Can the entire storied history of the Army-Navy football rivalry be covered in a single online document? No.
Can it be covered if that document sends its readers to 118 other places, one for each time the teams will have met after Saturday’s contest in Philadelphia? Also, no. But it’ll come a lot closer.
Whether you’re a casual fan, die-hard partisan or just trying to make conversation with the crazy guy in your office, here’s some quick links to get you up to speed, divided by category:
- Army (8-3) faces Navy (6-5) at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 3:15 p.m.
- CBS will air the game, with coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m. The network recently re-upped its rivalry broadcast rights, for good reason.
- CBS Sports Network airs more pre-kick coverage, including the march-ons, beginning at noon. Find the network here. Get the full pre-game event schedule here. Navy fans with Showtime access can get plenty more coverage.
- Expect overcast skies and temperatures around 40 degrees. Dress in layers, or find another way to keep warm.
- Oddsmakers have the Mids as three-point favorites. That’s down a bit from this summer.
- It’ll mark the 87th time Philadelphia has hosted the rivalry. More games are en route.
- It’ll also be for the Commander in Chief’s Trophy, as both teams defeated Air Force this season. The Falcons will give up the hardware they collected from President Trump in May; Navy last won it in 2015, while Army claimed it in 1996.
- Meet the triple option, which both offenses will use to rack up significant yards on the ground. It’s not unique to the academies, but it’s close.
- Army’s attack will be led by senior quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw. Navy sophomore Malcolm Perry, who may see time under center as well as in the slot, is the Mids’ “X-factor." Get to know one of his key blockers.
- Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo has built a legacy. Army’s Jeff Monken may be starting one, and he’s known his audience from his first days on the job.
- Some family bonds will be tested both on and off the field in the City of Brotherly Love.
- Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper, whose son’s medical fight has been the subject of much media attention, reportedly missed Wednesday practice to be with his son for a medical appointment. The coach’s status for the game is unclear.
- Navy fired first with a Blue Angels-inspired uniform reveal that included a video and was widely praised ...
- ... as was Army’s tribute to the 10th Mountain Division, which debuted this week. That uniform comes complete with its own explainer website. More positive press attention followed.
- Army’s uniforms have been out in front of a Military Times reader poll, but they didn’t dominate uni discussion as last year’s 82nd Airborne Division-inspired gear did. That said, they haven’t all been winners.
THE SPIRIT SPOTS
- Voting’s still open in our two-part spirit spot series. Part One includes “Lead from the Front,” which has received more than 2.2 million Facebook views and prompted a message from the Naval Academy ensuring followers that, yes, the goats are fine.
- Other videos to share among academy faithful (or use for smack-talking ammunition) include the Navy’s take on “Stranger Things” and this 2016 flashback from prolific spirit-spotter 2nd Lt. Austin Lachance. It features Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, West Point superintendent and frequent spirit-spot star.
- Prefer musical versions? Army fans can try this from rapper Tosa Brooks, or this from Emily McAleesejergins, who brings military-musical street cred.
- Navy’s got a 60-50-7 lead over Army in the all-time series. The folks at mcubed.net keep an easy-to-read game log. Curious about the “7”? The last tie came in 1981, though the most famous came in 1926, in front of about 110,000 fans in Chicago’s almost-new Soldier Field.
- Aside from Chicago and Philadelphia, the game’s been played in multiple locations in New York (West Point and New York City), New Jersey (Princeton and East Rutherford), and Maryland (Baltimore and Landover, plus Annapolis). It’s been across the Mississippi River just once, in 1983, when Navy beat Army 42-13 in Pasedena’s Rose Bowl.
- Some milestones this year: It’s the 125th anniversary of the final Army-Navy game played on “The Plain,” West Point’s parade ground, in 1892. ... A century ago, the game was canceled as U.S. involvement in World War I ramped up (there’s always baseball). ... The Baltimore Sun reflects on the odd scene in World War II-era Annapolis 75 years ago. ... It’s been 25 years since Army kicker Patmon Malcom hit a 44-yard field goal to seemingly beat the Mids, had it erased by a penalty, then hit a 49-yarder for the win.
- The rivalry contest is credited with giving birth to instant replay in 1963, although WPIX-TV in New York employed the technology for a New York Yankees broadcast in 1959.
- Five Heisman Trophy winners have participated: Army’s Doc Blanchard, Glenn Davis and Pete Dawkins, and Navy’s Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach. Staubach’s the most recent, though Navy QB Keenan Reynolds had a puncher’s chance in 2015.
- Robert Woods, believed to be the only player to start on both sides of the rivalry game, died this year at age 96. He was on the cover of Time in 1945.
- Navy’s 14-game win streak over Army, which ended last season, was the longest in the rivalry’s history. Army went 8-0-2 against the Mids from 1922 to 1933, with two games called off thanks to a squabble over player eligibility rules.
- More little-known facts, amazing facts and rivalry rankings.
- Speaking of rivalry rankings, take your pick of these collections, which put the Army-Navy game all over the place, but usually near the top.
FIRST AND LAST
- 1890: The rivalry began at West Point, with Navy earning a 24-0 win. Army’s team captain and coach, Dennis Michie, would fall during the Spanish-American War. Army’s football stadium now bears his name. Army earned its first win of the series the next year, beating Navy 32-16 in Annapolis.
- 2016: With the president-elect in attendance, the Black Knights broke out to a 14-0 halftime lead, then allowed 17 straight points to the Mids before Ahmad Bradshaw’s game-winning TD run. Catch the highlights here.
- Get a big-picture view from last year here, and some more images here.
ODDS AND ENDS
- If you’re this far down and still hungering for details, you might want to consider the official game notes from both teams.
- The season doesn’t end for either squad on Saturday. Navy’s heading back to Annapolis for the Military Bowl to face Virginia on Dec. 28, while Army will take on San Diego State in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 23 in Fort Hood, Texas.
- Hints have been dropped that the Army’s prototype “pinks and greens” uniform could make an appearance in Philadelphia on Saturday. The throwback unis have their fans and tend to draw a crowd.
- Frequent rivalry-game reporter and commentator John Feinstein sounds glad to be preparing for a football game without an anthem controversy. And no, despite what you’ve read in your spam folder, there is no anthem controversy. There will be some patriotic singing, however.
- Follow Military Times rivalry coverage here, with regular updates via Twitter and Facebook. Need more? Keep an eye on the beat reporters who’ve been with the Mids and Black Knights all season.
- For Navy faithful, it’s an anniversary only a Tom Selleck fan could love: It’s been 50 years since future private investigator Thomas Magnum quarterbacked the (fictional) Mids to victory over Army in his senior season. The real-life Mids won that year, too: 19-17.
- For Army fans still in need of hype, here’s the year’s signature spirit spot: The “Crazy Colonel” providing holiday-themed motivation for 30 straight minutes.