Celebrating 120 Years of Army vs. Navy Football

The December 11 meeting between  the West Point Knights and the U.S. Naval Academy will take place in Philadelphia, marking the 120th anniversary of America's Game. The first game took place on November 29, 1890, at The Plain on West Point's campus, and began as a mere challenge from Navy. Here is a look at some of the highlights from the 2007-2009 games. 

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    Army Captain Stephen Anderson and Navy Captain Ricky Dobbs

    Army's Stephen Anderson speaks with Navy's quarterback Ricky Dobbs during a media luncheon on December 1, 2010.  Since its introduction, the Army Navy football game has only been canceled ten times dating back to 1893. The game, which was a Navy victory, reportedly ended in a near duel between a Rear Admiral and a Brigadier General after Navy beat Army. President Cleveland called a Cabinet meeting and it was determined the teams would no longer play each other. The games resumed in 1899 when Philadelphia was chosen as a neutral site. 
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    The two schools enjoy enticing one another with banners and chanting phrases or school songs that makes a jab at the opponent. Here West Point cadets hold a sign "Navy = Army Support" during the December 2009 match up, as Navy midshipmen march off of the field.  The game was canceled in 1909 when Army had canceled its entire season out of respect for Cadet Eugene Byrne in the game against Harvard. 
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    Air Force One flies over the Lincoln Financial Field before the start of the 2008 game. Former President George W. Bush was in attendance to perform the ceremonial coin toss.  The game was also canceled twice during World War I by the War Department, affecting the 1917 and 1918 seasons. 
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    Members of the Army Golden Knights parachute team make their dramatic entrance before the 2008 game.  It was President Theodore Roosevelt who showed a true passion for the rivalry, and he who began the tradition of walking across the field at half time. During the start of every game, the president sits on the side of the home team, and then switches during half time. 
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    Before the 2007 game played in Baltimore, Maryland, members of Navy's Leap Frogs parachute team made their entrance into the stadium.  The game was also canceled when the academies could not agree on player eligibility standards in 1928 and 1929. 
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    Army Captain Stephen Anderson addresses reporters about the upcoming December 11 game during a media luncheon in Philadelphia.  President John F. Kennedy attended both the 1961 and '62 game, and started the ceremonial presidential pre-game coin-toss. The game was scheduled to be played eight days after President Kennedy was assassinated. The game was canceled, until the Kennedy family decided that it would be a fitting tribute for the game to be played in his honor. It was rescheduled for a week later than its original date, and Navy went on to win. 
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    Former President George W. Bush addresses the Navy lock room prior to the start of the 2008 Army vs. Navy football game.  Navy currently holds a 52-49 victory advantage over Army, and the two have ended seven games in a tie.
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    Former U.S. President George W. Bush participated in the presidential coin toss before the 2008 game. 
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    Former U.S. President George W. Bush was present with a signed football by the Army football coach Stan Brock, while making a pre-game stop at Army's locker room before the 2008 game. 
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    An overzealous West Point cadet who ran onto the field during the fourth quarter after Navy scored a touch down in the 2007 game, tackles the Navy Mascot, Bill the Goat. 
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    The Army's mascot playfully approached a Navy flag bearer who was celebrating after a Navy touchdown in the 2007 game, played in Baltimore, Maryland. Navy went on to win the game 38-3. 
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    Cindy McCain, seated behind U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, was in attendance at the 2008 game. Senator John McCain and his wife's son Jack was a senior at the Naval Academy at the time. Sen. McCain is also a graduate of the Academy, as a member of the Class of 1958. 
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    President Obama presented the U.S. Naval Academy football team with the Commander in Chief Trophy in May, 2010. The trophy goes to the winner of the triangular football series between West Point, the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy. The trophy stands at approximately 2.5 ft. tall and weighs 170 lbs. 
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    The end of the game signifies the end of many football careers for seniors on both teams, as they prepare to graduate and enter their military careers. There is no NFL draft for these players, and at the end of the game, they all play on the same team. 
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