I watched some of the Military Bowl today, Pitt visiting Navy. It's a bit of a rarity for a team to play in their home stadium for a bowl game, but it happens occasionally. Navy had a good year and certainly deserved their invite to this one.
I like watching the military service academies play when I get the chance. They're almost always at a disadvantage in terms of personnel, since their players are at the academy for training first and athletics second. They're always competitive, though, and fun to watch.
Every once in a while the service academies do have a highly talented player, like the Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds. He'd already set the career FBS record for rushing touchdowns during the regular season. During the Military Bowl, he picked up the records for career total rushing yards by a quarterback and overall touchdowns-from-scrimmage. And he's just as impressive off the field, studying things like cyber warfare at the Naval Academy.
However, the thing that I found most interesting about this game (and also the Army-Navy game a few weeks ago) was the Navy uniforms, specifically the helmets. Each position on the team had a different ship painted on their helmets, equating the ship's role to the player.
the news item on the Navy website:
Helmet Details and Position Assignment:
• Linebacker: Cruiser- Provides anti-air defense and packs the biggest punch of Naval surface ships representative of the linebackers on the Navy football team.
• Defensive Back: Destroyer- Known for significant fire power, speed, and anti-missile defense as are Navy's defensive backs.
• Wide Receiver: Submarine- Predominantly utilized as blockers, wide receivers play a key role in driving the Navy rush attack, taking on a stealth-like persona as they blend into the rhythm of the offense but bring significant fire power when called upon, just like a Naval submarine.
• Lineman: Amphibious Assault Ships- Just as a lineman's job is the create a hole for a running back or linebacker, these ships are utilized to establish the "beach head" that enables the invading force to gain access and ultimately accomplish their objective.
• Quarterback: Aircraft Carrier- The QB of the Naval Fleet, the aircraft carrier is the ultimate decision maker; the "quick strike" weapon of the Naval fleet.
• Running Back: Littoral Combat Ship- Like running backs, these fast and nimble ships can navigate through both crowded shallow and deep waters.
• Kicker/Special Teams: Minesweeper- Much like the specific task of the Navy special teams, this small ship has a unique mission of identifying and eliminating mines.
OK, so it's a bit of a stretch in a few cases, but still a neat idea. And they look great, too. I think all the service academies should be allowed to do similar things if they want...and no one else.