PHILADELPHIA – Armys Jarrett Mackey hears the same order each day he walks around the barracks at West Point.
Beat Navy and bring home the coveted Commander-in-Chiefs Trophy.
Every single time I pass them, its, Army-Navy. CIC. Lets go, Mackey said. I wouldnt say it puts more pressure on us, but its time. Lets do this. We almost need to do it. Weve got to get out there and get the win. Its been way too long.
Try 11 years.
The Army-Navy series is not only the most patriotic rivalry in sports, its turned into one of the most one-sided. Navy has won 10 straight, doubling the previous winning streak of either team in a series that stretches back to 1890. It only seems like the Black Knights havent won in 122 years. Army last beat Navy in 2001 at Veterans Stadium. The Vet has since been toppled.
So has Armys all-time lead in the series.
Mackey, a junior defensive end, wants so badly to be part of the class that ends the Middies dominance. That alone, is incentive enough. But for the first time in nearly two decades, there is more on the line than just bragging rights.
Winning this game usually makes a season, but this one would mean more than most. The winner today leaves Lincoln Financial Field with the Commander-in-Chiefs trophy, awarded to the team with the best record in games among the three service academies. Army and Navy each defeated Air Force, putting the trophy up for grabs in the regular-season finale for the first time since 2005. Army (2-9) hasnt hoisted the CIC trophy since 1996. Navy (7-4) won it a school-record seven straight seasons through 2009 before giving way to Air Force the last two seasons.
From the moment these guys got to West Point, every building and everybodys front door says, Beat Navy and Beat Air Force. There is so much on the table for them, Army coach Rich Ellerson said.
None of the Mids want to be associated with a team that ended the streak.
The 10 wins have been awesome. But this year is even bigger than all those because it actually means something with the CIC, Navy linebacker Brye French said.
Theres more football left for Navy after todays tradition-filled spectacle. The Mids play Arizona State in the Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 29 in San Francisco.
The Midshipmen have been worried daily over the health of third-string quarterback Ralph Montalvo. Montalvo was in a medically induced coma after he was critically injured in a car accident on Thanksgiving.
The Middies will show support for Montalvo by wearing a sticker that says Rafi on the back of their helmets.