ARMY-NAVY GAME: ON THE MOVE

The Army-Navy Game has been on national broadcast television every year for more than hallf a century. That status won’t change for at least another decade, as it was announced today that CBS has extended its contract to televise the game through 2018. That’s not the only newsworthy bit from the announcement, though; as part of the deal, the game will move from the first weekend in December to the second, beginning next year.

I have mixed feelings about the move. This pushes Army-Navy right up against final exams, which sucks eggs through cocktail straws. It also makes bowl games a little complicated. Both the Poinsettia and Eaglebank Bowls are among the first, if not THE first, games of the bowl season. With Navy looking to be a regular in these games, that would mean they could have as little as seven or eight days to play Army, practice, and fly out to San Diego. It will make preparation difficult, especially when the other team wil likely have the full slate of available practices to prepare.

But the reality is that this move is probably necessary. The Army-Navy game and its television contract are the #1 source of revenue for both the West Point and Naval Academy athletic departments. With the advent of conference championship games being played on the same weekend, Army-Navy’s ratings have declined, making it less valuable to broadcasters. The best way to retain the value of the contract and restore the ratings to their former high levels– other than making both teams national championship contenders– would be to make Army-Navy the only game in town again. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make business sense for CBS or other suitors for the game’s broadcast rights to spend the kind of money that USNA and West Point need.

So the move makes sense, but there are still issues to address. Exams and bowl games, of course, but there’s also the issue of what to do with the extra weekend in the schedule. It’s hard to imagine that the team would go three weeks between Army and the previous game on the schedule. Will other games be scheduled for the first weekend of December, leaving only one week to prepare for Army instead of the usual two? Or will Navy start playing games on Thanksgiving weekend now? And does the new contract include Army-Navy basketball like the old one? Inquiring minds want to know.

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28 Responses

  1. I bet we slide the Yard schedule right by a week…that includes exams, Reform, Commissioning Week, Summer Training dates, etc. Amazing how one game can affect the entire year and an entire institution.

  2. Can we slide Christmas? Someone submit a chit to the Pope.

  3. The Pope answers to NAAA. Ricketts is the new Vatican.

  4. Now wonder we draw so well at bowl games. They aren’t really bowl games; they’re pilgrimages!

  5. When ESPN loses the monopoly on early Bowl game broacast rights, we may see some shifting to the right of games. Wouldn’t surprise me to see CBSCS and VERSUS trying for a few contracts.

  6. I always found the Xgiving weekend intriguing but it would not be fair to the Brigade/Academy with losing anymore leave schedule.
    The game does need to stand by itself and gets lost on Championship w/e and CBS basically gives it lousy announcers and its never got that feel of a “big game” from them.
    That Rose Bowl game was a disaster if I recall.

  7. The Rose Bowl game wasn’t a disaster for those of us that were in the Brigade at the time. It was awesome.

  8. I meant a “logistics” disaster with the cost of the air flights etc… I would agree for you lucky ones there-

  9. So the Army-Navy game is moving dates? Great! Maybe this will drive USNA to un-screw their final exam schedules. How many grads out there had to wait 5 or 6 days between their second-to-last exam and the final one? I know I did a couple of times. For a place that runs like clockwork, there is no excuse for the haphazard way in which the end of the academic calendar is run. I even though dead week was too long. When I went to get my MBA, we had a long weekend for our dead week. 4 days to study for 5 classes and then finals were spread out over the next 5 days.

    Was there any worse feeling as a mid to find out you were going to spend 5 days sitting in Mother B studying for one exam while your friends all left for Christmas leave?

    I’d also like to see Navy schedule an away game over Thanksgiving weekend in an area where we have a lot of alumni. TONS of schools play Thanksgiving weekend and we know our players aren’t going home anyway. Schedule a game that will be able to draw plenty of Navy fans who are in the area and on vacation. Then there is still just a 2 week down period for the A/N game just like in the past. Hell, treat it like a mini-bowl game if that helps.

  10. As I recall, the logistics support that Army and Navy administrations put together for the 1984 Army-Navy game played in the Rose Bowl was a great accomplishment. Not only was the entire Corps and Brigade flown in a fleet of 747′s to Los Angeles, but all cadets/mids had lodging arranged for them with family or surrogate families who signed up to host (some mids even stayed at the Playboy mansion). It was a hoot.

    The best part of it was that all the costs of the above logistics were paid for through television and marketing promotion rights. I’d like to see the game played in different locales as well, like GoalieLax suggests, however I’m guessing the current contract with Lincoln Financial Field won’t allow that for some years.

  11. BEAT ARMY!! ….(anymore questions ??)

  12. Actually, as I recall, the Army-Navy game in the Rose Bowl was a cost disaster as the groups in SoCal that were going to pay for the Brigade/Corps flights failed to come through with the cash. The two athletic associations had to pick up the tab using funds they hadn’t planned on spending in that fashion for the game to be on the West Coast. Consequently whenever the talk of having the A-N game somewhere outside of bus range the sponsoring group(s) have to escrow the Brigade/Corps transportation cash with their proposal – a few cities, notably Dallas, withdrew from competition for the game the last go-round due to this requirement.

  13. GoalieLax,

    You should have done it like I did. have all your finals consecutively in the first three days of finals week. LOL, I once had 5 finals in two days — Tues Morn, Tues Aft, Tues Even, Weds morn, Weds aft.

  14. I don’t like having the extra week off. I think we are sked to play Hawaii the week before T-giving in 09. Can we move that to T-giving.

    As for Philly, I believe we are starting the bidding for Army-Navy aginin in 09 or 10. Maybe more cities will be interested now that the game will stand alone (even if they have to pay to fly the brigade/corps to the game).

  15. I cannot imagine Army Navy the week of preparation for or final exams. This is insane! It’s all about $ and a blatant disregard for the players and the brigades. I can see a lot more academic issues coming out of this unless a solution is put in place. Something has to give and it will not be the game.

  16. The 1983 A/N Rose Bowl game was the day I became a Navy fan and a huge Nap McCallum fan.
    I decided to root for Navy to bust the stones of my cousin who was a WP grad. I’m still here 25 years later. Still root and follow both Army & Navy but will always be for Navy in the big game.
    Moving the game to second week in December may cause either team problems if they are one win shy of being bowl eligible. As D Hill (an excellent one time ILB) says Navy could end up losing players who might flunk exams because the lack of proper preparation time. I don’t have a problem with sharing the first Saturday in Dec. I think its a poorly thought out TV move.

  17. Damn, I just felt my tail getting a bit colder in the stands. Hopefully this will work out to be the best for everyone.

  18. I could not find the year Army Navy was first televised but I probably saw it if it was 1950 or later- I remember them from the fifties.

    The entire clan of family went to grandmothers each year to watch the Army Navy game cheering their respective service from WWII, Army, Navy and Marine.

    That was a great get together each year, and happy time for the family razzing each other.

    BTW-

    Go Army….Beat Navy.

    (For Son- Army )

  19. What happens when Navy (or Army) is 5-6 and a bowl bid in San Diego hangs in the balance for an additional week?

    Also, scheduling on “Championship Saturday” has gotten out of control…I mean seriously, pre-scheduled match-ups other than Pitt-West Virginia or UCLA-USC (already stretches in and of themselves for that date) every single year!? We’re seeing the likes of Cal-Washington, UConn-Louisville, Fresno State-Louisiana Tech year after year…and then there’s the ACC…it should be Army-Navy, the championship games, token BCS team playing at Hawaii, and any legitimately re-scheduled games…

    I think it all started when the Oregon-Oregon State “Civil War” was pushed back to December prior to the start of the 2001 season (i.e. before 9/11), and it’s been all downhill since then…

  20. I believe in the 1950′s the game was played 2 days after Thanksgiving. What if they played it on Thanksgiving Day??? It could be the game everyone would want to see while eating turkey??

  21. Everyone’s watching the NFL that day.

  22. Army-Navy Rose Bowl experience…fun beyond words.

    If the school schedule remains the same, the Army-Navy shift means one less week of carry-on for the plebes (which also coincided with 16 weeker and finals studying), and moves Army week (perhaps the least productive and most fun week) into that end of semester wrap up and study time. But they can’t fry ‘em all and they can’t fail ‘em all, right?

  23. The exam issue is a tough one. Football players (I wasn’t one of them) always seemed to have a tough time first semester — they’re in season, traveling, watching film, etc. (You can’t really cram for an afternoon exam if you spend most of lunch watching film.)
    A-N is important for the program and for the athletic budget overall. But is this necessary? Is it fair to the guys who really need some time to catch up in December?

  24. Well, shifting it all a week to the right has already begun. This year Plebe summer was a week later. I wonder …

    It would seem this flies somewhat in the face of the Supe’s clarion call that academics and preparation for “leadership in the fleet” trumps all else. Seems his price might have been determined? No, that’s not fair. This goes way beyond his momentary tenure, I suspect.

    Still, seems USNA was caught between a rock and hard place. Absent TV revenues, sports programs and Brigade athletic resources wither. In the end though, what this seems to say among other things…”the public will watch, but only if there is nothing else on the tube.” Sadly, this could be a momentary financial finger in the dam as more and more folks understand (and care?) less and less about our wonderful people serving in uniform.

    That is, until the next 9/11 …

  25. Tim-

    Army Navy game was on Thanksgiving, at least some of the fifties, because I saw them.

  26. Hey day on which the game is being played isn’t the only thing that could be changing…the 2010 to 2014 sites are up for bids…and the candidates are…Philadelphia (of course), Baltimore (too one sided), Landover (could be a good mix but still one sided), East Rutherford (too one sided), Foxborough (I don’t think so), Pittsburgh (same as Foxborough), and Indianapolis (long shot but has a roof).

    So, which city or cities get the game and in what years…

    This is what I think:
    East Rutherford (2010)
    Baltimore (2011)
    Indianapolis (2012)
    Philadelphia (2013, 2014)

  27. My completely uninformed guess is 4 for Philadelphia, with one in NY in 2010 or 2011.

  28. Well they talk about moving it around so others can enjoy the game…Giants/Jets new stadium opens in 2010, and Indy opened theirs this year plus it’s only a days ride from most of the population in the US (just sayin)…I know Philadelphia is the home of the game so they’ll get a piece of the pie but it also needs to share

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