Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert has a game-day message. (Meghann Myers / Staff)
Your spirit spot made quite a splash this year. Whose idea was that?
Well, my public affairs officer, [Capt.] Danny Hernandez, thought, “Hey, maybe we could do this.” The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy happens to be Mike. I thought it was a cute video, and Geico thought it was OK, so we did it.
Really, kudos go out to Chief Julianne Metzger and Chief Peter Lawler — they were the videographers. They took all of that and made that a 35-second spot that came together.
What are some of your favorite pregame rituals?
Getting up and kind of thinking about it, watching the pregame show. I always have oatmeal with a special sauce every Army-Navy game. It reminds me of back at the academy.
The Midshipmen went 2-2 back when you were at the academy. What are some of your favorite memories from those games?
Well, the first memory was plebe year. We came all the way back and I thought for sure we were going to win, and we lost in the last minute. And as a plebe, you know, you gotta kind of jog around, and I thought, “Oh, man.”
If you win, all that gets released. You get what’s called carry-on. You can walk, you don’t have to “square corners,” as they say. Life is just better. In the blink of an eye, that went away.*
It was really cold, kind of like today. And it rained a lot, at the end. However, senior year we won by a huge amount. I think it was 51-0 [Editor’s note: It was actually 19-0, the 51-0 win came the year before ], if I remember. It was a huge amount. So those are the two memories. They’re bookends.
So who’s going to win today, and what’s your point prediction?
Navy will win today. Navy will win today because of turnovers. I think my point prediction — I think it will be more score than usual, like a 35-31 kind of a thing. That’d be my view.
The academy’s had some bad press this year. What does an event like this do to lift spirits?
Well, no matter what the year is like, this is Army-Navy. This is heritage, tradition, bringing everybody — not just the school together, they’re the Navy’s team as well. So regardless of the year. Good year, bad year. And I think the academy’s had a good year overall.
*Check out www.usna-parents.org for more on what happens to the plebes when Navy loses.