The Army Perspective: A Q&A With 2 Black Knights On Army-NavyA Sports Scribe, Football — By J. Clinkscales on December 19, 2013 at 10:11 am
After the cacophony of bowl selections and coaching changes at the end of the regular season, there’s one college football game that takes center stage in the most unique of settings. It’s showcased as the definitive display of honor, duty and valor for young men who embark on careers where the enemy is no longer another player. And yet, there’s something deeper and almost unseen that fills the air when these two teams meet.
This past weekend, the 114th annual Army-Navy Game was the latest chapter of the third-longest rivalry in college football, dating back to 1890. Whether in peacetime or the backdrop of war, the Black Knights from West Point and the Midshipmen out of Annapolis have played each other annually since 1930 in one of the deepest antagonisms in college sports. Though the game ended in a 12fth consecutive victory for Navy, the love could never be lost for the Army faithful. In fact, there was none before or after Saturday’s affair.
Prior to this weekend’s game, TSFJ had the honor and pleasure of speaking with two former members of the Army Black Knights. Aaron Alexander was a highly scouted wide receiver out of Louisiana before choosing West Point over Tulane and Louisiana-Monroe (with some attention from SEC schools as well). Battling injuries in his college career, Alexander shined by becoming Army’s all-time leading receiver in 2004 (Jeremy Trimble eclipsed him in 2007).
Seth Nieman, a North Dakota native, started 24 straight games as a junior and senior right tackle in 2004 and 2005. He briefly stayed at West Point after graduation before being stationed in Kentucky and serving two tours in Iraq. Though wounded in action, Nieman continues to wave the flag for nation, Army and, of course, his football family.
Alexander and Nieman talked about the deeper meaning of the game and rivalry between the service academies, the politics of being overlooked by the NFL, and memories of Army-Navy now a few years removed.