The importance of the Army-Navy football rivalry never needs stressed to those on the field and is rarely questioned by those off it. But on Dec. 1, 2001, in Philadelphia, less than three months after terrorists attacked U.S. soil and less than two months after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, the game’s symbolic link to service and sacrifice resonated in a very real, very immediate way.
In the postgame photo above, Army’s Brent Dial (21) and Navy’s Ed Malinowski (10), Chris Wade (43) and Chandler Sims (6) stand united. Dial shows none of the happiness one would expect after a 26-17 victory over a rival. The Navy trio — including Malinowski, who served as captain through a winless season — may appear defeated, for the moment, but not broken. More important missions were ahead.
Read more about the players from the 2001 game in 10th-anniversary features here and here, including notes on Dial and Malinowski — both deployed to Iraq, twice — and on the two players from the 2001 game who died supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.