There are great rivalries in sports and then there is Army Navy football. The annual get together is unbridled in enthusiasm and unpredictable in results.
Army played their nemesis yesterday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia for the #119 time. Navy leads the historic series 60-52-7 and unlike last year, snow was not in the forecast this year. A classic cool and crisp December day would prevail.
Entering the game with an eight game win streak, Army was clearly the favored team. Betting lines would indicate a 6.5 point spread for the game. However, as every military football fan knows, this game is vastly different. The magnitude of this game is clearly defined by history and the results are motivation enough to trump any type of seasonal statistic. This is a game of pride and the brotherhood of all those who came before. You could disregard the fact Army had the better record (9-2) and a national ranking (#23) while Navy (3-9) seemed to be struggling this season.
Cadets and Midshipman alike believe winning this one game can define a season.
Navy Superintendent Vice Admiral Walter E. Carter, Jr. summed it up best when interviewed on ESPN radio when asked about Army’s two game win streak going into this years showdown. He politely stated, “The first was a gift, the second was a fluke. We’ll see what happens this year.” The former top gun pilot was cool and polite and simply believed his alma mater was ready.
Army Head Coach Jeff Monken was asked about the rivalry and responded, “We pass those signs in the building and all over Post day after day that say beat navy and finally we get the opportunity to play this game. It is a tremendous rivalry and it is such a privilege and an honor for all of us competing in this game to take part in such a prestigious game and rivalry. Knowing what it means to so many people; to those who graduated from this academy and the other one, to the men and women who serve the branches of service we play for, the uniforms we wear and the colors which represent those men and women. It has been a long time coming – these three weeks leading up seems like forever, but it really comes at a welcome time to get rested, get healthy and hopefully have most of our team ready to play in the biggest rivalry in sports."
After 60 minutes of football yesterday, the final canon was fired and Army was victorious with a 17-10 win. Chants of “3-Peat” were heard in various sections of the stadium. With a victory over Air Force earlier this season, the Commander-In-Chief Trophy will continue its residency at West Point for another season.
Until next year…