Long Live the Streak

Navy has now won 14 straight games against Army. Nothing accomplished by the likes of men has ever been so beautiful, yet there are some among us that do not appreciate this gift that we’ve been given. There are Navy fans that feel sorry for Army, and say that things would be better if maybe they won a game every once in a while. I wrote about this phenomenon a couple of years ago. My feelings have not changed.

Not everyone says these things out of sympathy. For some, it’s pragmatism. They worry that because the series has become so one-sided, ratings will decline and the game will lose its value for the next television contract. I disagree, and after the game I said this:

Well, the ratings are in. So how were they?

Fantastic.

The streak doesn’t hurt the Army-Navy game. To the contrary; it makes Army-Navy must-see television.

People who like football will watch whatever game is being shown. What draws the general public to sports is the drama. That’s why you see so many human interest stories during the Olympics, for example. When you get to know the athletes and their stories, you care more about how well they do. You watch.

Navy’s winning streak has the same effect. People tune in because they want to see if this is the year the streak ends. Every Navy win just adds more desperation to the Army side. It adds more emotion. It adds more drama.

As a result, it adds more viewers.

Someone on Twitter made a great comparison:

People watched the Triple Crown races because it had been so long since a horse had won it. Now that it finally happened, do you think there will be the same interest next year? I doubt it.

Army-Navy is the greatest rivalry in sports, and that brings with it a certain level of drama on its own. People are going to watch. The streak just adds to it. So cheer for the Mids without guilt, Navy fan. It’s better for everyone.

(Seriously, why does this even need to be explained to you ungrateful malcontents?)

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37 Responses

  1. Mike–I fully agree with you! Ed

  2. You fully convinced me the last time around. I do still think that Army winning more of their other games wouldn’t hurt.

  3. Zero guilt here. My dying breath last words may well “Beat Army”

  4. Guilt schmilt. Beat Army every time!

  5. Screamed myself hoarse yesterday. Plenty of drama for me.

    ” Americans love to fight. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big-league ball players and the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. The very thought of losing is hateful to Americans. Battle is the most significant competition in which a man can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base…””
    General George S. Patton

    • Boy, wouldn’t he be disappointed in his alma mater.

  6. Now please add a GIF of Keenan Reynolds CBS interview aired before the game – when asked if he feels sorry for Army. Generally not the most emotive guy, his face is priceless.

  7. Why in the world would I ever want Navy to lose to Army? I want Navy to win every game period. Especially against Army and AF! I hope I go to my grave (and not too soon) never seeing another Navy loss to Army. Remember the heartbreak losses of the 90’s? No thanks!

  8. AMEN!!!

  9. No sports team illustrates the phenomenon Mike describes better than the Chicago Cubs and their 107 years of utter futility. Ratings skyrocket whenever the Cubs make the playoffs, and we witness the angst of hapless north-siders when they inevitably fail. The drama will end, interest will wane, and ratings will fall, if and when the Cubs win a World Series.

    For Army’s sake, let’s keep this streak alive!

  10. My wife and mom say that nonsense sometimes. Useless pap. If we NEVER lose to Army again I’ll hope for yet another chance to beat them like a drum. I don’t hate them. I just LOVE BEATING THE CRAP out of them. BEAT ARMY! ALWAYS! IN EVERYTHING!

  11. As they say in Naval and Marine aviation: shack on target.
    Why in the world would you ever want to lose to your arch-rival?!? The “maybe we should lose crowd” should ask the Brigade to demand the plebes holler “Beat Army – but not this year” when squaring corners, if they still do that.

  12. Can’t wait to read your analysis of the game – Navy offense was very disappointing and how about the play calling – was it also poor or was it accurate based on the Army defense. Only three touches by our slot backs for a total of 5 yards?????? What the heck, over?

    • While Army’s defensive scheme wasn’t exactly the same as Houston’s, it was pretty close. This effectively made the triple the wrong call most of the time, and called for more passing. The difference was that Keenan wasn’t as sharp with his passing as he was in the Houston game. Combining that with Army’s ability get long drives (did you see their time of possession?) limited the number of offensive possessions for both teams, which almost guaranteed that the score would be relatively low. Bottom line: If you’ve been paying attention to how Army’s defensive has played us in recent years, there were no real surprises on Saturday. That doesn’t make it any easier to watch, of course.

  13. BEAT ARMY! It reduces cholesterol!

  14. No sympathy. Ever. BEAT ARMY.

  15. Army played hard and made it a game, but Navy smacked back and made the keys plays that produced our 14th win!!!!! Kenan Reynolds gave the Army defense props after the game – he knew 14 play methodical drives would not be in the cards for either team. They needed and produced big plays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. I don’t even watch football in general, but I watch every minute of Army-Navy. #GoNavyBeatArmy (Though like all real fans, I’ll be paying the same attention as usual to the Triple Crown next year. Not as much as the year AFTER, when our new Street Boss colt is three, but enough!) I’ve even got Mom watching the game now (and it was her dad who was Navy!)

  17. Someone said Army out played Navy. No no no. Let’s get this straight, the team that wins has out played the team that loses. Go Navy 15-0!

    • I console the woops at our party with how they won most of the statistical battle (and not for the first time in the past 5 years), while not mentioning the TOs. Then I walk away and gloat, again.

  18. Well said, as always, Mike. Let Army fans worry about Army winning again. Exceptional that our men in the arena can experience success in THE rivalry game – may it continue forever. That Navy football has become such a compelling example of excellence is remarkable.

  19. I hope Army wins every game except this one! GO Army, just not the second week in December!

    • I agree, though I have some friends who don’t understand this. I like the idea of our beating an undefeated Army team every year, while going undefeated ourselves. As for Air Force–well, that’s another matter.

  20. Agree. Air Force can lose them all. I’m good with that

    • The only regret I had during the game was if we lost was Air Force would keep the CIC. If Army ever has to win one against us again, let them do it when we don’t give up the trophy.
      Nahhhh. Let’s win them all. Yesterday was a great game from a couple of classy organizations. It was great to see the stands packed right to the end. That game was what college sports should be like all the time.

  21. Big snows in Salt Lake City today don’t make for a pleasant visit for the Hawaiian. Could it be a factor in the decision.

  22. Count me among the converted. I used to feel sorry for them, but not anymore. All I have to do is read their board, or GF3 and all the sympathy vanishes in an instant.

  23. Sorry for the un-reviewed post before hitting the “send” button, but my passion got the best of me as I had a few typos. Please consider the following as the correctly written post….Go Navy to you all:

    Fortunately, when Niumatalolo follows his Mormon calling off to BYU, as he should, Navy will be able to continue our dominance over Army AND take Navy football to the New Year’s SIX and beyond, under new Coach Ivin Jasper!

    The last thing a Navy head football coach should be considering during Army Week, the most important Navy game of the year in any sport, is his next coaching assignment….especially given his own coaching mantra of “Team” vs. “Me”….. especially given the fact that if he wants the BYU job he can get the BYU job …. especially given the fact that he could have postponed his communication of his personal commitments to the team until Monday after the game…. especially given the commitment that Navy has made to the football program and the coaching staff, and Coach Niumatalolo.

    I, for one, am looking forward to the transition to new leadership given our outstanding coaching staff and more importantly, the greatest college football players and “men” in the world.

    On a separate note, for those of you Navy football fans who did not see this broadcast on ESPN Gameday….you should check out this link…

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=14348249

    Navy Beat Army Forever!!!

    Best Regards,
    Navy ’85

    • Look, we all need to get over ourselves when it comes to the timing. This is the kind of thing that can happen with Army-Navy being moved back a week. The rest of the world isn’t going to wait for us to be finished before carrying out their own business. If you’re truly interested in a job, are you going to tell your potential employer to kick rocks until you’re ready to talk to them? That’s just not how it works. Rumors were going to swirl no matter what, and leaks were going to get out of Provo no matter what. Niumat decided to tell the team himself before they all read about it from someone else. I would expect nothing less from him than being up front with his players. The timing couldn’t be helped as much as people think it could. It stinks but you just deal with it.

  24. Navy fans know how Army feels. Navy lost to AF 12 years in a row from 1982 to 1993. In addition, Navy only won two games against AF from 1982 until 2003.

    • We lost to Notre Dame 43 years in a row too but neither of those games are anything like Army-Navy.

    • As much as I hate to lose to usafa (not that losses are ever fun…)and want to beat them, no string of losses to them ever hurts as bad as a loss to Army. I was a mid for three of the five in the 90’s, and those were much, much, much worse than the stretch vs. Air Force.

      I am still comforted by the fact I’ve asked mids if they would rather beat Army or Air Force… There never seems to be any conversation: THEY haven’t loss the taste for Army wins.

  25. What you wrote back in 2013, Mike, is exactly the way I feel.

  26. Army fan here. Occasional lurker.

    Have pointed Army folks here for years, because you speak some hard truths.

    Intellectual honesty ain’t our forté, though. On Friday, we live and breathe Army football. On Monday, No 14 is no big deal because we “won” the march-on parade.

    http://bit.ly/1SZirij

    I don’t share that easily. Embarrassing, actually. My only hope is that this is simply one of those opinions that folks share behind closed doors, but are quickly abandoned when a little light hits them.

    Army is moving in the right direction. (Ever hear that before?) But we have get over this idea that we’re the older institution and therefore inherently better, and that 14 is just some galactic statistical anomaly. At the end of the day, excuses are just excuses, and hard work is hard work.

  27. Who won the war of the signs???

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/page/gdsigns121215/week-15

  28. Amen, Mike. Cue the harps, or some other angelic music.

    I don’t understand the “I feel sorry for them” crowd. If they deserve to win…Then.flippin’.beat.us. I saw the usual moral victory crap from some some of them (Trent Steelman: “Army was the better team” Seriously?) I truly believe that PJ’s “No such thing as a moral victory” was a turning moment for Navy football, and maybe beyond just football.

    I’m currently spending a year living with the Army (not deployed…) and hear the same stuff. I had an old retired AWP grad whine about the 2nd half. It couldn’t be that our defense was really good and started playing like themselves i the second half. You want a “W?” Earn it. Wounded Ducks into triple coverage don’t cut it. And if they do, then you claim you earned it.

    Army-West-Point-Academy-New-York is going to beat us one day…I’ll be 70 on the weekend of our 44th victory in a row. If I live to 90 and never see a loss to Army, it will be too soon.

    My only concern about kicking Woop arse every year: this whiny business becomes part of their culture beyond the fields of FRIENDLY strife and leaks onto the fields of REAL strife. One of the most valuable lessons at USNA: No Excuse, Sir. You can ALWAYS influence the outcome.

    Beat Army. Yesterday, Tomorrow. Forever.

  29. By the way – did anyone notice that in the Amway Coach’s poll, only about 4 coaches didn’t have Navy in their top 25 – and one of those was Troy Calhoun from Air Force? Remember us Coach? Or were we running past you too fast on the way to the end zone to catch the name on the jersey?

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