Now that Army football has completed what was a less-than-rewarding trip to Hawaii, focus for both the Black Knights and the Navy Midshipmen moves to where fans of both schools have been focused most of the season — onto the Dec. 14 showdown in Philadelphia, where Navy (7-4) will attempt to win its 12th straight over Army (3-8).
That leaves about two weeks for hype. And aspiring video producers are already off and running.
Here are four early spirit spots — two from each side — and a few notes on each. Also, it’s not too late to enter the game’s official spirit spot contest, which could earn you free tickets, a parking pass and field access. (After Action’s unofficial contest offers nothing but the knowledge of a job well done; send us your clips anyway.)
1. ‘Suit & Tie’ — SDB Version
Pro: Based on the Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z megahit, this offering features slick production values and impressive dance moves, all while serving as a love song to the service dress blue uniform — and explaining how Army has no chance.
Con: The message is clear, but the delivery vehicle could be questioned — when it comes to intimidation factor, the guy-dancing-around-explaining-how-nice-his-outfit-looks approach may not be the best way to go.
Verdict: If nothing else, it signals that fans should expect a variety of dance/music offerings this year, rather than “Gangnam Style” overload.
2. The Longest Throw
Pro: Task Force Phoenix, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, sent this one in from Afghanistan and made several stops along the way from West Point, showing that the Navy isn’t alone with this “Global force for good” thing.
Con: Can’t quite place the voice belting out “Freedom,” the song that makes up the video’s infectious soundtrack? It’s the one and only David Hasselhoff. Unsure he’d be the top of most folks’ super-patriotic playlist; was Lee Greenwood out sick?
Verdict: No better way to snub the Navy than to have your video’s protagonist travel from San Francisco to Afghanistan via … long jump. A strong entry despite some audio problems (heavy wind picked up by the microphone, for example. Also, Hasselhoff).
3. My N-Star was Earned
Pro: A clever take on the USAA commercial series honoring current and former service members, mixed in with some shout-outs for other Navy athletics programs and pretty good digs at the Black Knights — freeze that last frame and read the fine print.
Con: Not that a commercial or a spirit spot has to toe the line, truth-wise, but it’s not like every single Navy team won its rivalry game every year this millennium: The Mids edged Army in “star games” in 2012-13 — winning 12, losing 10 and tying 1 — by the Navy’s own math.
Verdict: Some might see this as pandering to the game’s official sponsor. Those people probably won’t win the tickets.
4. Hospital Spirit Spot
Pro: Company F2’s take on commercial parody, a spoof of phone company ads like this one, confirms a long-held theory that everything sounds cuter when kids say it, even when one of the kids is pretending a toy is a midshipman and proceeding to slam it to the ground.
Con: You want a “con” for adorable kids comparing losing to Navy with eating peas? Look somewhere else. (Key quote: “Nobody likes eating peas.”)
Verdict: The best spirit spot so far that’s featured folks dressed up as a banana and a gorilla. Hands down.
Let us know what you think of these clips, and if you see better (or worse) from either side, leave a link in the comments below.