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Army-Navy game

A closer look at the best Army-Navy football games through the years

Army won last year's game against Navy on a field goal by Quinn Maretzki in double OT, the first overtime game in the rivalry's history.Tim Nwachukwu/Getty

For the 124th time, the Army and Navy football teams will face off in December in what is always one of the most anticipated games of the year. However, there’s a key difference this time. For the first time, the game will be played at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

Since the United States Military Academy’s Black Knights began facing off against the United States Naval Academy’s Midshipmen in 1890, Navy holds the advantage with 62 wins. Army has 54 victories, and they have tied seven times, most recently in 1981.

There have been a variety of memorable games. The first football helmet is believed to have been worn in the 1893 game. The 1963 edition was played just weeks after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and it was in a stadium that would later be named after him.


Other games have featured dramatic finishes and shocking upsets. In chronological order, here is a look at some of the top games.

1905 – Army 6, Navy 6: The first tie

Within the first 15 years of the rivalry came the first draw. It was just the 11th game, because there was a break between 1894 and 1898, and Army had dominated since the yearly game resumed. President Theodore Roosevelt was in attendance, and it was the first time the game was played in New Jersey, at Princeton. Navy would go on to win the next two encounters.

1926 – Army 21, Navy 21: The Soldier Field game

In front of 110,000 fans, Soldier Field in Chicago was dedicated as a monument to those who served during World War I. It was the best teams in football fighting for a national championship. The game ended in a tie, but Navy was awarded the championship because it finished undefeated, while Army had one loss.

1945 – Army 32, Navy 13: Game of the Century

It was far from the closest game, but World War II had just ended and the much-hyped game featured the top teams in the nation. No. 1 Army and fullback Felix “Doc” Blanchard, who would win the Heisman that year, roared past No. 2 Navy.


1946 – Army 21, Navy 18: A close call

Navy had only one win, and Army again was the No. 1-ranked team. However, Navy was just 3 points down and had the ball at the end of the fourth. Navy running back Pete Williams ran to the outside and tried to get out of bounds, but officials said he was tackled inbounds and time expired.

1960 – Navy 17, Army 12: Joe Bellino shines

Joe Bellino, who was from Winchester, and had the nickname the “Winchester Rifle,” was the star, including a fourth-quarter interception to seal the outcome. Bellino won the Heisman in 1960.

1971 – Army 24, Navy 23: Two goal-line stands

In the first 1-point game, Army used two goal-line stands in the last three minutes to secure the win on a rainy evening. In a strange ending, Army punter Ron Danhof opted to hold the ball in the end zone instead of punting, scrambling until the clock ran out and taking a safety that cut the margin of victory to 1.

1992 – Army 25, Navy 24: The comeback

Another Army triumph (Navy victories are coming soon) began a five-year winning streak in which all of Army’s victories were decided by less than a touchdown. Army trailed, 24-7, but two touchdowns later, it was up to kicker Patmon Malcom to win the game with a field goal. He had to re-do his first try after a delay of game call, but the second try was good.

Army won each game from 1992 to 1995 by less than a field goal, and the 1995 season was chronicled in John Feinstein’s book “A Civil War.”


2011 – Navy 27, Army 21: Navy makes it 10 straight

With President Barack Obama watching, Navy extended its winning streak over Army to 10 in thrilling fashion. Navy quarterback Kriss Proctor ran for two touchdowns, and running back Alexander Teich added one. Two field goals in the fourth quarter, combined with stifling Navy defense, put the game away for the Midshipmen.

2015 – Navy 21, Army 17: The Keenan Reynolds game

Navy was heavily favored, but Army kept it closer than many expected. Navy’s Keenan Reynolds, who became the only quarterback in program history to go 4-0 against Army, accounted for three touchdowns — two on the ground and one in the air.

2016 – Army 21, Navy 17: Army strikes back

After 14 years, Army was finally able to break Navy’s streak, and it shifted momentum for the next three years. The Midshipmen took the lead after being down, 14-0, at halftime, but Ahmad Bradshaw took a 9-yard run into the end zone to put Army up, 21-17, with six minutes to play.

2022 – Army 20, Navy 17: The first overtime

For the first time in the rivalry’s history, the game went to overtime, then it went to double overtime. Army recovered a fumble and walked it off with a field goal.

Correction: Army player Doc Blanchard’s position was incorrect in earlier versions of this story. He played fullback, as well as other positions.

Jackson Tolliver can be reached at jackson.tolliver@globe.com. Follow him @JaxToll.