As unique sporting venues go, it’s tough to top basketball aboard a carrier, even if fresh air isn’t an option.
But the flattop festivities in San Diego have overshadowed another classic off-site military matchup this weekend: Rutgers vs. Army football, at Yankee Stadium (3:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network). Far from unique, Army’s visits to the original Yankee Stadium were a yearly occurrence in the mid-20th century, and drew a little more attention than an afternoon slot on a cable network with a three-digit number.
For example, take this highlight reel, apparently from the 1927 Army-Notre Dame game (tough to confirm without audio or scoreboard or even a digital first-down line, but the view over the left field fence matches Yankee Stadium pics from the era):[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-yT-P_M2d4&feature=channel_video_title[/youtube]
Army’s never faced Rutgers in the Bronx and hasn’t won there since edging Syracuse 9-6 in 1960. Rutgers hasn’t played there since 1948, beating New York University 40-0. NYU no longer has a football team.
The Black Knights went 14-19-5 at the old stadium, facing Knute Rockne-led Notre Dame clubs, beating Navy twice and managing a 13-13 tie with Air Force in 1959. They’re 0-1 in the new stadium thanks to a 27-3 loss to the Irish last season.
From a 2010 New York Times piece heralding the return of Army football to the Bronx last year:
Those games were the Super Bowl of today,” said Joe Steffy, an Army team captain and lineman in the 1940s. “There was no more famous place to perform any sport than Yankee Stadium, and there was no rivalry bigger than Army and Notre Dame. Many years, it was the national championship game.”
Saturday’s game won’t be mistaken for national championship-caliber. But it’s a nod to history, one of many chances to reflect on when Army football drew a bit more press than a nonconference hoops game featuring snazzy uniforms.
For more on the game, events surrounding it and how to purchase tickets, go here.