Tomorrow, future officers in the United States Army and Navy will debut newly-designed uniforms for one of the most intense battles in American history – although this one will be fought on a different type of battlefield.
The slick lines, the shining black and gold, and the proud symbols of the finest ground fighting force in the world: all of them boldly say “we know who we are, and we are coming for you.” Tomorrow, on December 8th, the 113th Army-Navy game will kick off at Lincoln Financial Field. Both teams will be sporting new uniforms designed by the ridiculously talented people at Nike. While I am admittedly biased towards the ground-pounders, the Army uniforms are by far some of the coolest things I have ever seen been made for the gridiron. But first, a little background on this historic rivalry.
The Army Black Knights of the United States Miltiary Academy at West Point and the Navy Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis first met on the football field in 1890. The result was a shutout, with Navy closing against Army 24-0 on their opponent’s home field at West Point, NY. These games were played almost every year since – usually in Philadelphia, about half-way between both academies – and became fully annualized beginning in 1930. This makes the matchup one of the longest and most fierce rivalries in all of college football. Currently, Navy leads the series with 56 wins, 49 losses, and 7 ties – including victories in 13 of the past 15 meetings. This year though, the Army is hoping that the new digs will help mark a new era with an Army win.
I have to give Navy (but most of all, Nike) credit – the new uniforms are pretty cool. White, navy, and gold line the uniforms, with inlaid line-and-anchor emblems found on various parts of the uniform. I actually like Navy’s helmets more; the reflective gold band and huge emblem are awesome, not to mention the sweet gloves that form an anchor when put together. But when it comes to style, design, and just overall badassness, Army takes the cake.
Army’s uniforms start with a story and run with it beautifully. The purpose of the design is to pay tribute to 1944, a year in which the Army snapped a 5-year losing streak against Navy. But more importantly, it marks the year when US Army forces and those of the Allies invaded France and battled their way towards Germany, hoping to stop the tyranny of Hitler’s Nazi regime forever. Lastly, it marks the year in which the “Battle of the Bulge” began; Hitler’s famous counterattack started on December 16th, 1944 with the goal of pushing the Allies back across France and into the sea. However, it would ultimately fail, and in the process it made names like “Bastogne”, “101st Airborne”, and “General Patton” known to every American. It would be the German army’s last offensive action of the war.
To pay homage to this improbable victory, the Under Armor sleeves and jersey numbers are inlaid with historical battle maps of the areas of Belgium in which the battle was fought. The Army helmets also have a spade on one side of them, a tribute to the card suit painted on the helmet of every paratrooper in the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment under the 101st Airborne Division. If that unit sounds familiar, it may because the 506th PIR was one of the units encircled in the town of Bastogne during the battle, and because it contained Company E of “Band of Brothers” fame.
What do you think of the new uniforms? Let us know below. Kickoff is at 3PM Eastern and can be watched on CBS. And as always…GO ARMY, BEAT NAVY!!!