Carlisle Replaced Navy in Annnual Game With Army

Historians are familiar with Carlisle’s impressive victories over Army, first in 1905 and later in 1912. But few know that Carlisle almost replaced Navy as the Cadet’s end-of-season foe in 1913. Newspapers started hyping the 1913 football season in early August that year. First, it was announced that, “The Army, after several years of defeat by the Navy, is going to follow a new policy this season and there are few hard games on the soldiers’ list. A new feature of Army’s schedule will be a game on November 1 with Notre Dame.” On August 8, a news report datelined Trenton, NJ announced that negotiations were being held to move the Army-Navy game to the local fairgrounds. An August 12 news report out of Annapolis reported that, “Army and Navy football managers are at loggerheads over arrangements for the annual football game. The date is to be Nov. 29. West Point has objected to the number and situation of seats accorded them at Philadelphia and proposed the game be played at West Point and Annapolis alternatively or in New York every year. Navy stands pat on Franklin Field at Philadelphia.”

The August 28 Washington Post announced that the 1913 Army-Navy game was off and that, on that very day, Pop Warner would be signing a contract for the Carlisle Indians to play Army at West Point on November 29. The next day’s paper blared, “West Point-Carlisle Game Is Officially Announced,” “General Dismay at Naval Academy,” and “Took It for Granted That Game Would Eventually Be Arranged.” Army and Navy officials in Washington retained hopes that the inter-service game would yet be played.

On September 2, Navy officials threatened to break off all relations with West Point unless the school’s football teams meet on the playing field that year. The day after that, the Secretary of the War Department called a meeting with the two academies’ athletic directors and hammered out an agreement for Army and Navy to meet on November 29 at the Polo Grounds in New York City. The Washington Post reporter covering this story mused, “Just how Army will get out of the Carlisle muddle remains to be seen.”

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