Today is a special day and there is only one college football game — America’s Game, Army (4-7) vs Navy (6-5).
It is the renewal of a 115-year-old tradition that began in 1890 but recently the tradition has been Naval dominance. The Midshipmen of the Navy lead the series 58-49-7. But most glaring is the 12-year winning streak of the Navy over Army, the previously longest had only been five.
As USA Today reports, “The streak is out there. Everybody on the team, everybody at the school realizes that,” Navy senior captain Parrish Gaines said. “It does kind of seem like something we’ve got to do. Everybody I’ve played with on this team has beat these guys every year.” No Navy team since 2001 has lost to Army. During that time, the Midshipmen have outscored the Cadets 400-132, including 34-7 last year. I just have to tell you folks, living down here in South Florida around all this water, there are lots of Navy grads and former Sailors all over this place — including Marines — and I’m kinda getting tired of hearing them.
“This is a game we want to win, particularly with all the talk about Navy having won so many in a row,” said first-year Army coach Jeff Monken, who helped the Midshipmen get the streak started while serving as an assistant coach at the Naval Academy from 2002-07. “Coach Monken said one thing to us: Right now, we haven’t played that team,” Army senior defensive back Geoffery Bacon said. “The 2014 Army team hasn’t played the 2014 Navy team. So right now, we’re 0-0.”
The Navy will unveil some different uniforms, based on the theme “Don’t Tread On Me” — hope that doesn’t upset the left, who might think it’s a Tea Party game,
The key to the game for Army is simple — stop Navy’s exceptional QB Keenan Reynolds. He runs the vaunted Midshipmen triple-option. USA Today says, “a year ago, Reynolds ran through the Cadets for 136 yards and three touchdowns. His 61 rushing touchdowns are an NCAA record for a quarterback, and he’s only a junior. “We’ve had a lot of good ones over the years, but Keenan is definitely the best since I’ve been here,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “His decision-making is on a different level. People always try to change it up and throw different wrinkles at us, but against that guy you’re wasting your time.”
So that’s the backdrop for today’s game — but here is the real story.
It’s not just a game, it’s the embodiment of that which is best and most exceptional in America. These young men and women will one day assume the responsibility of Guardians of the Republic. These are our future combat leaders who will safeguard our liberties and freedoms — allowing us to enjoy not just this game, but all the opportunities that a free people enjoy. Just ponder all the great men who have taken the field of the Army-Navy game and gaze upon the faces of the Corps of Cadets and the Brigade of Midshipmen as they march on — consider the lineage they represent.
The Army-Navy game is played on its own Saturday not because we watch it as a football game, but because we watch it in complete admiration. Someone will indeed win the game — and doggone I’m hoping it’s Army — but no one leaves that field a loser. On that field these young men learn what it means to fight hard for the fella next to them. It’s in that stadium that those cheering their respective sides will come to learn what it means to support those engaged.
So watch the game but admire those who will serve, sacrifice, and commit to the preservation of our blessed Constitutional Republic. Oh yeah, I forgot, Go Army, Beat Navy!