty-one year history bridges and binds Notre Dame’s past and present celebrations to fans everywhere and in every time.

We want everyone to have a Backer story. What’s yours?