NAVY 17, ARMY 3, PART 1

Navy’s 17-3 win over Army on Saturday was not the closest final score during the Mids’ current winning streak over their rivals. That actually came in the 2006 game, in which Navy prevailed, 26-14. Statistically, that game looked a lot like the 2009 edition of the rivalry. Navy had 13 first downs on Saturday, while Army had 10. In 2006 it was even, with each team putting up 15 apiece. The Mids outgained Army by 60 yards this year, while in 2006 they only had a 22-yard advantage. Army went into the locker room at halftime with a 3-0 lead on Saturday, and trailed Navy by only a touchdown going into the 4th quarter. In 2006, the teams were tied at 7 at the half, while Army again trailed Navy by a lone touchdown going into the 4th quarter. Navy’s offense scored only 17 points in both games; in 2006, the Mids’ defense provided a cushion by scoring 9 points in the 4th quarter thanks to a Keenan Little interception return and a late safety on a Tyler Tidwell sack. Even the current makeup of the two teams is similar to the way they were in 2006. Navy featured a young offense in that year’s game, starting only four seniors. Navy’s offense in 2009? Four seniors. In both games, Army’s offense was led by highly-touted freshman quarterbacks; the Arkansas-recruited Carson Williams in 2006, and option-messiah Trent Steelman in 2009. The similarities are striking, and it could be argued that 2006 was the closer contest in more ways than just the final score.

It was so close, in fact, that Army’s head coach at the time, Bobby Ross, told the CBS sideline reporter after the game that his program was “closing the gap” with Navy. It was a point he continued to make in the postgame press conference:

“We would like to get eventually to a level playing field with Navy,” Ross said. “That would be one of my biggest things in our program, to get to that point. This year, I didn’t feel they were that much better.

“My personal feeling is that I think our program is closer. We were playing a lot of freshmen. We have a good (talent) base in our program right now, a good recruiting base, and we’re very solid defensively. There’s more development to be done offensively.”

Many people agreed with Ross’ assessment. They were wrong. In the three years since Ross opined that Navy wasn’t “that much better” and that the Army program was “getting closer,” Army hasn’t even managed a touchdown against the Midshipmen, going 0-3 while being outscored 89-6. Army’s record is 11-25 over that span. Navy’s is 25-14, with two bowl appearances and a third on the way. Since that 2006 game, Army has gone 0-3 against Navy, while Navy has gone 2-1 against Notre Dame. Think about that for a second. The two programs are on completely different planes. It was this realization that played a large part in Stan Brock’s firing last year:

“Yes, (the Navy game) did impact my decision,” Anderson said. “I’ll tell you what, I thought we made progress, closing the gap between us (and Navy). That game was an eye-opener.”

It’s puzzling, then, why so many people seem primed and ready to make the same wrong assumptions in 2009 that they did in 2006.

If this game proved anything, it showed Navy (9-4) isn’t going to push Army around anymore

Did it? A lot of Army (and Navy) fans seem to think so, even though the nearly identical 2006 game clearly didn’t signal the end of Navy’s supremacy. I’m not sure why there’s a rush to believe that things are so different now. It takes a lot more than one game to measure progress. Is VMI “closing the gap” on Army? That game was even closer than Army-Navy. The Army-Air Force game was a lot closer last year than it was this year. Does that mean that Army is closing in on Navy, but getting farther away from Air Force? Is Navy “just one or two players away” from overtaking Ohio State? Should I be making reservations for the Orange Bowl next year? Of course not, but those are the kind of conclusions that people are reaching after watching Saturday’s relatively close contest. Yes, Army has a new coach, and they did win 5 games this year. But how much have they really changed? Army has a capable defense coupled with an offense that makes Baby Jesus cry… Just like they have for the last 5 years. If Stan Brock was still the coach, would you really have been all that surprised to see Army beat Eastern Michigan, Ball State, Vanderbilt, VMI, and North Texas? Maybe Vanderbilt, although even the Commodores were only 2-10 this season. In fact, the three teams that Brock beat in 2008 combined for more wins (13) than the five teams Rich Ellerson’s team defeated this year (8). No, I’m not mocking Army’s strength of schedule; frankly, they’re playing a lot of the teams that used to schedule Navy, but don’t answer the phone anymore when their caller ID says “Annapolis, MD.” But it is important look beyond one game against Navy– which was still a 14-point loss, by the way– to measure the state of the Army football program.  

Don’t get me wrong; Army has gone through 4 different coaches over the course of their 8-game losing streak to Navy, and Rich Ellerson is probably the best suited of the bunch for bringing the Black Knights back to the realm of respectability. Unlike Stan Brock, Ellerson isn’t being forced to run an offense he doesn’t really know and doesn’t believe in. Bobby Ross was caught off-guard by how much time and energy it would take to rebuild Army football, while Ellerson appears dedicated to the long haul. And unlike Todd Berry, Army fans don’t pray for Ellerson to be burned in the fire of eternal damnation, which is probably worth something. Few would deny that Ellerson has the potential to make Army better; but people are so anxious for that to happen that they see things that aren’t there.

There was “closing the gap” talk even before the game. Somewhat surprisingly, it came from Ellerson himself:

“We expect to win. We know it’s going to be hard. We know it’s going to be an uphill fight. No disrespect to Navy and what they’ve accomplished, obviously they are the more accomplished football team, but we’re gaining on them,” Ellerson said.

Comments like these make me wonder if Ellerson really has as much respect for Coach Niumatalolo as the pregame stories would have you believe. Despite paying lip service to Navy’s accomplishments, he doesn’t appear to have much of a grasp for what Niumatalolo, Paul Johnson, and their staffs have built at the Naval Academy. The Midshipmen have won an unprecedented 15-straight games against their two service academy rivals. The record is made even more impressive when you consider that, unlike the Air Force streak from 1997-2002, Navy’s run has come at a time when there is another service academy that consistently finishes with a winning record. Since 2003, Navy has won almost as many games against BCS opponents (15) as Army has won games, period (20). The last seven years at Navy have included 3 seasons with 9+ wins, 3 wins over teams ranked in the top 25, and one top 25 ranking of their own. The Mids have been a model of consistent success. Meanwhile, Ellerson has been at Army for less than a year. His team scored less (15 ppg) than than the oft-criticized non-option teams of Berry, Ross, and Brock (19.3 ppg). He doesn’t even have a full recruiting class to his name yet. Without that, what “gaining” can really be done? It was a strange comment to make only 3 weeks after he needed to come from behind in the 4th quarter to beat VMI.

Navy isn’t good enough to take games against Army for granted, but they were two-touchdown favorites in the game for a reason. If you want to gauge the relative standing of the two programs, you need to do more than look at one game in a vacuum.

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81 Responses

  1. Thank you for bringing up this point. We constantly hear the siren song of how Army is closing the gap. Who would swap Steelman for either Dobbs or Proctor? Who does Army have that is the equal of Curry or Greene? Teich or Murray? All these players are coming back and Navy also has solid depth behind them that could also take the talent level up a notch. Sure we lose some players on D but so do they. Two holding penalties made this game look closer than it was. Ellerson did a nice job at Cal Poly but now he has to recruit against the big boys. Time will only tell if the gap is really closing.

  2. Ellerson doesn’t show enough respect for Niumatalolo? What about his quote about how “that sucker better bring his lunch pail, because we’re gunning for him” or whatever foolishness he said?

    Ok wait, bad example.

  3. Great post. I cannot figure out all the “Army has turned the corner” talk either. It can only be based on the fact that Ellerson is the coach, but good coaches have failed at Army before. Time will tell.

  4. I don’t think people understand just how young Navy’s offense is this year.

  5. They are… and how awesome is that for 2010!

  6. You know what? Army sucks, and I’m damn glad for it!!!! Air Force sucks too!!! Go Navy!!!

  7. OK, it’s late Thurs night (cultural Friday night) out here in Abu Dhabi and I’ve had a ‘couple’ of martinis….

  8. Ellerson has to get players or he won’t make it. It is IMO why Ross and Brock failed. I am convinced the main delta between the two programs is talent, with an obvious big helping of a competent, stable coaching staff at Navy.

  9. All of this talk about closing the gap is, in the words of Charles Barkley, “ridiculous knucklehead.” I give Army credit for being “less bad” but that’s about it. Ellerson has made their defense dynamic and eliminated the mistakes, but that’s about it. Even in Paul Johnson’s first year, which was miserable, Navy put up about a gazillion points against Army. I will pay attention to Army “closing the gap” when they carry a football past the goal line.

  10. Well said. When Army beats us several yrs in a row, wins a few cic’s and goes to a few bowls then maybe we can discuss the gap getting closed.

  11. I don’t think it would take several wins in a row. But it would take more than just a one-game snapshot.

  12. When your Nose Gaurd gets trucked by your opponent’s quarterback, you are not closing the gap.

  13. Good points, but at the very least from a recruiting perspective (to say nothing of keeping his troops in the game), he had to say it.

    That said, the game was pretty well in hand in the third quarter as it became evident that Army could not finish.

    As for next year, I am excited. Cannot wait to see what Gee Gee, John Howell, Snelson and others bring to the equation.

  14. Nice writeup, Mike.

  15. Adam…do you have a time frame for said trucking? i finally got the torrent off of TYT and would love to watch it

    also, after the foot of snow splits from this coming weekend, we should hook up for some pre xmas bowl game watching.

  16. Well, 17-3 isn’t 58-12, but as I saw it, Navy still dominated Army. Army’s offense was horrible: hardly able to gain first downs. Because of the low score, Army’s defense appears to be better, but if you take away all the mistakes that Navy made in the first half(ie the holding calls – bad blocking), the score might look more like 31-3, which I guess would have satisfied everyone. But its hard to argue with the results of the second half, especially the third quarter, where if I recall correctly, Army had about 5 plays on offense. If that isn’t domination, I don’t know what is.

  17. Actually, without the turnovers and holding penalties, the final score would have been 31-0.

  18. Both teams made turnovers that cost points, we had uncharacteristic penalties that cost us over 100 yards in total offense.

    What should have happened, did. Navy 17 Army 3. Maybe next year Army. But not this one. As is typical, the better team won.

  19. Yeah, I don’t want to start with “effective score” stuff.

    And Unrulydog, I deleted your comment because you’re not going to use the blog to push your damn bumper stickers. I have no idea how you haven’t been given a cease and desist letter yet.

  20. “As for next year, I am excited. Cannot wait to see what Gee Gee, John Howell, Snelson and others bring to the equation.”

    As far as our young talent goes, I’m excited to see Matt Couch and Josh Cabral in the next few years. They were pretty highly touted O-Line commits last year.

  21. I applaud unrulydog for having some Navy spirit. If only we could get the rest of the stands with some motivation.
    However I do agree this blog post is not the way to promote… perhaps a gomids thread?
    Unrulydog, maybe you should give mike a free bumper sticker. :-)

  22. Or maybe he should stop selling unlicensed products with Navy logos and violating NCAA rules by using Ricky Dobbs’ name. That whole site is embarrassing. “Tyrone” Pryor? Really?

  23. a++ write up

  24. Just to echo what navyrugger said, … it is no surprise that Navy’s Defense pretty much dominated the suspect Army Offense, and the better team won the game by the margin that the experts predicted.
    That being said, … Army did miss two FG’s, and turned over the ball on downs inside the Navy 5 late in the game (that’s at least 9 additional points), so the posts proclaiming a 31-0/31-3 final score without the Navy mistakes reveal an ignorance of football accumen, … and would normally evoke “scorn” from tbd. He must be in the “holiday spirit” of good will??? (o; (o;

    Beat Mizzou!!!

  25. that’s what the “effective score” comment was about.

  26. Mike’s pointing out the 2006 game does a great job of putting this whole thing in its larger context, at least for me.

    And W’s are W’s and L’s are L’s. And Navy in the past decade plus owns a bunch of W’s over Army.

  27. I came away from the game disappointed about the uniforms, the first half performance, and Coach N’s tears. I wanted normal uniforms, a 30 point win, and a coach who simply says “that’s navy football” and saves the rest for the Forrestall lectures.

    Thanks for putting things in perspective. I suppose managing expectations and keeping things in perspective is important in such a tough game.

  28. Let’s see. The AD at West Ppoint tries to hire two different Asst. Coaches from Navy. He finally hires Coach Ellerson. Ellerson calls Paul Johnson to pick his brain about Navy fotball. Johnson says “No can do”. Yeah Right. Army is catching up (LOL)

  29. I mean Navy Football. Sorry. Spell check not working!

  30. I think the real gap is between Chet Gladchuk and the Army AD. Of course, Chet brought back PJ as HC. He put the financial house in order which made all of our coaching positions financially attractive. He identified KN as the only one who could keep our success going. My guess is that he has similar emergency plans should we lose any of our coaches. His system enabled KN to hire assistant coaches with a diversity of background in running option football.

    With that said, I have lots of respect for Rich Ellerson. I hope he wins lots of games . . . except when they play us. We are, of course, going to lose some. I never take any of the games for granted.

  31. chet is a great AD, but he doesn’t have to get credit for everything.

  32. great write up – and great perspective on the state of affairs. Can’t wait for part 2!

  33. Mike, here is a statistical nugget for you. This has been the best decade versus Army in the history of Navy football. Navy is 9-1 in the 2000s. The next best decade was the 1970s with a 7-3 record. And that is just off of a “regular” 0 to 9 decade. The best ten year span (aside from the current) was 1973 – 1982 with a 8-1-1 record. I could not really ask for much else.

  34. Only thing I’d disagree with is Ellerson’s lack of respect for Navy’s program. I think you’re confusing the things he says to reporters with how he really feels. He’s a confident guy and knows the power of demonstrating confidence. It’s that age old game of keeping your team fired up without providing bulletin board material for the other guys. Leads to vanilla comments all the way around. Get him behind closed doors and ask him what he thinks about Navy, and I think you’d get a different response.

    Great site here. We (Army) have nothing like it. Great insights from the host, and great comments from the guests. Yet another gap we need to close!!

  35. “As far as our young talent goes, I’m excited to see Matt Couch and Josh Cabral in the next few years. They were pretty highly touted O-Line commits last year.”

    I almost forgot about those guys! With that kind of talent and many of the offensive skill guys returning, the offense should be fun to watch next year!

  36. “I came away from the game disappointed about…Coach N’s tears”

    What’s wrong with having a coach who really “gets it” and understands how much the game means to his team, as well as all his former players? Being emotionally invested is far from a bad thing, and I’m sure there were plenty of post-game tears on both sides.

  37. Eric, I totally agree with you. Coach Niumatalolo has shown that he actually cares about the team and the outcome. He acts like it is more than just a job.

  38. Mike, another excellent job. After part 2 (in your spare time between 0200 and 0400 Sat & Sun ) How about a scouting report on Mizzou’s defense? Inquiring minds would like to know your thoughts.

  39. Mike,

    Great analysis and taking the time to delve well below the surface.. Terrific point about similarities between ’06 & 09 games.

    Regarding the talent issue. I read the Barra biography of Bear Bryant a few years ago. Barra quoted Bear as saying that college football is about 80% talent and maybe 20% coaching. Unless Army gets better talent, I don’t care how good a coach Ellerson is, this rivalry will remain lopsided, very lopsided.

  40. Great post, Mike. Looking forward to your breakdown of the game. any reason IJ did not call more (if any) toss sweeps – assuming it was the defensive alignment, but it seemed like our B-backs had the speed to get to the edge.

    I appreciate KN’s emotion – it is genuine and reflects both the love he has for his men and his respect for their collective achievement. I understand he is a tough, intense coach in preparing the team – no favorites, but this does not get much play b/c he always credits his players for the good and he takes responsibility / ownership of the less than good.

  41. I’d rather have a coach who shows tears after a win than one who cries after a loss.

  42. seems the key to our success this year (and Army game) has been the D that allows us to have bad halves/quarters/etc. on O and still win 9 games. Not long ago it was a shootout every game with last team with ball wins.
    Having said that, all the talk about great young O for 2010 ignores dilema of loosing 4 outstanding linebackers. That is scary.

  43. Mike:
    Let me assure you, there was no illict or for profit intent with those bumper stickers. They were simply meant as recognition and support for an exceptional athlete in a successful program, and an instrument to raise the spirit level. I have received so much flak over them, I have taken down all references from my web site. That will not reduce my enthusiasum or support for Ricky or Navy football.

  44. Nuff said.

  45. After settling in for an afternoon of watching two teams run the option at each other, I was surprised at how ugly the game was. I found it hard to believe it was the same Navy team that hung rushing yards on ND. Having seen Ga. Tech post a couple of like performances I am starting to think that maybe it is just the nature of the spread option. Sometimes it gets ugly and can’t be un-uglied. (For the middle two quarters or so of the first Clemson game this season, Tech posted seven three-and-outs and had only 14 all year. I thought Johnson would open an artery on the 50.) Certainly the look of the Navy coach on the sideline was that of a kid coming down for Christmas to discover not just a lump of coal, but a dump truck of it.

  46. “And unlike Todd Berry, Army fans don’t pray for Elerson to be burned in the fire of eternal damnation”

    lol.,…great article

  47. charles, every team has ugly games.

  48. Mike: yeah, I know. While I am nothing more than a football fan and don’t pretend to talk in terms of “smoke” routes and “twirl” motion, it’s just that I have never seen another offense that is such a thing of beauty when it works, and so ugly when it doesn’t. Most often you get both in the same game, but I can live with the ugly knowing that momentarily some defender is going to get used big time. (My career Navy son at New London said he doesn’t care how ugly it is as long as it beats Army. “I think the final score is very pretty.”)

  49. I agree with most of this blog. I’ve posted by share of comments on Army boards and have been harranged by Army fans about mentioning the Talent deficit between the two teams.
    The only thing I disagree with is that this is the more of the same. (2006 BR talkin about closing the gap) Ellerson is a terrific coach and has a good staff. This Army team returns almost everyone. The only real loss is Victor Ugenti on DL. The defense should be very good. They had a better plebe class than in recent years (mostly from SB stockpiling at USMAPS in 08) so Ellerson has more to work with and develop.

    I agree the future lies in how well they can recruit.
    Navy hasn’t skipped a beat in recruiting since PJ left.
    Army really needs to upgrade speed on offense and in secondary. As you mentioned this is RE first true recruiting class. This future will depend on success in recruiting like all coaches. I do feel Army has turned the corner simply because of this staff and the fact it’s no longer amateur hours on the opposing sideline line.

  50. Mike – thanks – another excellent post.
    I have not objection to Ellerson’s “coach speak”. High on his list of changes that need to be made is the attitude of everyone at West Point. PJ faced the same problem and I believe you have pointed out in the past that both the 2002 victory over Army and the 2003 victory over Air Force had an impact in the program far beyond the individual “W”. Having said that, two old quotes come to mind that contridict each other.
    “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar
    “The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong but that’s the way to bet.” – Damon Runyon
    I’ll take Navy over both AF and Army in 2010.

  51. tman you are right to be concerned about losing all 4 starters at the linebacker positions. But don’t fret too much. There are talented players chomping at the bit to get on the field. You may be suprised at the drop off in talent because there wont be much at all. The backups may need a little time to adjust to game speeds because they had no chance to this year. ( It seems like the defensive coaches aren’t concerned with such things as getting the back ups experience. or the offensive coaches, for that matter.) Anyways, after a settling in period, the linebacker positions will be fine, if not better.

  52. rkm44 –

    I’m quite certain the coaches know what they are doing in regards to playing time. Sounds like you may be a slightly bitter relative or friend of one of those back-ups who didn’t get much time…

  53. blueandgoldenisles . Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. Remember when Dobbs was unable to go. Procter filled in nicely with a win over Wake and a fine performance in the temple game. Dobbs returned and resumed the starting position, as he should have. Since,t here have been plenty of opportunities to get Procter back in a football game to further improve his skills. He hasnt returned to the field yet. Not even a thank you gesture by getting in the A/N game. No sir, the coaches rarely look beyond whats in front of them regarding back up players getting some reps. They dont get them, so your certainty on this matter is somewhat less than assuring.

  54. i worked with a lot of coaches over the years at a lot of schools. The one thing i am sure of is that coaches play the players who give them the best chance to win. When kids came to my office complaining about PT I would tell them they had two options, either get better or quit, but stop complaining. Most got better and played, some quit.

    Kids who thought coaches had something against them were always not as good as those playing. I have had many coaches tell me they play kids they can’t stand over great kids if the guy they don’t like is better. They do this for a living and are judged by W’s, not backup playing time. We have all spring to worry about that stuff.

    Navy is 9-4 and going to a bowl game. Won the CIC and beat ND. So lets rip the coaches because they didn’t play the backups enough…

  55. “Since,there have been plenty of opportunities to get Procter back in a football game to further improve his skills”

    such as…?

  56. Not even a thank you gesture by getting in the A/N game.

    I thought it was more appropriate that they get a firstie QB in the game for the final snap as a “thank you gesture”. Prior to then, the game was still somewhat in doubt.

  57. KP will get his day. Until then, I think we can assume that he’s a team guy and trust the coaching staff.

  58. If there was a time for a backup to take a few snaps in Army Navy it should have been Senior Greg Zingler not Proctor.

  59. LOL @ rkm44

    what games were you watching? please tell me what game it made sense to put in a backup QB?

    Delaware? ricky’s (and navy’s) final offensive series started with over 6 mins left and just a 10 point lead.

    Army? you want to put a back-up in a rivalry game on our own 20 in a 2 possession game?

    sure sounds like a bitter parent to me.

  60. “Regarding the talent issue. I read the Barra biography of Bear Bryant a few years ago. Barra quoted Bear as saying that college football is about 80% talent and maybe 20% coaching. Unless Army gets better talent, I don’t care how good a coach Ellerson is, this rivalry will remain lopsided, very lopsided.”

    It funny because I think as Navy fans we like to argue both sides of this coin. Against BCS schools we will argue that our coaching, scheme, and better team play will allow us to compete and even win against clearly superior talent. But against Army we want to talk talent gap. I am not saying its there. I just think its funny how two different arguments come out of the same mouths.

    To me the talent argument says that there is nothing intrinsically special about a team – just my X is faster/stronger than your O. What makes SA football teams, and especially these Navy teams year after year, have been the team play, the smart football, the grit, and determination to win. I am sure there is some difference with regard to talent, but I put it far more on the former than the later. Definitely not “soft”!

  61. Is that the point of a blog, to read whatever is necessary in to a post to try and make it something its not.. A guy was concerned about the linebacker positions as we are losing all the starters. i was hoping to ease his anxieties. That’s all. Lighten up Francis…

  62. Amidst all the other BEAT ARMY into the ground comments, I can’t help interjecting that I miss the competition, the screaming and nail biting in the stands, the loss of voice for two days after a narrow victory. Additionally, I feel for the Army fans and the Kaydets. My daughter’s boyfriend graduated from WP in May and I administered his oath. I listened often to his discouragement over the football team and their record over the last few years. I want the competition back, yes, even if we lose occassionally. But not till we have 10 in a row, please.

  63. does anyone else see the irony in Todd Berry replacing Charlie Weatherbie at UL Monroe?

  64. I wouldn’t mind beating Army 50-0 from now until eternity.

  65. Mike, I sure used to feel that way. Blowouts were easier on my vocal chords. But now it’s like getting too much vanilla ice cream with strawberries, too many cannonballs with rum sauce, too much Angelina Jolie. Or maybe not.

  66. My feeling on the streak against the Woops is to enjoy it while it lasts. Sure closer games and an occassional loss to them might be good for the rivalry, but winning is still better than losing. The streak has to come to an end sometime, but better later than sooner. So I see where Mike is coming from with the 50-0 every year statement, while Doug69 is a little contradictory with “even if we lose occassionally. But not till we have 10 in a row, please.” I too would like to see 10 in a row, or even more, and this is possible as long as the Mids continue to show the heart and effort they have over the last eight games against the Woops.

  67. I am with Mike. Last year was the ideal game for me. Score early and often so there is no doubt about the outcome by the 2nd quarter.

  68. Seems to me that many of us recognize the fine line between success and mediocrity for Navy football. Given that, I’ll enjoy beating Army and this streak for as long as it lasts because it wouldn’t take more than a few unfortunate events to be on the other side of such a streak.

  69. To me, … Nothing was as glorious (and meant so much –> Carry-on until Christmas … back when it really meant something) than that 51-0 Plebe Year shellacking of the Black Knights in 1973.
    And I have yet to witness an in situ loss to Army since then –> My 3 remaining years at the Boat School, the two years I taught there, + the 6 total years my two sons were Midshipmen.
    Go NAVY … Beat ARMY … Beat MIZZOU!!!

  70. I remember the 51-0 game, caught on the radio as the Kitty Hawk pulled out of Pearl on the way to Westpac. Lost reception before it was over. Still, I want the competition back. And I do not see my comments as contradictory when I said I wanted 10 in a row first. It was Saint Augustine who said “Give me chastity….but not right away.”

  71. this is how spoiled some of us have gotten — people are actually saying they wouldn’t mind losing to army, and miss the close games. i’d mind it. i’d mind it a lot. and i don’t miss the close games. they sucked.

  72. I like winning 58-12. If you want to experience a close loss, then go read Feinstein’s book and let me know how great you feel when Army scores to go up 14-13. It was a great game that sucked the life out of me for three months and still gives me nightmares.

    Did I say like winning 58-12

  73. Seriously. I doubt Army fans ever thought “gee, Navy needs to win one.”

  74. i’m all for beating your rival as often as you can, and by whatever score. i dont care if they are close or a blowout. a win is what matters. why would anyone want a loss? screw competitive rivalry. i just want to win.

  75. i want to crush army every year…i want to see them driven before us and hear the lamentations of their women and children

    but i see the economical, ratings, etc upside if army makes it competitive again and even wins some. that’s just the MBA side of my brain.

  76. Let’s face it. The competitiveness issue is Army’s to solve, not ours.

    I felt exactly the same way as “blueandgoldenisles” after that fateful 14-13 loss. The only difference is that my wife is short a dinner plate, two glasses, and a coffee cup that I slammed into the sink after Army converted on that 4th down and 24. My father-in-law was a sweet guy, Navy WWII vet. It was the only time I ever told him to “shut the hell up” when he inquired about the crashing noises emanating from the kitchen. My wife didn’t bother to ask. She was watching the game upstairs. She knew and did not ask. God bless her.

    So, when I hear all this stuff about “competitiveness”, I think about that game, the wretched last two years of Weatherbie, and conclude, it ain’t my problem.

  77. Well stated Navy72 –> That was a very painful day in my household as well. I refused to speak for at least a 48 hour period afterwards.

    Go Navy!!!

  78. Navy72, if I remember correctly, and I am sure you will point it out if I do not, Navy went for a TD deep in WP territory instead of icing the game with a field goal. Army then marched down the field, scored and won in the closing minutes. If that is the right game then I was there, sitting in the end zone with my roomate from boat school as Army marched straight at us. We screamed, spilt our drinks and called Navy’s coach every name we learned in Westpac. I’ve enjoyed the revenge for the last 8 years, all but twice in the stands. But my opinion still stands: I miss the competitiveness. It is, after all, still a game. An intense, hard fought and emotional (see comments above) game.

  79. Doug69

    You’re correct on all accounts. And I am sure it was even more painful to be a spectator at that game.

    I would question, however, that a single A-N game is sufficient time to use all the applicable epithets you learned in Westpac. Merely a hunch.

  80. Ron B….where did you get the info about Ellerson calling PJ for some tips? I’d love to read that article.

    And Doug69, I think you are right on the mark with your comments. I much enjoy the closer games, it really makes the blood get going, and makes you appreciate the blowouts all the more. I remember going into the game thinking it would be nice for the Cadets to make it to a bowl game, but after the first half, I said screw that, let them do it by beating someone else. The closer games are much more fun, but only if they come up to our level, not us returning to the lowest common denominator.

  81. Stork…PJ mentioned the Ellerson call to him in an interview that was posted, I believe, on the Ga Tech website, much earlier in the year. PJ said he declined because of his relationship with current Navy staff. PJ also went on to say that he wouldn’t assist anyone who was on Navy’s schedule.

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