The Army-Navy game is back this Saturday. For the 122nd time, the two squads will go head-to-head on the gridiron for service academy bragging rights. It’s also a chance for Army to win the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy outright (rather than sharing it with Navy and Air Force — lame). For Navy, it’s been a disappointing season. At 3-8, the Midshipmen aren’t eligible for a bowl game, so this will be their last time playing together. Nothing would wash the bad taste out of their mouth like a win over Army.
The Army-Navy game isn’t just important to the football programs. It is a point of pride for the entire academies and their alumni, as well as any active duty service members of all three branches involved. Seriously, this is probably the only day all year you’ll get a Marine to grudgingly admit that they’re in the Department of the Navy. In the much bigger picture, we are all on the same side. For about three hours on Saturday, however, that will be cast aside in the name of military pride and glory.
Contrary to what the NFL believes now, trash talk is a part of football, and plenty of service members have taken up that duty on their respective academies’ behalf. Below is a collection of some of the best videos of both sides doing some chest-beating and taking jabs at each other. Just keep in mind, it’s all in fun. Once it’s all over, we will all return to our regularly-scheduled picking on the Air Force.
This one is from a couple of years ago, but gives you some insight into the background of the Army-Navy game and just how high the rivalry goes. Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michael Gilday, and Chief of Staff of the Army, General James C. McConville, traded shots on Twitter before the game in 2019. The rivalry really does come from the top down!
The 1st Special Forces Command went the extra mile and put Sailors in their goofiest looking uniform (I had a Sergeant Major describe it as an ice cream man wearing a dog bowl once), and teamed them up with a pretty feeble-looking representation of the Naval Academy’s mascot, the Goat. Shots fired, indeed.
Did they really just fly through the goalposts?! If anyone was going to do it, I guess it would be a pilot from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (the Night Stalkers).
Short, sweet, and to the point. Oh, and from freaking outer space! Astronaut and retired Army Colonel R. Shane Kimbrough makes the matter extraterrestrial and sends his support for Army from the International Space Station.
Bedlam, burning things, Beat Navy… West Point is ready.
Is the Army taking a shot at the Navy’s land nav skills with that map? This one from the 4th Psychological Operations Group may be my favorite.
The Army’s parachute team, the Golden Knights, doing what they do best: jumping out of planes and looking awesome doing it. Well done.
Lt. Gen Cloutier, commander of NATO Allied Land Command (LANDCOM), isn’t excited for the Army-Navy game at all (and seriously, Sir, you’re going to have to check those guns in at the armory….).
Riffing off of Progressive’s “Don’t become your parents” commercials, Director of Army Safety and Commander, Brig. Gen. Andrew Hilmes, has some fun at Naval aviators’ expense with his crew at the Army Combat Readiness Center. He even mentions the “pending release of ‘Top Gun 2’.” We aviation geeks aren’t ready for “Top Gun” jokes yet. Low blow, Sir!
Maybe the “Terminator” franchise had too much of an effect on me in my formative years. I don’t love the idea of the machines having the ability to make a judgement call. That said, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory gets high marks for creativity here.
The football coach in me suffered a bit of an eye twitch from how some of these Sailors were carrying the pigskin, but other than that, I love the “Sea to Shining Sea” theme here from the U.S. Navy Recruiting Command. Excellent production value, too!
This one requires a bit of context. Both West Point and Annapolis deliver the Army-Navy game ball to the stadium each year — on foot. The U.S. Military Academy carries it using their marathon team, but the Naval Academy has used 13th Company since 1981. According to Midshipman 1st Class Eliud Martinez on the Naval Academy website in 2014:
“Retired Marine Lt. Col. Clay Noto suggested to the 13th Company stripers of the Class of 1982 that a relay would be a great way to build company spirit and change the perception of ‘unlucky’ 13.”
Most years, the game is in Philadelphia, meaning a relay of about 120 miles, and they’ve even gotten lucky with a couple of trips to nearby Baltimore. This year, the trek to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey is over 200 miles. These Middies aren’t going to let a minor detail like that stop them from getting the game ball there on time, though.
It’s not a video, but this was too good to leave out. Some theorize that Patriots’ head coach, Bill Belichick, was basically trolling the Bills and revealing the gameplan with his Navy mask before the game Monday night. The Patriots threw the ball only three times during an extremely windy night in Buffalo, and at one point ran the ball 32 straight times in the 14-10 win. This is completely unheard of in the modern NFL (no one has won a game with fewer passes since the ’74 Bills). It felt like an homage to the Naval Academy, who rarely pass the ball, either. Belichick’s father, Steve, was also a coach and scout at the Naval Academy for 33 years.
So maybe a “Full House” theme isn’t the most intimidating choice, but it’s hard not to appreciate the willingness to throw it back to the ’80s-early ’90s era. Besides that, the crew of the USS John P Murtha might just be embracing the understated badass role here. You’re not going to pick on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson just because he likes show tunes. Nice grab at the end, too!
So there you have it. The stage is set for another year of festivities. Based on these, If I have to pick, Army might have had the slight edge in the pre-game bluster category. The part that matters most, however, is set to kick off Saturday at 3 P.M. on CBS.
Read more from Sandboxx News:
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- Five service academy football players signed as free agents
- Applying to a military school
- Tokyo Olympics: Update on 19 service members and more
- From Annapolis to Miami: Navy midshipman drafted by the Dolphins
Feature image: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Erik Estrada