Why do the Army and Navy have Football Teams? (Full Details!)

Last Updated on October 3, 2023 by Alex PT

The Army and Navy have football teams because football fosters teamwork, discipline, and physical fitness, which align with their values. The Army-Navy football rivalry also promotes camaraderie and tradition.

Why do the army and navy have football teams?

army and navy have football teams

For clarity, the army and navy in the armed forces of the United States don’t have an official team in football. Rather, the football teams are made up of young cadets and midshipmen admitted into the service academies of both military branches. As an additional means to maintain physical fitness and good physical shape, The service academies of the Army and the Navy commonly engage in sporting activities. Football is regarded as a team sport and is seen as a way of instilling leadership qualities and discipline in the students. In reality, both the army and the navy team are not represented by men on active duty in the military. They are made up of young cadets and midshipmen studying in the colleges within the service academies. Although these players are regarded as college students fundamentally, they are also considered to be active service members of the armed forces.

Where are the army and navy service academies located?

The army football team we see today is the NCAA collegiate team for the United States Military Academy. The school is situated in West Point, New York, and is widely recognized as the oldest of all the five federal service academies in the United States. On the other hand, The united Naval Academy is located in Annapolis, Maryland.

What is the army team called and where do they play football?

The Army Service Academy football team is fondly called the black knights. Although the team is open to playing in various football stadiums for away games, they have a standard stadium built on the United States military academy in West Point, New York city called Michie stadium. For home games in football, the Michie stadium serves as the hosting ground for the army black knights at West point.

Which military branch has the best team in football?

Which military branch has the best team in football

Sporting activities within the service academies have been a competitive affair and have produced spectacular rivalries through the years. In the history of football in particular, the army has been the best in terms of national championship victories. The navy football team has earned the bragging rights in recent years with victories in one of the tensest rivalries in college football. Statistically, it is safe to say the Navy team has been a better football side in recent years.

Have army and navy football teams ever faced each other?

Yes! Football matches between the black knights and midshipmen are arguably the biggest showpiece in college games. The two service academies have faced off on several occasions and the games have produced intense rivalry over several decades. Amidst fanfare and massive attendance of spectators during the games between the two teams, the passion and commitment of players are always top-notches which have projected this occasion as the most anticipated game in the history of college football.

Statistically, the army football team has secured more victories in these contests than their navy counterpart although the navy has turned a corner in that regard in recent years. Below is a table showing the results of the last six games between the long-standing rivals. 

December 10, 2016.BaltimoreArmy21-17
December 9, 2017.Philadelphia Army14-13
December 8, 2018.PhiladelphiaArmy17-10
December 14, 2019.Philadelphia Navy31-7
December 12, 2020.West point, NY

December 11, 2021.Metlife stadium, New jersey.


For the record, the black knights (army football team) have been the superior team over the years but the naval team has stepped up the gear by recording an impressive and dominant victory over their rival in the last time out.

Has anyone in the army or navy team ever been drafted in the NFL?

Yes! Although the chances are always slim to get drafted from college football into the NFL, it remains a possibility it has happened to players in the past who went on to become superstars in the game. Players like Jerry Rice, Terry Bradshaw, and Tyreek Hill is a the player were previously drafted from varsity games in the NFL. The only downside to such a call is that service academy graduates are expected to fulfill their contractual obligations which are usually 5 years in active military service. However, a waiver might be signed for such personnel after two years to resign and proceed with their journey as professional player in the NFL.


We have a compiled list of frequently asked questions about why the Army and navy have football teams. Let’s check them out!

Are the army and navy the same?

No! As branches of the United States armed forces, the army operates on land while the navy primarily operates on the sea.

Why don’t the marines have a football team like the army and navy?

Simply because the Marine Corps is administratively under the Navy and does not have its own service academy.

Why is the army football team called the black knights?

Initially, the Army Service Academy football team was nicknamed the ‘black knights of Hudson’ before it was eventually shortened to the ‘black knights’. Historically, the name was adopted due to the black color of its uniform.

Can the marines play navy football?

Yes! The Marines are under the Navy administrative and they don’t operate a service academy. Marine Corps cadet attends the United States Naval Academy and is ultimately allowed to play for the navy football team.

Closing thoughts 

The army and naval football teams are formed and represented by the cadets and midshipmen of their respective service academies. Fondly called the West Point and Annapolis Academy respectively, the students of both United States Armed Forces divisions commonly engage in football, and games between them are regarded as the biggest events in the history of college football worldwide.

This article was aimed to provide enough resources to answer your queries about the article topic and we do hope you find this write-up informative enough in that regard. Kindly reach out to us via the comment section if you have more questions.



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