Saturday marks the 120th meeting of the biggest rivalry in college football – the annual Army vs. Navy game. These military academies have been facing off since 1890, with the exception of 1928-1929. Their battles are even viewed as the best in the land, and ESPN's College GameDay was on hand at Lincoln Financial Field to preview the matchup.
As video on Twitter showed, the crowd was full of raucous Army and Navy students, many of which were holding signs to follow the tradition of College GameDay. However, their messages were quite pointed given that the two student sections were directly next to each other, opening up the opportunity for jokes at the opposition's expense.
The interesting aspect was that these military recruits were dressed in their formal uniforms, which stood in stark contrast to other fanbases that have appeared in the background of College GameDay. Although the signs were still just as goofy.
Interestingly enough, there were some common themes in the crowd. Both Army and Navy referenced the fact that the other military academy allegedly hates puppies. The Navy students held a sign that read: "Army steps on puppies" while their foes simply wrote "Navy hates puppies" on another sign. There was no explanation for the puppy theme.
However, the Army students had far more signs that drew upon social media and important moments from recent history. There were even some cultural differences listed.
"Last time Navy won Harambe was alive," the Army students proclaimed with one colorful sign. Back in 2016, Harambe the gorilla was shot and killed by a Cincinnati zoo worker after a young boy climbed into the enclosure. The last time Navy defeated Army was in 2015, the year prior to Harambe's death.
"Navy puts ketchup on their hot dogs," another sign read. This references the longstanding debate about proper condiment usage. It isn't technically illegal to put ketchup on a hot dog, but there are many that frown upon the action. Doing so in Chicago is considered by some to be a borderline criminal act while the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has declared that no one over the age of 18 should use the red condiment. Proclaiming that Navy students use ketchup could be viewed as an equivalent to a slap in the face.
Regardless of their condiment preferences, the Navy Midshipmen do have an opportunity to get back on the winning track. This Maryland-based team enters the rivalry game with a 9-2 record. The Army Black Knights, on the other hand, are struggling through a losing season with a 5-7 record. Will Navy reign victorious at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday afternoon? The answer is unknown, but they will be looking to discount the Harambe and ketchup arguments.
(Photo Credit: Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service/Getty)