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The Army-Navy Football Game: Who is Winning?

Dec 12, 2022 1:56:39 PM

Wow, what a game. While not the outcome we hoped for, we’d still like to extend a hearty congratulations to the winningest team in the Army-Navy 132 year-old football rivalry. The U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen left it all out on Lincoln Financial Field in their first overtime game in their 123 rivalry games. Even though they came up empty-handed on Saturday with an Army-Navy football game score of 20-17, they still boast a cumulative total against the West Point Black Knights of 62 wins to their 54 wins, with seven ties between them, an admirable record to be sure. Almost 70,000 fans watched the game from the stands, and they were joined by countless additional television viewers and others listening and streaming. The game joins a legendary list of other great “America’s Game” battles played over the course of history.

Related: The History of the N*: An Epic Rivalry That Rolls On.

Army-Navy Games that Made History Happen
If you made it to the Army-Navy game on November 27th in 1926, you would have witnessed an extraordinary battle between the two avowed rivals. They fought so hard that they played until they couldn’t play anymore—since the field had turned pitch black. Both teams came from exceptionally strong seasons that year—Navy Midshipmen Football had an undefeated streak and Army had only let one go. Records show more than 110,000 fans coming to watch these two forces clash mightily at Soldier Field in Chicago. The game honored American servicemen who perished in World War I. The two teams played to a 21-21 tie, and then, when the sun set, the battle ended; there were no lights on the field. 

The Upset to End All
During their longest winning streaks, Navy was hot for fourteen games, taking all of the contests from 2002 through 2015. So in 2016, the Black Knights had something big to prove, especially with a 6-5 season record. That year the Knights won the Army-Navy football game 21-17, retiring the streak and felling the number 20 ranked mMidshipmen, who had built a 9-3 record prior to the upset. A large part of the mMidshipmen’s success was owed to Navy quarterback Will Worth. He clocked 1,397 yards and eight touchdowns passes, with an additional 1,198 yards and 25 scores rushing. But he broke his right foot just a week before the American Athletic Conference Championship game. He was not there for the rivalry one week later either, and Navy only gained 201 yards without him. Army exploited their momentum and won four of the next five rivalries, until 2021, when Navy again took control.

A Little Heisman Help

A Heisman trophy winner was born out of the game in 1960, when Joe Bellino earned “top performer” for that contest. He went on to win the 1960 Heisman Trophy, due in large part to the 192 yards gained in helping the mMidshipmen beat the Black Knights 17-12. It was also due to his performance running for 85 yards, catching for 16 yards, returning kickoffs for 46 yards, and intercepting a pass to bring it up to 45 return yards. Navy dominated the game 17-0, and when the Knights showed signs of getting close, Bellino’s historic end zone interception essentially sealed the win for the mMidshipmen. 

Related: The Army-Navy Game: A Battle for The Ball—and Bragging Rights.

Every Army-Navy game makes history. Following tradition, the Naval Academy has created a line of cutting edge Navy football gear just for this historic game. The theme for this year is “Rivalry,” and it encapsulates the spirit of these two comrades in arms—enemies on the gridiron but one team on the battlefield. These limited edition items sell out quickly, and you can find them here.  Every purchase you make from Navyonline.com benefits the midshipmen 100 percent. With the holidays coming up so soon, it’s a great time to get some spirit wear to cheer the midshipmen on to victory. Go Navy! Beat Army! Even after the big game, we’re always playing them somewhere. Time to add another win to the column.

Related: USNA Holiday Gift Guide

Gear Up to Support the Midshipmen


Bill the Goat
Written by Bill the Goat

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