Greatest moments in Army vs. Navy history: Five games that have helped define this college football rivalry


It’s always memorable when the Army and Navy play in their annual rivalry game, but the game has been particularly competitive in recent years. Eight of the last 11 meetings between the service academies have been decided by a touchdown or fewer, including the Navy’s 17-13 win over the Army last season. The Midshipmen lead the all-time streak 62-53-7 as the Enemies prepare to meet again on CBS Saturday.

The story and pageantry of the game are second to none, as is the importance. Although the Air Force has already won this season’s Commander-in-Chief Trophy, that won’t stop these teams from giving it their all on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Navy are slight favorites, but the Black Knights will be looking for revenge after losing a 13-7 lead in the second half of last year’s meeting.

Though it lasted until the final minutes, it doesn’t quite break the ranks of the rivalry’s most historic fixtures. Considering the Army and Navy have been playing since the late 1800s, there have been countless notable moments in their streak, some of which rank among the greatest games in college football history.

As the Army and Navy prepare to cap off the 2022 college football regular season, here’s a look back at the most memorable matchups from the legendary rivalry.

1. 1926: Army 21, Navy 21

Both teams remained undefeated. Seen by 100,000 at Soldier Field. Considered by many to be one of the greatest college games in history.

The spectacle itself makes this game one of the most significant of the series, as the teams played in front of more than 100,000 spectators at the dedication of Soldier Field, built as a memorial to the fallen of World War I. But the stakes of the game – and the outcome – only add to the lore. Both were undefeated with national title rights at stake as they battled to a 21-21 draw. But with Army already planning a draw against Notre Dame, Navy ended up clinching a national title.

2. 1963: Navy 21, Army 15

Debuting instant replay in a game delayed a week due to the period of mourning following the assassination of President Kennedy.

With the nation in mourning following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the game was postponed a week. More than 100,000 viewers witnessed a thriller that saw Army make a late comeback, only just missing out as a Navy team led by Roger Staubach, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, clinched a 21-15 victory . The game secured Navy’s spot in the Cotton Bowl and served as a welcome distraction for a healing nation. The meeting was also significant for a technological breakthrough, as CBS television viewers experienced instant replays in one show for the first time.

3. 2016: Army 21, Navy 17

Army breaks 14-game Navy winning streak.

Navy carried a 14-game winning streak and a 9-3 season record into the 2016 meeting. But in coach Jeff Monken’s third year, the Black Knights were 6-5 and on the rise after five straight losing seasons. Ultimately, the Army defense held the Navy to just 201 total yards and secured a monumental 21-17 victory. But it came with a lot of drama. Navy erased a 14-point deficit and took the lead before Ahmad Bradshaw’s 9-yard touchdown run gave Army victory with six minutes left.

4. 1944: Army 42, Navy 13

The Army began its heyday on the gridiron as the military achieved some of its greatest battlefield victories in World War II. The Knights won three straight national titles and went undefeated from 1944–46. A 23-7 win over Navy in 1944 was particularly significant because it put the Midshipmen on a five-way losing streak in which Army had only scored six total points.

5. 1983: Navy 42, Army 13,

The first and only game west of the Mississippi – at the Rose Bowl.

The teams combined for just five overall wins in 1983, but their game against each other was particularly memorable because of the location where it took place. For the first and only time in series history, they played west of the Mississippi in the Rose Bowl, with Navy winning 42-13 to 81,347. Funds were raised for the student body of both institutions to make the trip and the week included a night at Disneyland for the cadets, midshipmen and their families.