|Showing the side of the 2016 winner, Air Force.|
|Current Holder:||Air Force|
|Air Force (20)
|Shared Awards (4)
1974 1976 1980 1993
The Commander-in-Chief's Trophy is awarded to each season's winner of the American college football triangular series among the teams of the U.S. Military Academy (Army Black Knights), the U.S. Naval Academy (Navy Midshipmen), and U.S. Air Force Academy (Air Force Falcons).
The Navy–Air Force game is traditionally played on the first Saturday in October, the Army–Air Force game on the first Saturday in November, and the Army–Navy Game on the second Saturday in December. In the event of a tie, the award is shared, but the previous winner retains possession of the trophy. Along with the Florida Cup, the Michigan MAC Trophy, and the Beehive Boot, the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy is one of the few three-way rivalries that awards a trophy to the winner.
Through 2016, the Air Force Falcons hold the most trophy victories at 20 and the Navy Midshipmen have won 15. The Army Black Knights trail with only six; their last came 21 years ago in 1996. The trophy has been shared on four occasions, last in 1993.
History of the trophy
Prior to 1972, Air Force played Army in odd years and Navy in even years. The Commander-in-Chief's trophy was the brainchild of Air Force General George B. Simler, a former Air Force Academy athletic director who envisioned the trophy as a means to create an annual series of football games for the Air Force Academy against the Military Academy and the Naval Academy. First awarded in 1972 by President Richard Nixon, the trophy itself is jointly sponsored by the alumni associations of the three academies.
The trophy is named for the U.S. President, who is the Commander-in-Chief of all U.S. military services under the U.S. Constitution. The President has personally awarded the trophy on a number of occasions. During the 1980s, for instance, President Ronald Reagan presented the award in an annual White House ceremony. In 1996, President Bill Clinton presented the trophy to the last winning Army team at Veterans Stadium after the Army–Navy Game. From 2003 to 2007, President George W. Bush presented the trophy to Navy teams at ceremonies in the White House.
Navy was the first to five wins in 1981, while Army won its fifth in 1988 and Air Force in 1989 to knot the series (five wins each with three shares). Air Force has led since their win in 1990, and dominated through 2002, with sixteen wins to Army's six. Winless in the series for over two decades, Navy reeled off seven consecutive sweeps from 2003 through 2009 to draw close.
In the annual series, Air Force plays a home game and a road game, usually both on campus, hosting Navy in even-numbered years and Army in odd years. Army–Navy is a neutral site game, usually in a major eastern city and most frequently in Philadelphia; it was last played on campus in 1942 and 1943, during World War II travel restrictions.
The other two federal service academies – the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy – do not participate in this competition. They are approximately one-quarter the size of the three Department of Defense academies and compete in Division III athletics, so they do not compete against the DOD military academies in most sports. The Coast Guard Bears and Merchant Marine Mariners have an annual football rivalry for the Secretaries Cup.
The trophy itself stands 2.5 feet (0.76 m) high and weighs a hefty 170 lb (77 kg). The design consists of three silver footballs in a pyramid-like arrangement, set on a circular base, with three arc-shaped sections cut out — one for each academy. In each of the cut-out areas stands a silver figurine of the mascot of one of the academies, in front of small, engraved plates denoting which years the respective academy has won the trophy. Beneath each of the three silver footballs is the crest of one of the three academies.
When Air Force has possession of the trophy, it is displayed in a glass case in the Cadet Fieldhouse, the indoor sports complex at the Air Force Academy. When Navy has possession of the trophy, it is displayed in a glass case in Bancroft Hall, the Midshipmen's dormitory. When Army possesses the trophy, it is housed in a glass case in Eisenhower Hall, the academy's theater and ballroom.
Winners of the trophy
In the event of a shared award, the previous year's winner retains custody of the trophy.
|Air Force victories||Army victories||Navy victories||Tied games, shared awards, future events|
|Season||Trophy Winner||Air Force – Navy score||Air Force – Army score||Army – Navy score|
|1974||Shared (Navy retained trophy) (1)||19–16||17–16||19–0|
|1976||Shared (Navy retained trophy) (2)||13–3||24–7||38–10|
|1980||Shared (Navy retained trophy) (3)||21–20||47–24||33–6|
|1982||Air Force (1)||24–21||27–9||24–7|
|1983||Air Force (2)||44–17||41–20||42–13|
|1985||Air Force (3)||24–7||45–7||17–7|
|1987||Air Force (4)||23–13||27–10||17–3|
|1989||Air Force (5)||35–7||29–3||19–17|
|1990||Air Force (6)||24–7||15–3||30–20|
|1991||Air Force (7)||46–6||25–0||24–3|
|1992||Air Force (8)||18–16||7–3||25–24|
|1993||Shared (Air Force retained trophy) (4)||28–24||25–6||16–14|
|1994||Air Force (9)||43–21||10–6||22–20|
|1995||Air Force (10)||30–20||38–20||14–13|
|1997||Air Force (11)||10–7||24–0||39–7|
|1998||Air Force (12)||49–7||35–7||34–30|
|1999||Air Force (13)||19–14||28–0||19–9|
|2000||Air Force (14)||27–13||41–27||30–28|
|2001||Air Force (15)||24–18||34–24||26–17|
|2002||Air Force (16)||48–7||49–30||58–12|
|2009||Navy (12)||16–13 (OT)||35–7||17–3|
|2010||Air Force (17)||14–6||42–22||31–17|
|2011||Air Force (18)||35–34 (OT)||24–14||27–21|
|2012||Navy (13)||28–21 (OT)||41–21||17–13|
|2014||Air Force (19)||30–21||23–6||17–10|
|2016||Air Force (20)||28–14||31–12||21–17|
|2017||TBD||October 7, 2017 at Annapolis, MD
(Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium)
|November 4, 2017 at Colorado Springs, CO
|December 9, 2017 at Philadelphia, PA
(Lincoln Financial Field)
|2018||TBD||TBD||TBD||December 8, 2018|
|Season||Trophy winner||Air Force – Navy||Air Force – Army||Army – Navy|
|Records since 1972 (45 seasons)||Air Force: 26–19 (.578)||Air Force: 33–12 (.733)||Navy: 29–15–1 (.656)|
- Four shared trophies, last in 1993
- Only tie was in 1981 (Army–Navy, 3–3)
- Overtime for Division I-A regular season introduced in 1996
- three OT games, all between Navy (2–1) and Air Force
- Army–Navy Game
- Secretaries Cup – annual Division III rivalry game between the Coast Guard Bears and Merchant Marine Mariners
- Staff Sgt. Raymond Hoy (April 18, 2011). "Falcons bring home Commander-in-Chief's Trophy". www.af.mil. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012.
- Kyle Meadows (July 24, 2008). "The Top Ten College Football Rivalry Trophies". Bleacher Report.
- John Cavanaugh (November 12, 1989). "COLLEGE FOOTBALL; Boston College Surprises Army". The New York Times.