Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Saturday's Army-Navy Game Promises Pride, Power, And Not Much Passing
The last week of college football’s regular season is reserved for the truest of all amateur sporting events. With no other games this Saturday, teams from West Point and Annapolis take the field in Philadelphia before a captive national audience. The Army and Navy squads carry few — if any — NFL prospects, so the game is a true showcase for amateur competition on college football’s national stage.
“My favorite part about the game is the pure competition,” Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo told reporters during the annual Army/Navy week press conference. “That, and the respect factor in this game separates it from other games.”
The 118th version of this rivalry promises to be one of the most competitive in recent history. After 14 straight losses, Army last December handed Navy a 21-17 defeat to end “The Streak.”
‘We’ve got a program now’
That win was a turning point for the Black Knights, helping propel them to an 8-3 record this year. Behind senior quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw, the Black Knights are the No. 1 rushing team in the nation, cruising to over 368 yards per game. In true triple-option fashion, Army has attempted the fewest passes in the country, completing a mere 16 throws on the season out of only 60 attempts with 5 interceptions.
“That [last year’s game] was definitely a big part of our confidence going into this season. Guys [are] feeling like we’ve got a program now, that we believe we can win,” said Army head coach Jeff Monken. “As it happens over and over again, there becomes this opinion that your program is inferior, that you can’t beat your rival.”
That sense of inferiority no longer holds. Army finished undefeated at home and earned its second bowl appearance in as many years. Unlike in past years, Army has swagger and feels it can win.
Navy looks for a course correction
That confidence may be key against a Navy team that has lost five of its last six games after a strong start to the season.
With an uncharacteristic 6-5 record, the Mids have stumbled through the autumn with uncertainty at the quarterback position. Navy has played 3 different quarterbacks over 11 games, using juniors Zach Abey and Garret Lewis under center along with sophomore Malcolm Perry, a converted slotback. Using a similar version of the triple-option offense, the Mids are currently ranked second in the nation in rushing, averaging 347.5 yards per game. Much like Army, Navy does not throw the ball often and is ranked 128th in the country in passing surpassing only Georgia Tech and Army.
Check out 'Bama, Georgia, Notre Dame, and Oregon looking up at all those service academies.NCAA
It is safe to say the forward pass has a solid chance of not being seen much on Saturday.
The triple option offense provides the Service Academies with a great equalizer against larger and faster FBS teams. But in this interservice rivalry, the two teams are fairly evenly matched. Thus the game is poised to be one of the best competitions in the last decade—even down to the uniforms.
Dressing sharply for Saturday
In the last few years, both Army and Navy have worn specially crafted uniforms for the big game, designed by Nike and Under Armour, respectively. This year, the Black Knights’ uniforms will honor the 10th Mountain Division with an all-white jersey and gold numerals. (You can read all about it at at Nike’s popup website, beatnavyuniform.com.) The 10th Mountain Division fought in the Italian mountains amidst harsh winter conditions during World War II.
Navy will sport uniforms with F/A-18 fighter jets on the helmet in tribute to the Blue Angels, the Navy’s premier jet demonstration team.
The race to win the cup
But shiny uniforms don’t help you with blocking and tackling, and with so much at stake, both teams know service personnel across the globe want bragging rights. This will be the first time since 2012, and the seventh time overall, that the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy will be on the line in the Army-Navy Game. The CINC trophy is awarded annually to the winner of the service academy competition between Air Force, Army, and Navy, and it will be on the sidelines for Saturday’s competition.
“We knew that for emotional purposes and motivational reasons, to have that trophy on the sideline was imperative and really takes the game to another level,” Naval Academy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said.
As one of the most enduring rivalries in college football, Army-Navy certainly rises to another level — not because of hatred for the other team, but because of respect for your opponent. Both sides know that after the final whistle, their opponent becomes their teammate in defense of the country. At a time when it seems our national fabric might be unraveling at the seams, along comes a group of 20-year-old midshipmen and cadets to remind us of what makes our country great.
Now you can relive the glory days of screaming "fire for effect" before lobbing rounds down range, and you can do it from the comfort of your own backyard, or living room, without having to worry that some random staff sergeant is going to show up and chew you out for your unsat face scruff and Johnny Bravo 'do.
The leader of a Chicago-area street gang has been arrested and charged with attempting to aid the ISIS terrorist group, the Department of Justice said Friday.
Jason Brown, also known as "Abdul Ja'Me," allegedly gave $500 on three separate occasions in 2019 to a confidential informant Brown believed would then wire it to an ISIS fighter engaged in combat in Syria. The purported ISIS fighter was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, according to a DoJ news release.
My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead
"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.
They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.
As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.
But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.
Sen. Rick Scott is backing a bipartisan bill that would allow service members to essentially sue the United States government for medical malpractice if they are injured in the care of military doctors.
The measure has already passed the House and it has been introduced in the Senate, where Scott says he will sign on as a co-sponsor.
"As a U.S. Senator and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, taking care of our military members, veterans and their families is my top priority," the Florida Republican said in a statement.