The Army vs. Navy college football game is the lone game on the college football schedule this week and for good reason. The game is loaded with tradition and one of the best games of the year.
For the 113th time these two teams will square off, this time at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, with focus on the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy not the national championship.
The broadcast will cover the game, but the main focus will be on the players and the tradition of the rivalry. The game will not have any BCS bowl game implications and will be void of chatter on how the BCS needs to implement a playoff system.
The focus will be on football and life after the game. The players are celebrated but not because of future potential as NFL players, but for their future potential as leaders.
Many college football fans will dismiss the Army vs. Navy game because it does not have the flash of an SEC championship game or a Heisman Trophy candidate, but take a second to tune in and you will quickly see why it is one of the best rivalry games in all of sports. The game itself often becomes a side story as the players on the field get the spotlight for all of the right reasons.
With all of the recent stories in sports that involve violence, drugs and scandal, this game features all that is right in the world. This game features true heroes-in-training playing the game for the love of the game and not the promise of a Nike contract or a million dollar NFL contract.
This game will not have harmful trash talk in the press leading up to kickoff.
Don’t expect any pregame shoving or stomping on the opposing team’s logo (at least, not anymore).
Even the alumni keep their trash talk simple with a single chant of “Go Army! Beat Navy.”
The fanbases don’t fight one another but instead they pull innocent pranks such as stealing the team mascot. To show that it is just tradition, the mascot is returned unharmed. This is as hostile as this rivalry gets, and it still should be considered one of the best.
Despite the records of each team, this game is meaningful on every level.
It is the only rivalry in sports that features players from both sides that will become teammates after the game. When the game is over the players will embrace one another and show mutual respect because they know that they could meet again and work side by side as part of the world’s greatest military.
These players will go on to do something much more important than playing on Sunday. They will go on to defend our country with pride and honor. For that, and many other reasons, Army vs. Navy is the greatest rivalry in sports.