On Saturday the United States Military Academy (USMA) West Point and the United States Naval Academy (USNA) Annapolis will face off for their 120th Army-Navy rivalry football game.
The match up record stands at 60 wins by the Navy, to the Army’s 52, while another seven games have ended in a tie. The Navy Midshipmen look to break the three-year winning streak of the Army Black Knights on Saturday as they play at Lincoln Financial Field stadium in Philadelphia.
In a video ahead of the game, members of the Army’s service academy at West Point vowed to keep their winning streak going and keep “fist fighting for sixty minutes, just like it is every year.”
— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) December 12, 2019
Those West Point cadets appeared to burn a Navy ship in effigy, letting their Navy rivals know they don’t intend to hold back. The cadets could be seen in various stages of uniform, dancing around the funeral pyre they had prepared for the Navy.
Another video released Monday shows the Black Knights in practice and pays a nod to the historical significance of the Army-Navy’s rivalry.
— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) December 9, 2019
Last week, Army football released a video showing highlights from previous Army-Navy matchups.
— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) December 7, 2019
The Naval Academy released their own video ahead of the rivalry game, calling it “the closest thing to war” in a football game, and reiterating the game’s intensity as a “sixty minute fist fight.”
— Navy Football (@NavyFB) December 12, 2019
“We know what we represent,” the Navy team narrator said. “You look yourself in the mirror, you put the eye black on and you look at yourself in the mirror and it’s a sign that you’re ready to ride.”
Another video released last week debuted the Navy’s uniforms, which pay homage to 1960s Heisman trophy winners Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach.
Forged by history, bound by 𝐁𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐝.
— Navy Football (@NavyFB) December 5, 2019
Ahead of Saturday’s game, the Navy Midshipmen are 9-2 in their season and the Army Black Knights are 5-7. Wherever the teams stand with the rest of their season record, the rivalry game is always at the back of their minds; the moment they anticipate all season.
The game will be played Lincoln Financial Field — the home of the Philadelphia Eagles NFL team. An estimated 70,000 fans are expected to show up in support for their teams. President Donald Trump will also be in attendance.
The first football game between the rival service academies was held in 1890 on the Army’s home turf in West Point, N.Y.
The intense rivalry has also come with much pageantry.
Each year, juniors from the opposing schools attend a semester at the rival academy, and are returned back to their home sides in a prisoner exchange tradition. The traditional exchange serves as both a part of the game’s ceremony and a show of mutual respect among the rival military service academies which, at the end of the day, both serve for the U.S. military cause.
The teams also field new uniforms for the rivalry game, inspired by units and aspects of their respective branch and team history.