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Army vs Navy Football Game
On Brave Old Army Team – Anchors Away
The annual Army–Navy football game will be played this Saturday, December 12, 2015, at 2:00 PM CT (watch it on CBS). The Army–Navy game is one of the most famous traditional college football rivalry games in America, played between the teams of the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York and the United States Naval Academy (USNA) at Annapolis, Maryland.
The Army “Black Knights” and the Navy “Midshipmen” first met on the football field in 1890, and since then the game has usually been played each year in Philadelphia, roughly equidistant between the two academies. The Army–Navy game marks the end of the college football regular season.
The 1893 Army–Navy game saw a Navy midshipman wear the very first football helmet. The player had been advised by a Navy doctor that another kick to his head would result in “instant insanity” or even death, so he commissioned an Annapolis shoemaker to make him a helmet out of leather.
The 1926 Army–Navy Game was held in Chicago for the National Dedication of Soldier Field as a monument to American servicemen who had fought in World War I. Navy came to the game undefeated, while Army had lost only to Notre Dame. The game, which would decide the National Championship, was played before a crowd of over 100,000. Army and Navy fought to a 21–21 tie, but since Navy was undefeated, the middies were awarded the national championship.
The Army–Navy games of 1944 and 1945 were really special. Both years, Army and Navy were ranked #1 and #2, respectively. In 1944, Army beat Navy 23-7. The 1945 showdown, called the “game of the century,” ended with Army beating a 7–0–1 Navy team 32–13. Navy’s lone tie was against Notre Dame.
After every Army touchdown, the Army band plays “On Brave Old Army Team” and after every Navy touchdown, the Navy band plays “Anchors Away.” Two Army mules are mascots of the United States Military Academy. Bill the Goat is the mascot of the United States Naval Academy.
A long-standing tradition at the Army–Navy game is the formal “exchange of prisoners” as part of the pre-game ceremonies. The “prisoners” are cadets and midshipmen currently spending the semester studying at the sister academy. After the exchange, the cadets and midshipmen run to their friendly sidelines to enjoy a brief reunion and watch the game with their friends and comrades.
After every game, the alma maters of both teams are sung. The winning team stands alongside the losing team and faces the losing academy students; the losing team then accompanies the winning team, facing their students. The Army cadets and Navy midshipmen do this to strongly affirm their mutual respect for each other.