It wasn't the Heisman Napoleon McCallum had in his hand, but it wasn't bad. Among the cherished spoils of a dreamy day was an admiral's shoulder board thrust his way by none other than the chief of Naval Operations.
"Got a gift for you," McCallum remembers Adm. James Watkins saying in the jubilant Navy dressing room before making him an honorary equal. Oh, well, just another Napoleon for the ages.
The battlefield promotion came after McCallum ran for 25 more yards than the entire Army stable that takes inordinate pride in its ground game. Check these numbers:
McCallum, 217 yards rushing. McCallum, 49 yards on kickoff returns. McCallum, 10 yards pass receiving. His postgame production was fairly scant, however, because his classmates had the good sense to carry him to midfield on their shoulders.
This was the final chance for him to view 1985 as a vintage athletic year. Beating Army atones for a whole lot, and beating Army at Army's game is especially glowing.
Had he and his teammates been as inspired -- and lucky -- in four games they lost by a total of 15 points, Navy would be toasting a winning season and the Heisman gang might have needed the Metroliner for its presentation.
"Guess I'm a little late," he said, after being informed that Bo Jackson had won the Heisman.
Where'd I finish? he wondered.
Until he dashes into the pros five years hence, this will be the game that lingers longest for McCallum. One McCallum moment will be savored for seasons in the minds of the sellout crowd here.
With 2:46 left in the game and Navy second-and-four on the Army 24, the Cadets called time. Behind by 14-7, this was Army's last stand, and everybody on the sideline wanted to be part of it.
Stars and scrubs, coaches and nonthinking aides gathered in maybe the largest football huddle of 'em all. Every bit of strategy and will was channeled toward one thought:
Stop No. 30.
Navy surely would go with its best. Once earlier, in sort of a similar situation, the Midshipmen had passed on McCallum and passed. That incompletion led to a punt.
On the drive that got them the lead, the Midshipmen fooled Army by sending Chuck Smith full speed ahead into the end zone on first-and-goal from the five.
So late with so much on the line, Navy surely was not about to resort to trickery. It would plant the ball in the belly of the fellow Coach Gary Tranquill simply he officials didn't see it my way.
"I wasn't tired at all (in the final period). The weather was cool, and I was properly dressed."
Would he like a Heisman recount?
"I'm not gonna answer that," he said.
So it's almost over, a stunning career that has allowed him to meet the President, gotten him to Romania and aboard an aircraft carrier. He graduates in nine days and will help recruit minority students for the Academy until supply school starts in mid-June.
Barring injury, McCallum sees the next five years as a longer-than-usual halftime to his football fantasy. With the proper work habits and allocation of leave, he hopes for a Staubach-like assault on the NFL.
Until yesterday, his return for an extra season had been more sad than sensational.
"I just wanted to have a great game," he said of his pregame mood. "I was worried about having a great game."
And now? Had all the adversity been worthwhile.
"Yeah," the new admiral said. "Yeah. This is even better than I thought."