Commander-in-Chief's Trophy


Commander-in-Chief's Trophy
The Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, showing the Army side
Showing the side of the current trophy holder, Army.
Air Force Falcons logo.svg Army West Point logo.svg Navy Athletics logo.svg
Air Force
Black Knights
Originated: 1972; 49 years ago (1972)
Current Holder: Army

Air Force (20)
1982   1983
1985   1987
1989   1990
1991   1992
1994   1995
1997   1998
1999   2000
2001   2002
2010   2011
2014   2016
Army (9)
1972   1977
1984   1986
1988   1996
2017   2018
Navy (16)
1973   1975
1978   1979
1981   2003
2004   2005
2006   2007
2008   2009
2012   2013
2015   2019
Shared Awards (4)
1974   1976   1980   1993
[Interactive fullscreen map]
Locations of Air Force, Army, and Navy

The Commander-in-Chief's Trophy is awarded to each season's winner of the American college football series among the teams of the U.S. Military Academy (Army Black Knights), the U.S. Naval Academy (Navy Midshipmen), and the U.S. Air Force Academy (Air Force Falcons).

The Navy–Air Force game is normally played on the first Saturday in October, the Army–Air Force game on the first Saturday in November, and the Army–Navy Game on the second Saturday in December. In the event of a tie, the award is shared, but the previous winner retains physical possession of the trophy. The Commander-in-Chief's Trophy and the Michigan MAC Trophy are the only NCAA Division I FBS triangular rivalry trophies awarded annually. The few others, such as the Florida Cup and the Beehive Boot, are contested sporadically.

Through 2020, the Air Force Falcons hold the most trophy victories with 20. The Navy Midshipmen, have won 16. The current winners, the Army Black Knights, trail with 9. The trophy has been shared on four occasions, most recently in 1993.

After the cancelation of the 2020 Navy-Notre Dame game, the Army-Air Force game is now the longest uninterrupted intersectional rivalry in college football with a game played every season since 1971.

History of the trophy

Air Force first played Army in 1959 and Navy in 1960; prior to 1972, Air Force met Army in odd years and Navy in even years (and neither in 1961, 1962, 1964). The Commander-in-Chief's trophy was the brainchild of Air Force General George B. Simler, a former Air Force Academy athletic director who envisioned the trophy as a means to create an annual series of football games for the Air Force Academy against the Military Academy and the Naval Academy. First awarded in 1972 by President Richard Nixon, the trophy itself is jointly sponsored by the alumni associations of the three academies.[1][2]

The trophy is named for the U.S. President, who is the Commander-in-Chief of all U.S. military services under the U.S. Constitution. The President has personally awarded the trophy on a number of occasions. During the 1980s, for instance, President Ronald Reagan presented the award in an annual White House ceremony. In 1996, President Bill Clinton presented the trophy to the Army team at Veterans Stadium after the Army–Navy Game. From 2003 to 2007, President George W. Bush presented the trophy to Navy teams at ceremonies in the White House.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the winner of the trophy, if bowl eligible, was granted an invitation to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee.[3]

Navy was the first to five wins in 1981, while Army won its fifth in 1988 and Air Force in 1989 to knot the series (five wins each with three shares). Air Force has led since their win in 1990, and dominated through 2002, with sixteen wins to Army's six. Winless in the series for over two decades, Navy reeled off seven consecutive sweeps from 2003 through 2009 to draw close.

In the annual series, Air Force plays a home game and a road game, usually both on campus, hosting Navy in even-numbered years and Army in odd years. Exceptions have included Air Force playing Navy at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium in Maryland in 1999 and Army at Globe Life Field in Texas in 2021.[4][5] Army–Navy is a neutral site game, usually in a major eastern metropolitan area and most frequently in Philadelphia. Home games for Army–Navy are usually the result of circumstance, such as the 1942 and 1943 editions being moved to Annapolis and West Point due to World War II and 2020 at Army's campus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.[6]

The other two federal service academies – the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy – do not participate in this competition. They are approximately one-quarter the size of the three Department of Defense (DoD) academies and compete in Division III athletics, so they do not compete against the DoD military academies in most sports. The Coast Guard Bears and Merchant Marine Mariners have an annual football rivalry for the Secretaries Cup.

The trophy

The trophy itself stands 2.5 feet (0.76 m) high and weighs 170 lb (77 kg). The design consists of three silver footballs in a pyramid-like arrangement, set on a circular base, with three arc-shaped sections cut out – one for each academy. In each of the cut-out areas stands a silver figurine of the mascot of one of the academies, in front of small, engraved plates denoting which years the respective academy has won the trophy. Beneath each of the three silver footballs is the crest of one of the three academies.

When Air Force has possession of the trophy, it is displayed in a glass case in the Cadet Fieldhouse, the indoor sports complex at the Air Force Academy. When Navy has possession of the trophy, it is displayed in a glass case in Bancroft Hall, the Midshipmen's dormitory. When Army possesses the trophy, it is housed in a glass case outside the football offices in the Army West Point Sports Hall of Fame, part of the Kimsey Athletic Center in Michie Stadium.

Game results and trophy winners

In the event of a shared award, the previous year's winner retains custody of the trophy.

Air Force victories Army victories Navy victories Shared trophies and tied games No game played, no trophy awarded and future events
Season Trophy Winner Air Force – Navy score Air Force – Army score Army – Navy score
Before Trophy Established
1890–1958 N/A Not played Not played See Army-Navy Game
1959 N/A Not played 13–13[a] 43–12[b]
1960 N/A 35–3[c] Not played 17–12[b]
1961 N/A Not played Not played 13–7[b]
1962 N/A Not played Not played 34–14[b]
1963 N/A Not played 14–10[d] 21–15[b]
1964 N/A Not played Not played 11–8[b]
1965 N/A Not played 14–3[d] 7–7[b]
1966 N/A 15–7[e] Not played 20–7[b]
1967 N/A Not played 10–7[e] 19–14[b]
1968 N/A 26–20[d] Not played 21–14[b]
1969 N/A Not played 13–6[f] 27–0[b]
1970 N/A 26–3[g] Not played 11–7[b]
1971 N/A Not played 20–7[e] 24–23[b]
Trophy Established
1972 Army (1) 21–17[e] 17–14[f] 23–15[b]
1973 Navy (1) 42–6[h] 43–10[e] 51–0[b]
1974 Shared (Navy retained trophy) (1) 19–16[e] 17–16[f] 19–0[b]
1975 Navy (2) 17–0[g] 33–3[e] 30–6[b]
1976 Shared (Navy retained trophy) (2) 13–3[e] 24–7[f] 38–10[b]
1977 Army (2) 10–7[h] 31–6[e] 17–14[b]
1978 Navy (3) 37–8[e] 28–14[f] 28–0[b]
1979 Navy (4) 13–9[h] 28–7[e] 31–7[b]
1980 Shared (Navy retained trophy) (3) 21–20[e] 47–24[f] 33–6[i]
1981 Navy (5) 30–13[h] 7–3[e] 3–3[i]
1982 Air Force (1) 24–21[e] 27–9[f] 24–7[i]
1983 Air Force (2) 44–17[h] 41–20[e] 42–13[j]
1984 Army (3) 29–22[e] 24–12[f] 28–11[i]
1985 Air Force (3) 24–7[h] 45–7[e] 17–7[i]
1986 Army (4) 40–6[e] 21–11[f] 27–7[i]
1987 Air Force (4) 23–13[h] 27–10[e] 17–3[i]
1988 Army (5) 34–24[e] 28–15[f] 20–15[i]
1989 Air Force (5) 35–7[h] 29–3[e] 19–17[k]
1990 Air Force (6) 24–7[e] 15–3[f] 30–20[i]
1991 Air Force (7) 46–6[h] 25–0[e] 24–3[i]
1992 Air Force (8) 18–16[e] 7–3[f] 25–24[i]
1993 Shared (Air Force retained trophy) (4) 28–24[h] 25–6[e] 16–14[k]
1994 Air Force (9) 43–21[e] 10–6[f] 22–20[i]
1995 Air Force (10) 30–20[h] 38–20[e] 14–13[i]
1996 Army (6) 20–17[e] 23–7[f] 28–24[i]
1997 Air Force (11) 10–7[h] 24–0[e] 39–7[k]
1998 Air Force (12) 49–7[e] 35–7[f] 34–30[i]
1999 Air Force (13) 19–14[l] 28–0[e] 19–9[i]
2000 Air Force (14) 27–13[e] 41–27[f] 30–28[m]
2001 Air Force (15) 24–18[l] 34–24[e] 26–17[i]
2002 Air Force (16) 48–7[e] 49–30[f] 58–12[k]
2003 Navy (6) 28–25[l] 31–3[e] 34–6[n]
2004 Navy (7) 24–21[e] 31–22[f] 42–13[n]
2005 Navy (8) 27–24[h] 27–24[e] 42–23[n]
2006 Navy (9) 24–17[e] 43–7[f] 26–14[n]
2007 Navy (10) 31–20[h] 30–10[e] 38–3[m]
2008 Navy (11) 33–27[e] 16–7[f] 34–0[n]
2009 Navy (12) 16–13 (OT)[h] 35–7[e] 17–3[n]
2010 Air Force (17) 14–6 [e] 42–22 [f] 31–17 [n]
2011 Air Force (18) 35–34 (OT) [h] 24–14 [e] 27–21 [l]
2012 Navy (13) 28–21 (OT) [e] 41–21 [f] 17–13 [n]
2013 Navy (14) 28–10 [h] 42–28 [e] 34–7 [n]
2014 Air Force (19) 30–21 [e] 23–6 [f] 17–10 [m]
2015 Navy (15) 33–11 [h] 20–3 [e] 21–17 [n]
2016 Air Force (20) 28–14 [e] 31–12 [f] 21–17 [m]
2017 Army (7) 48–45 [h] 21–0 [e] 14–13 [n]
2018 Army (8) 35–7 [e] 17–14 [f] 17–10 [n]
2019 Navy (16) 34–25 [h] 17–13 [e] 31–7 [n]
2020 Army (9) 40–7 [e] 10–7 [f] 15–0 [f]
2021 TBD (Army retains trophy) 23–3 [h] 21–14 (OT) [o] December 11 [p]
Season Trophy winner Air Force – Navy Air Force – Army Army – Navy
Records since 1972 Air Force: 29–21  (.580) Air Force: 34–16  (.680) Navy: 30–18–1  (.622)
All-time Records Air Force: 32–22  (.593) Air Force: 37–18–1  (.670) Navy: 61–53–7  (.533)
Records since Trophy Established
Team Trophies Last W L T Pct.
  Air Force   20 2016 63 37 0 .630
Navy 16 2019 51 47 1 .520
Army 9 2020 34 64 1 .348
  • Four shared trophies, last in 1993
  • Only tie was in 1981 (Army–Navy, 3–3)
  • Overtime for Division I-A regular season introduced in 1996
    • Four OT games, three between Navy (2–1) and Air Force, one between Army (1–0) and Air Force.

See also


  1. ^ Staff Sgt. Raymond Hoy (April 18, 2011). "Falcons bring home Commander-in-Chief's Trophy". Archived from the original on July 24, 2012.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  2. ^ Kyle Meadows (July 24, 2008). "The Top Ten College Football Rivalry Trophies". Bleacher Report.
  3. ^ John Cavanaugh (November 12, 1989). "College Football: Boston College Surprises Army". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Orton, Kathy (February 11, 1999). "Air Force, Navy set for Cooke Stadium". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  5. ^ Collins, Sean (November 3, 2021). "College football takes center stage at Globe Life Field with this weekend's Army-Air Force matchup". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  6. ^ Maisel, Ivan (December 10, 2020). "Can't stop, won't stop: Army-Navy plays on despite different location and pandemic". ESPN. Retrieved November 4, 2021.