Sunday, December 17, 2006

Paul Johnson and the Fall of Fisher DeBerry

They say that things like this are bound to happen. That in all manner events, whether on or off the football field, all things must eventuall come to an end. For Fisher DeBerry and the Air Force football community, the dynasty built during the 1980s and 1990s has come to a sudden halt following a third consecutive losing season, an event which culminated with the retirment of the 68 year old living legend and the beginning of a new Service Academy football era.

And just as Rome did not fall by the hands of the Visigoths alone, so to can we trace the fall of Fisher DeBerry's Air Force program to a multitude of different causes and events. And while one can dispute the label of "fallen," one certainly cannot find argument in the fact that the Falcons of today are not the Falcons of five, ten, fifteen, or even twenty years ago. The possible explanations for this are many, and in reality we will come to find that it was probably a combination of both internal and external factors which finally slowed DeBerry's Juggernaut. From the advent of a more competitive Mountain West to the changing face of the Air Force Academy's administration, these factors finally came to a head in 2003, which, not by coincidence alone, was also the year another Service Academy asserted itself onto a winning stage. But for the sake of argument, I wish to focus in on only one of the many aspects that contributed to the recent downswing of the Air Force football program, and with it, DeBerry's career; The advent of Paul Johnson's resurgent Navy Football program.
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