Every December, when Army takes on Navy in one of college football’s best-loved traditions, many supporters of the Air Force team get a little annoyed.
That’s because each year on Army-Navy Saturday, someone is bound to make a remark like, “The Army-Navy Game is the only game where everyone playing is willing to die for everyone watching.”
Air Force fans like to point out that the team from the Colorado-based school also competes each year for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy – which the Falcons have won 20 times compared to 16 times for Navy and eight times for Army.
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Air Force personnel are also equally dedicated to serving the country, they note.
“Pardon my ignorance,” one Twitter user posted Saturday, “but is Air Force vs Navy/Army also not games where everyone playing is willing to die for everyone watching?”
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While the Army-Navy Game gets the end-of-season national TV spotlight – and is often played in Philadelphia or another big East Coast market – the annual Air Force-Army and Air Force-Navy games get considerably less attention.
The games involving Air Force are typically played at one of the service academies’ relatively small campus stadiums – at West Point, N.Y.; Annapolis, Md.; or Colorado Springs, Colo. — rather than the NFL-sized stadiums that usually host the Army-Navy Game.
One sports figure who doesn’t forget to place Air Force on the same level with the other service academies is Paul Mainieri, baseball coach at Louisiana State University.
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Prior to back-to-back baseball games for LSU in February against Army and Air Force, Mainieri expressed LSU’s appreciation for those who serve in the U.S. military – regardless of branch.
“The players on that Army team, the players on that Air Force team, are willing to die for each of us,” Mainieri said in a video posted by WAFB-TV of Baton Rouge, La. “And they don’t even know us.”