|Army Black Knights||Navy Midshipmen|
|Played annually since||1930 (82 years)|
|Series leader||Navy (57–49–7)|
|Longest Winning Streak (Army)||5 Years (1992-1996)|
|Longest Winning Streak (Navy)||11 Years (2002–present)|
|Largest margin of victory||Navy 51–0 (1973)|
|Highest scoring game||Navy 58–12 (2002)|
|Lowest scoring game||Tie 0–0 (1923)|
The Army–Navy Game is an American college football rivalry game between the teams of the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York and the United States Naval Academy (USNA) at Annapolis, Maryland. The USMA team, "Army", and the USNA team, "Navy", each represent their services' oldest officer commissioning sources. As such, the game has come to embody the spirit of the interservice rivalry of the United States Armed Forces.
The Army-Navy game is one of the most traditional and enduring rivalries in college football. The game is nationally televised by CBS, which has aired the game every year since 1984 except for a five-year stint on ABC from 1991–1995. Instant replay made its American debut in the 1963 Army-Navy game. The winner of the game is awarded the Thompson Cup, named after its donor, Robert M. Thompson.
The most recent game (the 113th) in the series was held at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, on December 8, 2012. Navy won by a score of 17-13. Navy now leads the all-time series with a record of 57 wins, 49 losses, and seven ties.
The Army–Navy Game, commencing in 1890, has been held at several locations throughout its history, but has most frequently been played in Philadelphia, roughly equidistant from the two academies. Historically played on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the game is now played on the second Saturday in December and is traditionally the last game of the season for both teams and, until the recent advent of conference championship games, it was the last regular-season game played in Division I-A football. With the permanent expansion of the regular season to 12 games starting in 2006, many regular-season games joined the Army–Navy Game on the same weekend. In 2009, the game was moved from the first Saturday in December to the second Saturday; this means that it will no longer conflict with conference championship games and once again is the last regular-season contest in college football.
This game has inter-service "bragging rights" at stake. For much of the first half of the 20th century, both Army and Navy were often national powers, and the game occasionally had national championship implications. However, as the level of play in college football improved nationally, and became fueled by prospects of playing in the National Football League (NFL), the high academic entrance requirements, height and weight limits, and the five-year military commitment required has reduced the overall competitiveness of both academies. Since 1963, only the 1996 and 2010 games have seen both teams enter with winning records. Nonetheless, the game is considered a college football institution. It has aired nationally on radio since the late 1920s, and has been nationally televised every year since 1945. The tradition associated with the game assures that it remains nationally broadcast to this day.
Arguably, one of the great appeals of this game to many fans is that the players are playing solely for the love of the game. By the time their post-graduation military commitments end, many players are simply deemed too old to even consider playing competitively again, much less in the professional ranks. Many have other post-service ambitions that would preclude such a career, or they simply do not want to pursue one. Nevertheless, some participants in the Army–Navy Game have gone on to professional football careers. Quarterback Roger Staubach (Navy, 1965) went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Dallas Cowboys that included being named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl VI. Wide receiver and kickoff/punt returner Phil McConkey (Navy, 1979) was a popular player on the New York Giants' squad that won Super Bowl XXI. Running back Napoleon McCallum (Navy, 1985) was able to concurrently serve his commitment to the Navy and play for the then-Los Angeles Raiders in 1986. After satisfying his Navy commitment, he joined the Raiders full-time. Sadly, his career was ended by a gruesome knee injury suffered in a game against the San Francisco 49ers in 1994.
The game is especially emotional for the seniors, called "first classmen" by both academies, since it is typically the last competitive football game they will ever play (the games in 1996 and 2010 were aberrations, as both Army and Navy went to bowl games afterwards, and Navy played in a bowl game every season since 2003, except for 2011). During wartime the game is even more emotional, as some seniors will not return once they are deployed. For instance, in the 2004 game, at least one senior from the class of 2003 who was killed in Iraq, Navy's J. P. Blecksmith, was remembered. The players placed their comrade's pads and jerseys on chairs on the sidelines. Much of the sentiment of the game goes out to those who share the uniform and who are overseas.
At the end of the game, the alma maters of the losing team and then the winning team are played and sung. The winning team stands alongside the losing team and faces the losing academy students; then the losing team accompanies the winning team, facing their students. This is done in a show of mutual respect and solidarity.
The rivalry between Annapolis and West Point, while friendly, is intense. Even the mascots (the Navy Goat and Army Mule) have been known to play pranks on each other. The Cadets live and breathe the phrase "Beat Navy", while Midshipmen have the opposite phrase, "Beat Army", dinned into them (even the weight plates in the Navy weight room are stamped with "Beat Army"). They have become a symbol of competitiveness, not just in the Army–Navy Game, but in the service of their country, and are often used at the close of (informal) letters by graduates of both academies. A long standing tradition at the Army-Navy football game is to conduct a formal "prisoner exchange" as part of the pre-game activities. The prisoners are the cadets and midshipmen currently spending the semester studying at the sister academy. After the exchange, students have a brief reprieve to enjoy the game with their fellow comrades.
Occasionally, the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, awarded to each season's winner of the triangular series between Army, Navy, and Air Force, will be at stake in this game. For most of the 1970s, Navy had held the trophy. After a period of flux for most of the 1980s, Air Force dominated the competition until the early 2000s. Navy has been the dominant team in the rivalry for most of the 2000s, winning every game in the triangular rivalry starting with the 2002 Army–Navy Game and ending with a 2010 loss to Air Force. If there is a tie in the Commander-In-Chief Trophy competition, the trophy remains with the incumbent team.
The rivalries Army and Navy have with the Air Force Academy are much less intense than the Army-Navy rivalry, primarily due to the relative youth of the Air Force Academy and the physical distance between Air Force and the other two schools, with Air Force Academy being located in Colorado Springs. The Army-Air Force and Navy-Air Force games are played at the academies' regular home fields, rather than at a neutral site, although Navy has occasionally moved its home games with Air Force to FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
The 34-0 Navy victory over Army on December 6, 2008, was the first shutout in the series since 1978 and marked the second time a Navy coach defeated Army in his first year of coaching, following Wayne Hardin in 1959. Navy has won the last 11 games in a row dating back to 2002, the longest winning streak in the history of the series.
Though the game has been played 112 times, only 6 of those games were held on the campus of either academy. Neither team's home stadium is nearly large enough to accommodate the large crowds that usually attend the game, as well as the media and dignitaries. Army's Michie Stadium only seats 38,000 people, while Navy's Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium only seats 34,000. For all but a few years since 1899, it has been played at a neutral site. Traditionally, the game is played in Philadelphia, due to the historic nature of the city and the fact that it is approximately halfway between West Point and Annapolis (and that it has a venue which can hold the attendees). Philadelphia's John F. Kennedy Stadium (JFK) hosted the game from 1936 to 1979 (except for three years in World War II)--more than any other venue in the history of the series. It even hosted the game for several years after the 1971 construction of nearby Veterans Stadium, which finally became the game's host in 1980. Franklin Field, on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, hosted the game in the early twentieth century before it was moved to JFK. New York's Polo Grounds holds the record for most games hosted outside of Philadelphia, even though the last time it hosted one was 1925. The city of Baltimore has hosted a number of games throughout the history of the series as well, even though Baltimore is closer to Annapolis.
The Rose Bowl is the only site west of the Mississippi River to host the Army-Navy game; it did so in 1983. The city of Pasadena, California, paid for the travel expenses of all the students and supporters of both academies — 9,437 in all. A substitute, however, for Bill XXII — the Navy mascot — and four rented Army mules were brought in. The attendance was 81,000. The game was held at the Rose Bowl that year because there are a large number of military installations and servicemen and women, along with many retired military personnel, on the West Coast. The game has been held one other time in a non-East Coast venue, at Chicago's Soldier Field, which played host to the 1926 game.
Currently the game is played primarily at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, the home of the Philadelphia Eagles. Since 1989, the game has been held roughly every four or five years at a site other than Philadelphia. These sites have in the past rotated between Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey (replaced in 2010 by MetLife Stadium) and M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. These are still considered neutral-site games, but provide locations that are closer to one academy or the other.
In 2008, a bidding process began for the game site, as well as a search for a corporate sponsor. In 2009, the Army–Navy Game was moved to the second Saturday of December. The move means the game will not be played simultaneously with any conference championships and will make it the final game of the Division I FBS regular season.
On June 9, 2009, Navy announced sites for all Army–Navy Games through 2017. The 2011 game was held at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland; the 2014 and 2016 games will be at M&T Bank Stadium; and all other games during that period will be at Lincoln Financial Field. In addition, the game also picked up a presenting corporate sponsor, the military-oriented financial firm USAA.
Total games per city
|New York, NY||11[n 1]|
|East Rutherford, NJ||4|
|West Point, NY||3|
|Army victories||Navy victories||Tie games||No games|
|1890||Navy||24–0||"The Plain" USMA||West Point, NY||Navy 1-0|
|1891||Army||32–16||Thompson Stadium USNA||Annapolis, MD||Tied 1-1|
|1892||Navy||12–4||"The Plain"||West Point, NY||Navy 2-1|
|1893||Navy||6–4||Thompson Stadium||Annapolis, MD||Navy 3-1|
|1894||No game played|
|1895||No game played|
|1896||No game played|
|1897||No game played|
|1898||No game played|
|1899||Army||17–5||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 3-2|
|1900||Navy||11–7||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 4-2|
|1901||Army||11–5||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 4-3|
|1902||Army||22–8||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Tied 4-4|
|1903||Army||40–5||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Army 5-4|
|1904||Army||11–0||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Army 6-4|
|1905||Tie||6–6||Osborne Field||Princeton, NJ||Army 6-4-1|
|1906||Navy||10–0||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Army 6-5-1|
|1907||Navy||6–0||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Tied 6-6-1|
|1908||Army||6–4||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Army 7-6-1|
|1909||No game played|
|1910||Navy||3–0||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Tied 7-7-1|
|1911||Navy||3–0||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 8-7-1|
|1912||Navy||6–0||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 9-7-1|
|1913||Army||22–9||Polo Grounds||New York, NY||Navy 9-8-1|
|1914||Army||20–0||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Tied 9-9-1|
|1915||Army||14–0||Polo Grounds||New York, NY||Army 10-9-1|
|1916||Army||15–7||Polo Grounds||New York, NY||Army 11-9-1|
|1917||No game played|
|1918||No game played|
|1919||Navy||6–0||Polo Grounds||New York, NY||Army 11-10-1|
|1920||Navy||7–0||Polo Grounds||New York, NY||Tied 11-11-1|
|1921||Navy||7–0||Polo Grounds||New York, NY||Navy 12-11-1|
|1922||Army||17–14||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Tied 12-12-1|
|1923||Tie||0–0||Polo Grounds||New York, NY||Tied 12-12-2|
|1924||Army||12–0||Municipal Stadium||Baltimore, MD||Army 13-12-2|
|1925||Army||10–3||Polo Grounds||New York, NY||Army 14-12-2|
|1926||Tie||21–21||Soldier Field||Chicago, IL||Army 14-12-3|
|1927||Army||14–9||Polo Grounds||New York, NY||Army 15-12-3|
|1928||No game played|
|1929||No game played|
|1930||Army||6–0||Yankee Stadium||Bronx, NY||Army 16-12-3|
|1931||Army||17–7||Yankee Stadium||Bronx, NY||Army 17-12-3|
|1932||Army||20–0||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Army 18-12-3|
|1933||Army||12–7||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Army 19-12-3|
|1934||Navy||3–0||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Army 19-13-3|
|1935||Army||28–6||Franklin Field||Philadelphia, PA||Army 20-13-3|
|1936||Navy||7–0||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 20-14-3|
|1937||Army||6–0||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 21-14-3|
|1938||Army||14–7||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 22-14-3|
|1939||Navy||10–0||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 22-15-3|
|1940||Navy||14–0||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 22-16-3|
|1941||Navy||14–6||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 22-17-3|
|1942||Navy||14–0||Thompson Stadium||Annapolis, MD||Army 22-18-3|
|1943||Navy||13–0||Michie Stadium||West Point, NY||Army 22-19-3|
|1944||Army||23–7||Municipal Stadium||Baltimore, MD||Army 23-19-3|
|1945||Army||32–13||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 24-19-3|
|1946||Army||21–18||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 25-19-3|
|1947||Army||21–0||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 26-19-3|
|1948||Tie||21–21||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 26-19-4|
|1949||Army||38–0||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 27-19-4|
|1950||Navy||14–2||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 27-20-4|
|1951||Navy||42–7||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 27-21-4|
|1952||Navy||7–0||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 27-22-4|
|1953||Army||20–7||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 28-22-4|
|1954||Navy||27–20||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 28-23-4|
|1955||Army||14–6||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 29-23-4|
|1956||Tie||7–7||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 29-23-5|
|1957||Navy||14–0||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 29-24-5|
|1958||Army||22–6||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 30-24-5|
|1959||Navy||43–12||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 30-25-5|
|1960||Navy||17–12||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 30-26-5|
|1961||Navy||13–7||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 30-27-5|
|1962||Navy||34–14||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 30-28-5|
|1963||Navy||21–15||Municipal Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 30-29-5|
|1964||Army||11–8||John F. Kennedy Stadium
||Philadelphia, PA||Army 31-29-5|
|1965||Tie||7–7||John F. Kennedy Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 31-29-6|
|1966||Army||20–7||John F. Kennedy Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 32-29-6|
|1967||Navy||19–14||John F. Kennedy Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 32-30-6|
|1968||Army||21–14||John F. Kennedy Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 33-30-6|
|1969||Army||27–0||John F. Kennedy Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 34-30-6|
|1970||Navy||11–7||John F. Kennedy Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 34-31-6|
|1971||Army||24–23||John F. Kennedy Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 35-31-6|
|1972||Army||23–15||John F. Kennedy Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 36-31-6|
|1973||Navy||51–0||John F. Kennedy Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 36-32-6|
|1974||Navy||19–0||John F. Kennedy Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 36-33-6|
|1975||Navy||30–6||John F. Kennedy Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 36-34-6|
|1976||Navy||38–10||John F. Kennedy Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 36-35-6|
|1977||Army||17–14||John F. Kennedy Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 37-35-6|
|1978||Navy||28–0||John F. Kennedy Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 37-36-6|
|1979||Navy||31–7||John F. Kennedy Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Tied 37-37-6|
|1980||Navy||33–6||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 38-37-6|
|1981||Tie||3–3||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 38-37-7|
|1982||Navy||24–7||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 39-37-7|
|1983||Navy||42–13||Rose Bowl||Pasadena, CA||Navy 40-37-7|
|1984||Army||28–11||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 40-38-7|
|1985||Navy||17–7||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 41-38-7|
|1986||Army||27–7||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 41-39-7|
|1987||Army||17–3||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 41-40-7|
|1988||Army||20–15||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Tied 41-41-7|
|1989||Navy||19–17||Giants Stadium||East Rutherford, NJ||Navy 42-41-7|
|1990||Army||30–20||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Tied 42-42-7|
|1991||Navy||24–3||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 43-42-7|
|1992||Army||25–24||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Tied 43-43-7|
|1993||Army||16–14||Giants Stadium||East Rutherford, NJ||Army 44-43-7|
|1994||Army||22–20||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 45-43-7|
|1995||Army||14–13||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 46-43-7|
|1996||Army||28–24||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 47-43-7|
|1997||Navy||39–7||Giants Stadium||East Rutherford, NJ||Army 47-44-7|
|1998||Army||34–30||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 48-44-7|
|1999||Navy||19–9||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 48-45-7|
|2000||Navy||30–28||PSINet Stadium||Baltimore, MD||Army 48-46-7|
|2001||Army||26–17||Veterans Stadium||Philadelphia, PA||Army 49-46-7|
|2002||Navy||58–12||Giants Stadium||East Rutherford, NJ||Army 49-47-7|
|2003||Navy||34–6||Lincoln Financial Field||Philadelphia, PA||Army 49-48-7|
|2004||Navy||42–13||Lincoln Financial Field||Philadelphia, PA||Tied 49-49-7|
|2005||Navy||42–23||Lincoln Financial Field||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 50-49-7|
|2006||Navy||26–14||Lincoln Financial Field||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 51-49-7|
|2007||Navy||38–3||M&T Bank Stadium||Baltimore, MD||Navy 52-49-7|
|2008||Navy||34–0||Lincoln Financial Field||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 53-49-7|
|2009||Navy||17–3||Lincoln Financial Field||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 54-49-7|
|2010||Navy||31–17||Lincoln Financial Field||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 55-49-7|
|2011||Navy||27–21||FedEx Field||Landover, MD||Navy 56-49-7|
|2012||Navy||17–13||Lincoln Financial Field||Philadelphia, PA||Navy 57-49-7|
|2013||Lincoln Financial Field||Philadelphia, PA|
|2014||M&T Bank Stadium||Baltimore, MD|
|2015||Lincoln Financial Field||Philadelphia, PA|
|2016||M&T Bank Stadium||Baltimore, MD|
|2017||Lincoln Financial Field||Philadelphia, PA|
Navy Midshipman (and later Admiral) Joseph Mason Reeves wore what is widely regarded as the first football helmet in the 1893 Army–Navy Game. He had been advised by a Navy doctor that another kick to his head would result in "instant insanity" or even death, so he commissioned an Annapolis shoemaker to make him a helmet out of leather.
On November 27, 1926, the Army–Navy Game was held in Chicago for the National Dedication of Soldier Field as a monument to American servicemen who had fought in World War I. Navy came to the game undefeated, while West Point had only lost to Notre Dame, so the game would decide the National Championship. Played before a crowd of over 100,000, the teams fought to a 21-21 tie, but Navy was awarded the national championship.
In both the 1944 and 1945 contests, Army and Navy entered the game ranked #1 and #2 respectively. The 1945 game was labeled the "game of the century" before it was played. Army defeated a 7-0-1 Navy team 32-13. Navy's lone tie was against Notre Dame.
- Army Mules
- Bill the Goat
- Commander-in-Chief's Trophy
- List of Army-Navy Game broadcasters
- Most-played rivalries in NCAA Division I FBS
- Other neutral site rivalries:
- Feinstein, John (1996). A Civil War: Army Vs. Navy — A Year Inside College Football's Purest Rivalry. Diane Books Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7881-5777-6
- Staff writer (November 18, 2008). "President Bush Will Attend Army-Navy Game for First Time since 2004". The Associated Press (via ESPN). Accessed December 24, 2009.
- Simonich, Milan (December 19, 2008). "City Passes on Army-Navy Football Game", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Accessed December 24, 2009.
- Gelston, Dan (undated). "Army-Navy, Instant Replay, Tony Verna, 45 Years Later ...". The Associated Press (via blog (dated December 5, 2009) by Tom Hoffarth at the Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
- Staff writer (Undated). "Victory at Sea: Navy Routs Army in 109th Meeting". The Associated Press(via ESPN). Retrieved December 24, 2009.
- Staff writer (October 23, 2008). "Army-Navy Will Move to Second Saturday in December". The Associated Press (via ESPN). Retrieved December 24, 2009.
- prisoner exchange tradition
- Clark, N. Brooks (December 5, 1983). "The Week". Sports Illustrated. Accessed December 24, 2009.
- [verification needed]Staff writer (undated). "No. 1 Rivalry — Army-Navy". Athlon Sports. Accessed December 24, 2009.
- "1983 — Score: Navy 42 - Army 13 | Game played at the Rose Bowl". United States Naval Academy exhibits. Accessed December 24, 2009.
- Amos, Chris (July 14, 2008). Army-Navy Game Could Move, Get Sponsor". Navy Times. Accessed December 24, 2009.
- Staff writer (October 23, 2008). "CBS Sports Agrees to 10 Year Contract Extension to Broadcast Army-Navy Game through 2018 — Annual Classic Moved to Second Week in December Starting in 2009". NavySports.com ("the official website of Naval Academy varsity athletes"). Accessed December 24, 2009.
- Staff writer (June 9, 2009). "Philly to Continue Hosting Army–Navy". The Associated Press(via ESPN). Retrieved December 24, 2009.
- "History of the Football Helmet" from Past Time Sports. Accessed Jan 1,2010
- Nimitz Library | U. S. Naval Academy Archival Images: Army Navy Football: 1926. Accessed Dec 31, 2009[dead link]
- [verification needed]Unknown writer (undated). "Games Where #1 Faced #2" kiko13.com (fansite). Accessed December 24, 2009.
- "Middies All Hepped Up to Knock Over Cadets". Los Angeles Times, November 27, 1945. "Navy, far from conceding next Saturday's football 'game of the century' to Army, will field a spirited, offense-minded team determined to win and 'not merely hold down the score,' Public Relations Chief Lt. William Sullivan said today."
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