Five quick midweek military sports links, starting with an appreciation:
1. NFL Films and sprint football. Steve Sabol, president of NFL Films, son of its founder and one of the reasons so many people watch professional football on Sundays, died yesterday at 69 after a long fight with brain cancer. Read more about him from our friends at USA Today here. The video above, a 2004 NFL Films short on sprint football, features an Army-Navy showdown and showcases the NFL Films style football fans have come to love — up-close action, a soaring soundtrack, eyeball-gripping interviews, seamless edits, all of it. It’s the history, the speed and the proud legacy (Navy’s Jimmy Carter? Princeton’s Donald Rumsfeld? Who knew?) of sprint football in a little more than six minutes.
2. Sprint update. Speaking of the lightweights, Army and Navy are both 1-0 so far this year, with Navy visiting Princeton this weekend and Army taking on Post University in the Adirondack Trust Allegiance Bowl.
3. Team USA shooting. As it was in London, military men and women are all over the National Rifle and Pistol Teams selected earlier this week by USA Shooting. Army spouse Jaime Gray, the only U.S. rifle shooter to take gold in London, leads the rifle squad. Joining Gray are four members of the Army Marksmanship Unit: Sgts. 1st Class Jason Parker and Eric Uptagrafft, Staff Sgt. Michael McPhail and Sgt. Joe Hein. Uptagrafft’s wife, Navy Reserve Information Systems Technician 1st Class Sandra Uptagrafft, is on the pistol team, along with Army World Class Athlete Program members Sgts. 1st Class Daryl Szarenski and Keith Sanderson.
4. MMA headline of the day. Courtesy of ESPN.co.uk: “Respectful Bisping says Stann is intimidated.” Military MMA fans might have trouble figuring out which part makes less sense — a former Marine, much less a Silver Star recipient, such as Brian Stann being “intimidated,” or Michael Bisping being respectful. Stann and Bisping face off in Toronto at UFC 152 on Saturday.
5. Air Force winning name game. We rarely touch on football recruiting, unless it involves an admiral’s son — the service academies don’t run in the same circles as powerhouse conferences, and the skill set needed to make it through academy life goes beyond the gridiron. That said, when Air Force makes an offer to a prep star with the name Weston Steelhammer, it’s worth mentioning. The Louisiana product has gotten his share of glowing write-ups for his play at defensive back, quarterback and wide receiver. One thing’s for sure — landing him gets Air Force a mention here. Finally, another service academy might have somebody to keep up with this guy.