Sunday, November 04, 2007

God I Love This Game


Where should I start? Where can I start? I mean seriously, after 43 years, more than double my life mind you, where could I possibly start?

I guess the only place to start is at the end, more specifically the play you’ve by now seen a million times, and, if you’re like me, could see a million times again. It was a play that probably never should have happened to be honest, a play that was born from a questionable pass interference penalty that seemed to once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. But after 43 years, three overtimes and a fourth and goal stop called back, Navy’s much aligned defense wasn’t going to settle for another week of woulda, coulda, and shouldas, and wasn’t about to let the window slip away.

It was a fitting end to a game which Navy fans are already calling one of, if not the best finishes in the program’s long history, as Navy’s much maligned defense stood tall and stopped Travis Thomas in the backfield on a second fourth and goal in the third overtime. It was, as it has been said many times today by many different people, the stuff of which legends are born, and I consider myself both extremely blessed and extremely fortunate to have witnessed it in person.
When I got back from the airport this morning I read that Coach Johnson gave the team three keys to success in his pregame speech. He told them, three strait times, to believe that they could win. Never was a cliché more apt or appropriate, and never have they rung more true. Navy won this game for a lot of reasons, many of which we will undoubtedly look into in the coming days, and not the least of which was the final stop on fourth and goal.

But if you ask me, Navy won this game because in the end the Mids wanted it more, and because in the end players like Ram Vela decided that they didn’t want to be the guy who was remembered for missing an easy sack that allowed the Irish to climb back in. It was because a guy like Nate Frazier played his ass off all game, and that what looked to be a hodgepodge of defensive backs before a game showed up and made plays when it mattered.

As I look back on this game, typing this report while watching my taped copy for the second time this evening, I can’t help but stare at disbelief at the screen for a moment, asking myself if this really happened, if I was really there. But watching those vital snapshots, the images of Vela over Allen and Kahur-Pitters rumbling into the endzone let me know that what we saw last night was something that we as Navy fans will never forget.

There have been some people who’ve already started saying that this win doesn’t mean as much because of Notre Dame’s 1-8 record. These people have no idea what they are talking about. As Coach Johnson said last week, this is still Notre Dame, still bigger and stronger, still faster and more athletic, and still filled with 43 years of winning tradition over the Midshipmen. For an outsider, it may have been hard to see a David vs Glioth matchup in a showdown of 1-7 and 4-4 teams, but make no mistake about it, that’s what it was yesterday, and will be for some time to come. But for one time, just one time, David came out top, and in the process vindicated 43 years worth of balls to the walls never-say-die Navy football players. And to think, all it took was a little belief, and a defense that refused to quit.

God, do I love this game.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Those who try to diminish this won for the Midshipman don't understand what Navy football is all about.

No matter what Notre Dame's record is they still get the 5 star/blue chip recruits that Navy just can't get for multiple reasons such as grades, character issues, size restrictions, etc. As Paul Johnson always says "there aren't any guys on our team who got recruited at Notre Dame and there aren't any players at Notre Dame who considered Navy."

That's what makes this win so sweet. Navy was the David in this David and Goliath match up and they won through playing with unrivaled guts, determination and heart - the hallmark of any Academy team and I’d say any Navy Alum.

Great win! Congratulations and go Navy!

Breezy said...

Hey congrats on your victory it took a lot of heart and character to pull off the win @ ND. I really like your blog. It looks a lot like mine, but mines only 2 months old so it has room to grow. Oh yeah my blog is the "Red and Black Attack" and the URL is http://niusports.blogspot.com Can't wait to play you guys in 2 weeks!

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to forget. Notre Dame was 2-7 the year Staubach defeated them.

UMass74 said...

Congrats from the UMass Football nation!

Great to see that streak broken.

Go Navy!

Gary said...

I thought the most incredible play by Ram Vella is what started the Navy D in "their zone" and let Nate Frazier (what an animal )to become an unbelieveble force.
Their determination to end this and not to be denied (nice try by zebras though on " pass interference" call") was truely inspirational.
Perhaps is is the turning point of the much maligned D we have all pounced upon.
So many moments.
I hope the NAAA makes a DVD for all Navy fans of the game.

Anonymous said...

I told you a few times ago that you would beat ND this year because Navy is a better football team.

After a loss to Delaware, you were ready to hang it all up and just write off the whole rest of the season. That's bullshit, man. You gotta keep the faith. You're happy now, but what kind of fan were you when you predicted your own team would get beat by this 1-7 shitty ND team?

Be a fan and keep the faith. You can't get pessimistic even if the worst things happen to your program. You have to expect your team to win every week no matter who they play.

dennis said...

Congrats, I was really pulling for Navy to win (as I'm sure most of America was).

Still kind of upset we (Pitt) lost to you, but congrats again on breaking the streak.

Gary said...

We cant allow ourselves to get too caught up if the team has trouble getting motivated for the next 2 winnable games.
It was wonderful-its been great but lets win this week too.

Adam said...

Wow Gary getting on the all business train a mere two days after the win! I’m not even there yet! Have we seen a shift in outlook?

football dad dan said...

Adam,
I think that Gary may have "found God" in the form of that huge "Touchdown Jesus" mozaic or something??? (o; (o;
Welcome back into the fray Gary ----> Let's hope that in the next couple of games, Navy can jump out to comfortable leads, ... and PJ can cycle in the 2nd team guys for some extended quality minutes of action.
GO NAVY ... Always!

Gary said...

Touchdown Jesus?
I thought that was Kaipo that I saw?
Seriously-
I am very impressed with Kaipo now as to how calm he was and his passes were crisp and if he was not in complete command we would not have won.
That aside......I just would hate the world to be all up on our news and then we get toppled by NT State.
Man I am lovin watching ESPN get all up on our victory- Navy highlights-PJ sound clips- Charlie Weiss looking like he ...well should.
Its also great to hear Navy players say those so called hated words that "beating ND has always meant more to them than beating Army".
I know its always been the most important game to me(but thats me).
I finally see the "exposure" I have moaned about all these years- and isnt it great?
You can see and hear those benefits on TV & radio already.
How about starting plebes?
Wow thats actually great and should be a boost for next year.
Lets just keep on the high and go for the jugular against the last 3 teams and get that Bowl win too.
Hey maybe I should stay away for a bit this week too (it worked well last week).
No matter what I love you guys-this blog-BirdDog and anyone else who loves and lives Navy football.
Damn this was a special day.

Adam said...

Gary,
No need to stay away, we all have are own "pet causes" as far as things we like to see. I think Phelix's hate of Air Force and Dan's hope to see more guys "battle" tested can sure attest to that. I'm with you gentleman, I'd love to see a win by (dare I say) two touchdowns!

Justin said...

I hate to be a bragger guys, but I TOLD YOU SO!!! PJ and the staff have put the ship back on course. GO NAVY!!!