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Army/Navy 2019: Another Great Uni Battle

By Phil Hecken

The “only game in town” as I like to call it takes place today between Army and Navy, who will be meeting for the 120th time in a rivalry that stretches back to 1890, at 3:00 PM (Eastern) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The game traditionally signals the “end” of the college football season, and is the last BCS game before the Bowls start next Friday. Since 2008 (and sparingly even before then), both teams have adopted special uniforms for the big matchup, and this year is no exception.

Navy will be sporting fauxback unis while Army has a new uniform honoring a specific division. Of course, the stories behind both unis have as much bearing as the uniforms themselves. As a small aside, I hope to be able to catch some or most of this game, but as fate would have it, I’m back in grad school again, and with three final papers/reports due early next week (and my PC has been acting up bigly), my free time is at a premium this weekend. So, apologies in advance, I wasn’t able to give this article as much attention as I normally devote to the A/N uni matchup. But I can say this: today’s game will definitely be one of the better looking armed forces football battles, and that’s saying something. Let’s get started.

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As mentioned above, Navy is fauxing back, and the era they’ve chosen is 1960-63. According to UA, “From 1960-63, Navy posted a 30-12 record, went 4-0 against Army, was ranked as high as No. 2 in the country and played in both the Orange and Sugar Bowls. Navy produced two Heisman Trophy winners during that time with Joe Bellino winning the award in 1960 and Roger Staubach in 1963.” That era is roughly reflected in today’s unis. The jerseys are a blue with gold UCLA stripes, and the pants are gold as well. The helmet is also “gold,” but with some interesting paint elements.

A closeup of the helmet shows the detail. According to UA, “A burnished coat of bronze paint wraps each helmet and lays beneath Navy’s iconic anchor logo that serves as a call to the Naval Academy’s roots at sea, while the two Heisman winner’s uniform numbers are front and center. Each ‘Heisman helmet’ represents a manifestation of the on-field excellence of the Academy’s forebears.”

Of course, the Navy uniform features a patch on the left chest.

All Navy players will wear a patch honoring a military unit for the game — every player dressing for the rivalry game gets to pick a patch to wear. One patch, however, will stand out from the rest:

That patch has a black bar that has been stitched across it. The bar bears not a name but a date — Dec. 6, 2019. That was the date a Saudi airman opened fire on a classroom at Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing three people and wounding eight. Navy senior outside linebacker and team captain Nizaire Cromartie will honor the victims of the shooting when he wears the NASC Memorial Patch today.

One other uni detail — back in the day (to which the team is throwing back) players wore solid black cleats. They will again today. Nice touch.

Highly recommended: For more information on Navy’s uniform and history, visit the Navy Athletics site. Many more photos and history are there, and if you have the time, it’s worth the read.

One Last Thing: The hype video…

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Not to be outdone in the uni department, Army’s uniforms this year — as they have done for the past three years — honor one of the Army’s divisions by wearing an entire uniform telling the division’s story. The new uniform tradition started with a design telling the story of the 82nd Airborne Division. So far, the 10th Mountain Division and 1st Infantry Division have also been honored. This year, Army will take the field in honor of the 1st Cavalry Division and tell the story of the Soldiers’ role in the Vietnam War as America’s first airmobility division.

According to this article,

On September 11, 1965, the 1st CAV arrived in South Vietnam—the first complete U.S. Army division to deploy to the country. The unit included the 11th Aviation Group and was home to a number of assault helicopters and gunships. The unit was unique in that it was the first division to serve as a cavalry, infantry, air assault and armored division.

The uniforms honor the famed division, with sleeves featuring the 1st Cavalry patch and helmets highlighting the crossed sabers, insignia you’ll find on the cavalry Stetsons—the iconic hat of the division.

The uniform itself features an olive helmet, white jersey with olive yoke, and olive green pants. While I’m not normally a fan of jersey yokes, I like it here. Both sides of the pants feature “UNITED STATES” down the sides.

The back of each helmet features unit insignia that honors one of the Division’s longstanding regiments — the 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 12th.

Highly recommended: For more information on Army’s uniform, with more photos and the backstory click here.

One Last Thing: The hype video…

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Should be a great looking game! Navy is bowl bound and a heavy favorite, but none of that seems to ever matter when these two academies hook up. Enjoy the game today (I hope I do too!).

Below, please enjoy a look back at the past 11 times these two teams have played, beginning in 2008, when special uniforms for the game became an annual tradition.

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane at the uniforms worn during the past eleven games:


You can read more here. Army wore digi-camo helmets and pants, and Navy went with the “blood stripe” officers uniforms.

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Army went back to its “normal” look, while Navy went with a blue jersey version of the previous years’ set.

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Army again remained largely traditional, while Navy again went with a custom uni.

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Beginning with the 2011 game, both teams (then outfitted by Nike) would really turn it up a notch. Navy went “battleship” inspired unis; Army customized but still kept a somewhat traditional look.

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Things really got interesting beginning in 2012. Army went full black with gold helmets, while went full white with amazing custom helmets. You can read more about that here.

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This was an awesome game made moreso by the snow. Navy went white/blue/white while Army countered with gold/white/gray. Read more here.

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By 2014, Under Armour had taken over the Navy uni contract, and they got really creative with the uniforms, while Army went for a more minimalist approach. You can read more here.

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2015 almost seemed to be more about the multiple helmets than uniforms. Read more on the helmet war here.

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For 2016, Navy wore lots of athletic gold, while Army took on a WWII paratrooper look. Much more on these uniforms can be found here.

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Another beautiful snow game took place in 2017 and Army (victorious for the second straight year) definitely had the premonition for a “camo” look figured out well in advance! A review of the game and the uniforms can be found here.

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No snow in 2018, but Army did manage a three-peat! The unis kept getting better and better and we had another all black Army vs. a spiffy looking Navy team. A review of the unis is here.

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: Reddit’s baseball sub created the an image titled “the logos of the reverse of team names“. Lots of really great ones — Irwins for the Rays is genius, Minnesota Only Children and Arizona Shovels are also great (from Jimmy Lonetti). … It appears new Angels 3B Anthony Rendon will wear No. 6. It also appears that the Angels’ team store just threw his name and number on an old Majestic jersey with the MLB150 patch, something he will never wear with the Angels. … New Phillies SS Didi Gregorius will wear No. 18 (from Anthony Verna).

NFL News: Couple of Ravens notes from Andrew Cosentino: the Ravens introduced a new mixed-reality presentation during Thursday Night Football, and QB Lamar Jackson has multiple jerseys to swap with opposing players after games (also from Moe Khan). … The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a cool article about all the work that goes into those infamous snowy, ice-cold games at Lambeau (from @bryanwdc). … The Eagles are going white over green against Washington (from Sam McKinley). … Bears OL Ted Albrecht is sans-helmet-decals in these c. 1979 shots. … Mike Menner‘s organization received an odd donation the other day: a partial roll of NFL-wordmark wallpaper, of all things. Looks to be c. 1980.

College Football News: The patches for the New Mexico Bowl confirm that the game will have no title sponsor advertiser this year, after the previous advertiser turned out to be a non-existent company (from @Millertime833). … Here’s a video of said patch being applied to a San Diego State jersey. … And speaking of patches, who needs ornaments for your Christmas tree when you can cover it with bowl patches (from @OlegKvasha). … Not uni related, but here’s a cool story about OJ Simpson’s two Heisman Trophies (from Mark Holmes).

Hockey News: Looks like the Kings are going to keep Staples Center’s Taylor Swift banner uncovered, after covering it up for the early part of the season after fan complaints (from Jakob Fox). … Sharks associate coach Roy Sommer was wearing a bolo tie on the bench last night. It’s certainly a look, I’ll give him that (from @OlegKvasha). … This guy has a Sabres sweater that’s CNOB — that’s casino name on back in this instance (from Steve Lega). … Marc-Louis Paprzyca sends along this video of hockey skate laces being made.

NBA News: The old Baltimore Bullets had a “B” on their socks — a pretty neat design element! (from @NFL_Journal).

College Hoops News: Syracuse men have unveiled some pretty gorgeous throwbacks. More pics here (from Jakob Fox, Eric Kohli and Bryan Prouse). … Cal also unveiled their throwbacks last night, and they’ll make their debut tonight against St. Mary’s. … Iowa/Iowa State men’s Thursday night game was color-vs-color, but the women’s game earlier this week was not (thanks, Jamie).

Soccer News: Mark Crosby is looking for help creating a soccer badge for each of New York City’s 329 neighborhoods. … Josh Hinton‘s daily download is as follows: Iceland are moving to Puma kits, away from Erreà. … The ownership group of the Charlotte MLS team has trademarked several names. … USL club Louisville City have been teasing a new badge. … The USL’s Charleston Battery have released their new badge and kits (also from Nick Case, Jeff Ball, David J. Ziemba and Greg Brzozowski). … The USL’s OKC Energy appears to be asking for fan-input for one of their new kits (from Christopher Hunt). … Virginia men have added a College Cup — NCAA soccer’s Final Four-equivalent — patch to their sleeves (thanks, Jamie).

Grab Bag: Major League Rugby released this season’s kits for all member clubs yesterday — here’s the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference (from Sy Hart and @bryanwdc, who has some of the close-ups on his Twitter page). … The London Underground’s iconic logo is getting redesigned, based on the colors of the pan-African movement, as a nod to the 44% of Londoners who are descended from Africa (thanks, Brinke). … Is the the worst-oriented ‘Q’ you’ve ever seen on an NOB? That’s the New York Riptide of the National Lacrosse League (from Rich Forziati). … Defending IndyCar Champion Josef Newgarden will drive the No. 1 car, a privilege extended to defending IndyCar champions. Newgarden is regularly No. 2 (from Robert Guers Jr). … The International team for the Presidents Cup has a logo, and here’s an article explaining the symbolism behind it (from Justo Gutierrez). … I wonder if this recently-arrested man in Johnston County, N.C., is a UNC fan. If only there was some way to find out? (from James Gilbert).

Comments (32)

    Somehow I had never thought of olive green for an Army uniform. It looks very appropriate; nice, unique touch.

    I guess they’re calling a cheeseburger the opposite of a Philly Cheesesteak? Personally, I would have gone with Empties.

    Phillies is a nickname derived from the beginning of Philadelphia, Burgers is derived from the end of Pittsburgh.

    The “logos of reverse team names” thing is brilliant but there are some confusing choices.

    Using green for both Boston and Cincy? I guess it makes sense on the color wheel but blue would also work, at least for one of them.

    A for Pirates…Admirals? Detroit H…humans?

    I also admit that I don’t get Pasts, Red Ws, or whatever’s going on with the Brewers. Tappers?

    I feel like they also missed an opportunity with Oakland, going with “Z’s” rather than something like “Sedentaries”

    Another missed opportunity is the Mets. “Pasts” makes no sense to me, but “Provincials” or something like “Hillbillies” would be funny.

    2012 Navy was gorgeous. The helmet especially. UA has never designed football jerseys as well as Nike imo. Something about the tailoring and numbers has always irked me.

    I guess “Irwins” as the opposite of “Rays” is in reference to Steve Irwin. Tasteless, to say the least. The Marlins already apologized for someone in their social media department making a crude joke about the Rays killing Steve Irwin. I guess not everyone got the memo.

    The Fast Company article has some shoddy numbers, it links to an article reporting that 44% of London’s population are non-white, but that doesn’t mean 44% are black. There are more Asian people in London than black people

    If it’s correct, 44% is surprisingly high (for a Midwesterner) and interesting. what would you guess the number to actually be? Regardless, the colors/designs are pretty cool.

    As of the 2011 census (the most recent one in the UK), Greater London’s black population was 13% of the total. link

    I’m a proud UNC grad and as big a Heels fan as there is… but I am sure my level of fandom is not “neck-tat” level.

    That tattoo should have been done in powder blue. Or at least had some argyle thrown in for good measure.

    They went with the letter J for Toronto, not the bird, I think. Not sure about Milwaukee, smokers, maybe?

    Another silver lining with Rendon jersey. Lazy on the Angels’ part, but a good chance to get a non-Nike Rendon jersey if you’re a fan.

    College hoops today… Michigan State vs Oakland in Detroit. Spartans wearing black unis with neon green numbers & names. Oakland wearing all gold with NOB under the numbers. The lane is painted black with red trim for some reason. Horrible looking game.

    Unfortunately, the rumor about the 1st Cavalry Division losing its colors in Korea gave rise to disgraceful description about the division’s combat patch, including, “The horse they never rode, the line they never held, the color running down their back,”

    Maybe its me but the Navy helmet looks like a ‘quasi’ leather head helmet from the airbrushing?!
    Also ouch, paloma u must be a navy guy

    Actually no, Army 1979-1983.
    Met many a fine soldier who served in Vietnam with the 1st Cav. (Where they were also rumored to have regained the respect for the colors)
    I did say “disgraceful description.”
    Go Army

    Navy’s helmets do not look aged or vintage.

    They look like they were rescued from a garage fire.

    Thanks for the clarification and do you know if the aforementioned Vietnam calvary division is the same one referenced in Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Apacalypse Now’ played by Robert Duval (Col. I Love the Smell of Napalm)?

    Hey Paul,
    Curious as to why there was no offense taken to the image image of a Native American on horseback on the back of the Army helmet?

    For anyone wondering about some of the reverse team names, this twitter thread has the names listed on one of the posts


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