Army/Navy vs. Auburn/Alabama
Page 2

  • The teams have met since 1890.

  • Army leads the series, 49-47-6.

  • This year's game will be played on Dec. 6 in Philadelphia.
  • Alabama and Auburn have faced off in the "Iron Bowl" since 1893.

  • Alabama leads the series, 38-28-1.

  • The teams play this year on Nov. 22 at Auburn.
  • Army/Navy
    What would Nixon have done?
    In 1894, President Grover Cleveland held a special cabinet meeting to discuss football. Army-Navy football, in particular. Just a few months earlier, the contest had inspired brawls in the stands and a near-duel between a rear admiral and a retired general. Fearing for the reputation of the military academies, Cleveland's meeting resulted in a cancellation of the game.

    In 1899, President McKinley restored the gridiron rivalry.

    More than just a game
    In 1999, Navy safety Gary Lane gave Smithsonian magazine a taste of the game's importance. "I saw players crying in the locker room, the toughest guys I knew just blubbering like babies after we lost. And hugging the Army team even though we don't know any of them. Army-Navy is like playing your brother. You play harder, but you share something because you know what the other guy has been through."

    Good luck, boys. I've got an important game to see
    In 1926, Army and Navy saluted Chicago's spanking brand new Soldier Field by playing their game there. Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne clearly thought it was a big deal -- he skipped out of the Irish-Pitt matchup that day to spectate in Chicago. Meanwhile, Pitt upset the Irish, 19-0.

    War is hell
    During WWII, travel restrictions prevented the usual enormous cheering squads from going to away games. So in 1942, under orders from the Navy, some midshipmen filled the visitors stands in Annapolis and cheered for Army. In 1943, Army returned the favor.

    Cease fire!
    After Army won in 1944, Gen. Douglas MacArthur took a moment. As his troops battled in the Phillipines, he cabled Army's locker room. "We have stopped the war to celebrate your magnificent success," read the telegram.

    That 1944 game was a huge deal. Army's cadets could cheer on their squad again (they came by steamer to Baltimore, protected by five Navy destroyers). Army was great, featuring Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis, aka Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside. And if you bought tickets, you bought war bonds -- the game was used to raise money for the war effort. The gate ended up bringing in $58 million -- with single tickets going for more than $1,000 each and private boxes fetching $1 million.

    Aim for the pumpkin heads
    In 1962, Navy's receivers played the game in orange helmets, intended to increase their visibility as receiving targets. Navy won.

    And my leadership skills include
    Former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot pulled one of the all-time great pranks in Army-Navy history. In 1975, Perot, Navy class of 1953, managed to sneak into West Point chapel the night before, and serenaded the cadets with a few tunes from the belfry: "Anchors aweigh, my boys ," followed by "The Marine Hymn" and "Sailing, Sailing." Perot was captured by cadets and handed over to military police.
    --Jeff Merron

    When victory is twice as sweet
    Bear Bryant passed Amos Alonzo Stagg as the winningest coach in college football when the Crimson Tide won the 1981 Iron Bowl, 28-17.

    Classic Game
    Auburn trailed 16-3 with less than six minutes remaining in the 1972 contest. The Tigers came back to win, 17-16. Here's how it happened: Bill Newton blocked two punts. David Langer scooped up the ball both times for touchdowns.

    Growling Bear
    Bryant underscored the importance of the game when he said he would "rather beat that cow college once than beat Texas 10 times."

    You know it's a real rivalry when
    The two schools hate each other so much the game has to be played on neutral ground. That was the case between 1948 and 1989, when the teams played in Birmingham.

    Bo knows
    When it's time to take out his "A" game. Jackson rushed for 256 yards in the 1983 Iron Bowl, leading Auburn to a 23-20 win.

    How deep does it run?
    The rivalry was suspended for about 40 years because the two schools couldn't agree on how many players could suit up, among other things.

    When former Auburn star Fob James ran for governor in 1978, Alabama fans ran TV and newspaper ads asking Alabamans to just think about it: did they really want a former Auburn player in the governor's mansion?

    Well, sometimes the fans agree
    Pat Dye was an Alabama assistant coach during that 1972 game mentioned above. "We were leading 16-0, and thoroughly dominating, and Auburn finally got close enough to kick a field goal," he recalled. "Everybody in the stadium Legion Field in Birmingham -- 35,000 on one side wearing red, 35,000 on the other wearing orange and blue -- got up and booed Shug (Jordan) for kicking the field goal.

    "Our fans were booing because he'd spoiled the shutout, and their fans were booing because they thought he'd given up. As it turned out, that field goal was the winning margin - but it's the only time I've ever seen both teams' fans stand up and boo the same play."
    --Jeff Merron


    Bracket: College Football's Best Rivalry

    SportsNation: Send a message to your rival

    Ohio State/Michigan vs. Texas/Oklahoma

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