Army-Navy a Traditional Rivalry

Army-Navy Rivalry
Army-Navy plays its annual rivalry contest each year while thousands of excited spectators, military personnel and television networks watch on in anticipation. The excitement, energy and love of nation are all mixed into this rivalry. The Army-Navy game is among the most enduring traditional rivalries in college football.

Today’s game was played at MT&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore Maryland. MT&T Stadium is also home to the Baltimore Ravens NFL team. The CBS television network showed the game and has televised this rivalry each year since 1984. The game was briefly televised by the ABC network from 1991-1995. The team that wins the game gets bragging rights and is given the prestigious Thompson Cup, an award named after its donor Robert Thompson.

Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, hosted the last Army-Navy Game which was played in Dec. 2013. Navy outlasted Army that year and won big. The score was 34-7. Army intended to turn things around this year. Throughout the series, Navy leads Army with an overall record of 58 wins (now 59) and 49 losses. The teams have tied seven times.

The Army-Navy rivalry is big-time college rivalry traditionally played by the United States Navel Academy (USNA) from Annapolis, MD and the United States Military Academy (USMA) from West Point, NY. It is the Navy Midshipmen doing battle against the Army Black Knights. In the spirit of inter-service rivalry, the Army-Navy contest also marks the end of the regular collegiate division 1-A football season but not including the college bowl games.

It has been said one of the key reasons the Army-Navy game maintains its charm is because the participating athletes play strictly for the love of football. Most often, by the time the athletes satisfy post-graduation allegiances they are no longer able to play football at the professional level because they are too old. Others have career military aspirations and have no interest in playing high level competitive football beyond the college ranks.

There are some notable athletes who have participated in the Army-Navy rivalry and have gone onto successful NFL careers. New York Giants kick return specialist/wide receiver Phil McConkey (Navy, 1979) had a solid professional career. Napoleon McCallum (Navy, 1985), former running back for the then Los Angeles Raiders in 1986, had success in the pro game for several years. His professional career came to an abrupt end after he suffered a ghastly knee injury while tackled in a 1994 San Francisco 49ers game.

Superstar Quarterback Roger Staubach (Navy, 1965) had an illustrious NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys number 12 was named Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl VI. Staubach was also named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH.

The game-rivalry plays an emotional role for the first class-men, who are college level seniors. Other than the possibility of a bowl game, it is likely the last regular season college football game these seniors will ever play. During today’s game Navy will be wearing a new-look uniform created by the Under Armour sports apparel company. The patriotic uniform was inspired by the American Revolution and the nation’s global war on terrorism.

When the game ends, both teams play and sing their Alma Mater victory songs. The victorious team then in formation stands beside the losing team and next the losing team accompanies the victors in union to show solidarity and mutual respect. The Army-Navy rivalry is competitive, intense and friendly. Even the Army Mule and Navy Goat, team-mascots, pull occasional pranks on the one another.

The Army-Navy game for 2014 is now over. The Navy Midshipmen pulled out a 17-10 victory over the Army Black Knights in what proved to be spectacular finish. This is the 13th straight victory for the Midshipmen. The Army-Navy rivalry is an American tradition that brings excitement, respect and national spirit. This was 115th annual Army-Navy Game.

By D’wayne Stanelli

CBS Baltimore
SB Nation

Photo courtesy of Marvin Lynchard, U.S. Army – Flickr License

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