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November 18, 2022 3 min read

Army-Navy: A Traditional Rivalry

It’s been more than 130 years since Army and Navy first battle on the gridiron. But like the nature of this rivalry, numbers alone don’t fully encompass the history of the series.

One of the most popular college football rivalries is that of the annual Army/Navy game. Since 1890, the Midshipmen (Navy) and the Black Knights (formerly the Cadets of Army) have been battling on the gridiron.

Both former and current military members will set aside their duties to watch this one football game, over all others. What are they fighting for? It's bragging rights!

A Storied Rivalry

The history between these two teams goes way back, and the Navy has the lead with an all-time record of 62–53–7 when facing Army. Although the first meeting between these two occurred on November 29, 1890, the tradition continues to go strong.

Common taunts can be heard between the two branches, such as “Beat Army!” and “Beat Navy!” depending on where you serve, or your allegiance lies.

Army vs. Navy traditions include the infamous “prisoner exchange” before the game starts, the singing of the national anthem by both choirs, and both alma maters being performed after the game.

As a sign of respect, the winning team will stand alongside the losing team while their song is played and face the losing side’s students. The losing team will then go with the winning team and return the favor.

But even in respect, this is football, of course, and the rivalry doesn’t stop. Therefore, it’s said that you want to “sing second” as a bit of a jab, as the winning team’s alma mater is played last.

It should be no surprise that the military breeds competitive football teams. Both are conducive environments for such activities.

Nobody’s going to back down, and both sides have a lot to prove. Especially because the all-time leading winner of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy isn’t the Army or Navy at all, but rather the Air Force.

Whether you tailgate in person, grab tickets, or just plan on watching from your preferred device, don’t miss the Army-Navy game. It’s a classic matchup that delivers year after year.

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