Go Army, beat Navy

An Army Cadet signals his peers as they march onto the field in advance of 2015's game against Navy. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

An Army Cadet signals his peers as they march onto the field in advance of 2015’s game against Navy. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Those who have a little Navy – the branch of the service, not the shade of blue – in them, are excused.

Otherwise, Army needs all the support it can get Saturday. You will be expected to pull enthusiastically for the Black Knights of the Hudson in their 117th football meeting with Navy.

The game falls neatly in the lull between conference championships and the playoffs/lesser bowls. Which is appropriate because this one deserves to stand alone.

That certainly was made clear when we spoke with a couple of metro Atlanta Army players, as well as Army coach Jeff Monken for a story in Friday’s AJC, appearing also on myAJC.com.

This is the game that helps cleanse all the cynicism and the hypocrisy that has built up over a college football regular season.

This is a game that makes it safe once more to believe in the basic purity of the competition and the motives of those who play it and coach it.

Before such a game, the participants may say some beautiful and stirring things, and not once are you even tempted to roll your eyes and say to yourself, “Yeah, yeah, sure, but could you find the library if you had to?”

And the camera is never going to land on a single student in the stands who’s shirtless, painted up like human bag of Skittles and generally embarrassing his parents.

This was from Fayetteville’s Joe Walker, a senior running back slotted for service in the infantry not long after Saturday’s game is done, when asked to describe the atmosphere of an Army-Navy game:

“It’s a game bigger than football, bigger than what’s going on the field. At the end of the day we’re on the same team – defending America, you know – but on that field, we’re not playing go to the NFL. We’re playing for the love of the game and the spirit of the rivalry.

“And you’re always surprised how many people you have supporting you. You have the whole Army supporting you. And the Navy supporting them.”

And listen to Monken, the one-time Georgia Southern head coach and Georgia Tech assistant, when asked how often he gets goosebumps working at a place with a mission such as West Point’s. Not often, he said. His job is still pretty basic – to coach football and try to win games. But sometimes.

“You think about those who have served and the fact that you are part of a team that represents them,” he said.

“When you hear stories of great courage and valor and to know that you put on the uniform that they wear, that sometimes will give you goosebumps. The pride you have to serve and to serve these young men who are going to go out and lead soldiers and do things that are courageous and heroic that the common man isn’t willing to do is pretty inspiring.”

All that being said, it is about time Army wins one of these things.

Nearly a touchdown favorite Saturday, Navy has won the past 14 meetings with Army. Never has the century’s-old rivalry been this lopsided. It has become an uncomfortable competitive imbalance, and there should never, ever be anything uncomfortable about this game.

Army just needs this one a lot more – for itself and for the health of the series. That should earn it plenty of fans from the base of the otherwise uncommitted.

This year’s game in Baltimore presents an opportunity to momentarily turn the tide. Army is starting to reverse course behind Monken, and Navy lost its starting quarterback and slotback a week ago. This is still, however, a daunting uphill charge for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

So, join me, please. In the interest of bringing back some equilibrium to a classic rivalry, I know I’ll emotionally invest in the underdog. That I have a kid in the Army has nothing to do with it whatsoever, I’m sure.

Reader Comments 0

28 comments
Rickster_
Rickster_

From the stirring march in of the Cadets and Midshipmen, to the singing of the Alma Maters at the end, this was one of the most amazing sports events you could ever hope to watch. (And kudos to CBS for putting Verne Lundquist in the booth.)

Knowing that none of these guys will go on to NFL careers (playing only for their teammates and schools) but instead will dedicate the next six years (or more) of their lives to protecting America puts the over-hyped, over-commercialized Super Bowl to shame.

How blessed we are that there are people like them.

NativeAtlantan57
NativeAtlantan57

Why did Donnie Boy show up at the Army-Navy game? As an opportunity to feed his massive and fragile ego. Nothing more. 

I am sure the troops were inspired by his degrading their level of play. Bad-mouthing is the only kind of "leadership" the Orange Clown is capable of providing. He has to knock down everyone else to prop up his own twisted and insecure self-image.

Dad2Three
Dad2Three

@NativeAtlantan57 Have to get political, huh, sore loser.  He displayed a lot of class, which is something you are incapable of doing.  He was cheered raucously, as well, from two branches of service who were so relieved to have a real Commander in Chief, not some muslim-sympathizing prez who neither loves this country nor our military.  Good riddance!

DawgNole
DawgNole

You got your wish today, Hummer.

Unfreakinbelieveable
Unfreakinbelieveable

As the mom of a USN SEAL - Go Navy Beat Army :D 

I have been to several Army/Navy games ... Should be on everyones bucket list!



LogosAO
LogosAO

Truly THE most underrated college football game of the year by most fans.


Rickster_
Rickster_

No offense, Steve... but the Army Black "Nights?"


I love the pre-game march of the Cadets and the Midshipmen. It transcends athletics and represents the best America has to offer.

unknown911
unknown911

Hey Navy:  You're FIRED!  Go ARMY!!!

Derwin0
Derwin0

As a former active duty Marine, I can't root for Army.  But I will say, regardless of the final score, there will be no losers on that field.  Go Navy!

dawg fan
dawg fan

I'm pretty sure these guys know where the library is: 

https://twitter.com/FootballUGA/status/806882425485791233

And that's just Georgia.  Plenty of other great student-athletes playing big time college football at other schools too. 

Everyone else doesn't see all the "cynicism and hypocrisy" that you guys in the media always claim to see. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

@dawg fan


And then there is the dog's arrest roster..........

OH:IO
OH:IO

@dawg fan


I claim nothing about Urban at Florida. 


Hated them, as a matter of fact. 


Nice 2015 article, by the way. 


Remind us, what year(s) did the dogs win THE Fulmer Cup? 2nd place? 3rd? 


Fun game. 

dawg fan
dawg fan

@OH:IO Remind us, when did I say UGA was perfect?  You pointed out UGA arrests and I simply pointed out that OSU has arrests too and a piece of trash head coach.  If you don' want to take it then don't dish it out.  Kirby may never win a Natty but he's got more class in his arse crack than your scum head coach will have in his entire life.  Let's keep playing. 


OH:IO
OH:IO

@dawg fan @OH:IO


Kirby is a dog redneck though and through. You can have him and his results.......Liberty Bowl. dogs won't even crack the top 25 next year too. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

"Though" and through???

STILL waiting, lying hypocrite.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

You hated fla???

Oh, yeah--they owned your worthless, overrated a*s, too.

dawg fan
dawg fan

It's a great game but you don't have to disrespect the rest of college football to pump it up. You guys in the media are so bitter sometimes. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

Army may just have a chance this year.


THE best football game of the year, bar none.

BTC
BTC

Good read!