Saturday, December 1, 2007

army navy game

an article in yesterday's Sun, sports columnist Rick Maese recounted the age-old Army-Navy game tradition of West Point cadets slipping into Annapolis to capture a couple of the Naval Academy's mascot goats.

Today's Army-Navy clash at M&T Bank Stadium will be the fifth time the two military academies have played the game locally.

The first time was 1893, when they met in Annapolis, with Navy winning, 6-4. Thirty-one years later, when they took to the field at the old Municipal Stadium on 33rd Street in Baltimore; this time, Army trounced Navy, 12-0.

Frederick N. Rasmussen E-mail | Recent columns

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In 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who thought the game would give a war-weary nation a positive boost, linked it to a war bond drive. The 70,000 fans attending the game, again at Municipal Stadium, were required to purchase war bonds with their tickets.

After Army beat a powerful Navy team, 23-7, Gen. Douglas MacArthur cabled West Point head coach Col. Earl H. "Red" Blaik from his Pacific base: "WE HAVE STOPPED THE WAR TO CELEBRATE YOUR MAGNIFICENT SUCCESS."

When the game was last played in Baltimore, in 2000 at what was then PSINet Stadium, Navy won, 30-28.

There is another tradition associated with the game that may or may not be as well-known as the kidnapping of Navy goats: the ringing of two bells on the steps of Bancroft Hall on the campus of the Naval Academy.

On the steps of Bancroft Hall is the ship's bell from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise - the "Big E," World War II's most decorated ship.

The carrier fought in the war from its beginning, on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, to May 14, 1945, when a kamikaze attack off Japan destroyed its forward elevator and killed 14.

The extensive damage required the ship to withdraw from active duty and sail for Puget Sound Navy Yard for repairs. It was there when the war ended on Aug. 15, 1945. The carrier was decommissioned in 1947 and scrapped in 1960.

The ship's bell arrived at the Naval Academy in 1950 and sits on a stand that was donated by the Class of 1921. It is rung continuously, beginning when the final score of the game is known until the team returns to Bancroft Hall.

The other bell that is also rung in the post-game ceremony - and it's rung only if Navy defeats Army - is the Japanese Bell.

The 1456 Japanese temple bell was presented to Commodore Matthew C. Perry by the regent of Lew Chew, now Okinawa, during his 1854 voyage to the Far East.

The tradition began in 1900, after Navy returned from Philadelphia, where it had beaten Army, 11-7. The team's jubilant captain bonged out the winning score on the Japanese Bell.

James W. Cheevers, senior curator of the Naval Academy Museum, said in an interview with The Trident, the academy's newspaper, that the original bell was returned to Okinawa in 1987, as part of an effort to restore to the island some of its cultural items, many of which were destroyed during World War II. The current Japanese Bell is a replica.

There is another tradition that held that Naval Academy football teams pulled down window shades as they traveled by train through Baltimore - to ward off bad luck - but it has fallen into disuse. If the teams travel through Baltimore nowadays, it's aboard a bus.

When Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was filming Navy Blue and Gold, an eminently forgettable 1937 film starring Jimmy Stewart, Robert Young and Florence Rice, a scene in the movie portraying Baltimore in an unfavorable light came to the attention of G.H. Pouder, vice president of the Baltimore Association of Commerce.

The disputed scene, according to Pouder, showed the Naval Academy football team en route to battle Army passing through the city on board a train with all of the car's shades pulled down.

"The team doesn't do this. It's the regiment of midshipmen, and not the team, which pulls the shades down," reported The Evening Sun.

The scene continues with a Pullman porter informing the players they are missing the sights of Baltimore, and he begins raising the shades.

"Members grab him and tell him that it is bad luck to look at Baltimore on the way to an Army game. The porter, in order to give the city a break, tells them that may be so, but they are missing about the best-looking girls in the country," reported the newspaper.

When the Naval Academy, which was required to approve the scene, refused to do so until the city gave its approval, the cinematic contretemps dropped squarely into Pouder's lap.

After checking with academy officials regarding the superstition, Pouder told film officials that it was "still strong among the Navy boys," reported the newspaper.

Pouder said he didn't really mind the original scene after all, but MGM, in a public relations gesture, agreed to rewrite the lines describing the scene's action as "just an old Navy custom," which did not in any way reflect on the city.

Army-Navy Game
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"The Army-Navy Game" redirects here. For the episode of M*A*S*H, see The Army-Navy Game (M*A*S*H episode). For the similar annual match in British rugby, see Army Navy Match.
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The Army-Navy Game is an annual college football game generally played on the first Saturday in December. It pits the football teams of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York (known as Army), and the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland (Navy), against one another. It is one of the most traditional and enduring rivalries in college football, and the game is nationally televised by CBS. Instant replay made its debut in the 1963 Army-Navy game. Navy won the most recent contest on December 2, 2006, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, and with the win broke a Naval Academy record for consecutive wins against the other Service Academies with four winning years against both Army and The Air Force Academy. In addition, the 2005 win by Navy broke a 49-49 tie in victories all time between the academies. Navy also was first to win 50 games in the series, and retained the Commander in Chief's Trophy for the third year in a row.

1 History and Importance
2 Results
2.1 Overall
2.2 By year
3 Future dates
4 See also
5 References
6 External links

[edit] History and Importance

1908 Army-Navy college football game at Franklin Field
The Army-Navy Game 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 first Saturday in December and is traditionally the last game of the season for both teams. 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 join the Army-Navy Game on the same weekend.

2002 Army-Navy college football game at Giants Stadium, Navy in dark and Army in white.This game has always had inter-service "bragging rights" at stake; in past decades, when both Army and Navy were often national powers, the game occasionally had national championship implications. However, as top-level college football has developed into primarily a training ground for the National Football League, the high academic entrance requirements, height and weight limits, and the military commitment required of West Point and Annapolis graduates has reduced the overall competitiveness of both academies. In fact, the 1996 game was the only one since the aforementioned 1963 game in which both Army and Navy entered with winning records.

Despite the fact that Army and Navy are no longer nationally competitive on a regular basis, the tradition of the game has ensured that it remains nationally televised to this day. Arguably, one of the great appeals of this game to many fans is that since few, if any, of the participants will ever play in the NFL, they're playing solely for the love of the game. Due to commitments to serve in their respective branches of the armed services after graduation, many players are simply deemed too old and or out of "playing shape" 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 don't want to pursue it. A small number have tried; most are out of the NFL within two or three seasons. However, 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. 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 1996 game was an aberration, as both Army and Navy went to bowl games afterwards, and Navy has played in a bowl game in each season since 2003.) During wartime the game is even more emotional because 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 jokes on each other. The Cadets live and breathe the phrase "Beat Navy", while Midshipmen have the opposite dinned into them. Even the weight plates in the Navy weight room are stamped with the phrase "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.

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 now reestablished itself as the dominant team in the rivalry, having won the trophy in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006.

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. 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 and M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.


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