A tradition as old as time. What has happened on the gridiron has become a college football staple over the last 100 years. And it all renews as the 123rd edition of the Army-Navy game is scheduled to kick off on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 3 p.m.
Over the last several years, the game’s audience has witnessed something new develop that is becoming as iconic as the game itself: the teams’ football uniforms. Since 2008, each academy has changed its current uniform look specifically for the game. These detailed changes turned into all-new alternate uniforms around 2013 for Army and Navy made by Nike and Under Armour, respectively.
In the past, we have seen tributes to the Blue Angels, 25th Infantry Division and Special Forces. This year adds new tributes to the list.
Army: Old Ironsides
This year, the Black Knights from West Point will honor the fighting spirit and will to win of the 1st Armored Division.
According to the uniforms’ website, this year marks the 80th anniversary of Operation Torch, “the commencement of American ground operations against Axis forces in the European theater, including North Africa.”
Starting from the top, the helmet will feature the World War II-era flag on the back which is the same as our current flag minus two stars as Alaska and Hawaii were not officially added as states until 1959. Above the face mask will be the campaign streamer, with the green streamer representing the fields of Europe and the brown stripe symbolizing the sands of Africa. Each side of the helmet features the unit patch, which incorporates the colors yellow, blue and red, representing calvary, infantry and field artillery, respectively.
The “Mud Splatter” is the most popping on this uniform, starting on the helmet and then on the bottom of the jersey which goes into the mud-colored pants. Doing this signifies the brutal and harsh conditions that tanks and armored vehicles went through in North Africa. Each player’s jersey will have his cadet regiment number and cadet company mascot on his right chest, allowing them to show off the pride they have for their regiment and company. The number and font inscription are inspired by the typography seen across the M3 tanks used by the division during World War II.
Lastly, on the mud-colored pants will be the 1st Armored Division’s insignia, which is used to identify vehicles in the United States Army even today.
For more information about the uniform and the history that they represent, visit the uniform’s website here.
Navy: Out of this World
With this year’s uniforms, the Naval Academy looked to honor its 54 graduates who went on to become astronauts – the most of any institution, according to the uniform exposure website.
The helmet features the iconic photo of Bruce McCandless II, untethered with the Earth in the background. McCandless took the first untethered spacewalk, “…venturing further away from the confines and safety of a ship than any previous astronaut.” The other side of the helmet features the classic NASA logo with the Moon behind it.
To top off the helmet, the NASA astronaut pin, which was adopted in 1963 and given to Mercury 7 astronauts, is depicted on the stripe of the helmet from front to back.
The all-white uniform with the red stripes and the American flag copy the markings commonly found on the NASA spacewalk suit. Helvetica font is used for the numbers and lettering, which NASA has used for decades.
On the front of the left shoulder is the patch for the USS Enterprise, which was the world’s first nuclear aircraft carrier. According to the website, the Enterprise was ordered to assist the Project Mercury Program in February 1962, tracking and measuring the flight of the first American orbital spaceflight, Friendship 7.
The pants’ side panel features the same astronaut pin that is on the helmet. Finally, on the left hip is the Marine Corps Seal, which features the ever-known eagle, globe and anchor.
For more information and pictures, visit the uniform’s website here.
These uniforms can be caught in action during the Army-Navy game Saturday. Kick-off is at 3 p.m.