The Army-Navy game has been, is and always will be a special rivalry, no matter what is on the line. Sometimes it’s simply just pride, sometimes a victory would mean a bowl game, and in some cases, like we have this year, the winner will grab hold of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, given to the winner of the triangular series that also includes Air Force.
Ken Niumatalolo joined ESPN 980 in Washington D.C. with The Sports Reporters to discuss the play of NFL rookie Robert Griffin III, the importance of the Army-Navy rivalry game, the pressure given all that is on the line in this year’s matchup and his team being in a bowl game.
What do you think about what Robert Griffin III is doing?:
“I’m just super impressed with what he’s doing. It’s always been said that it’d be tough to do it at that level — just the longevity of it, how long would he be able to last. … As I listen to his interviews, and just everything about him, he’s just the complete package.”
On the importance of the Army-Navy game to the whole U.S. Navy:
“You get different emails and different texts from people, but most of the emails are like, ‘Hey, we’re supporting you guys. Looking forward to watching the game.’ And just for a few hours, they’ll be able to get away a little bit from what they’re doing to enjoy the football game. … It definitely means a lot to all of our Armed Services people.”
Your team has a winning streak in this game dating back to 2002. Does that add any more pressure?:
“That’s one of the factors, and then the other one is the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy is at stake this time. The last two years, Air Force had beaten both of us, so we were just playing for bragging rights. Not we’re not only playing for bragging rights, but the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy and the opportunity to go to the White House, which is our No. 1 goal.”
What does it mean to know that you’re going to a bowl game?:
“You’re just happy for these young guys. … For these guys, not at [the NFL] talent level, they’re done [after their senior year]. So for them to be able to have another game, go enjoy themselves … I’m super excited for them.”
What were your thoughts on last year’s Showtime documentary “Game of Honor” about the Army-Navy game?:
“There’s a lot of emotion that went on through that. It was interesting to see the other side of it. … To see what Army goes through at West Point, you just have a ton of respect for those guys. You kind of know that going into the game, but you realize they’re going through the same things that our guys are going through.”