Navy’s helmets are gold with a black face mask and a black anchor on either side and include hand-painted details to make them appear timeworn. Two black stripes run down the center with the Nos. 12 and 27, for Staubach and Bellino, respectively, at the crown of the head.
The uniforms, designed by Under Armour, mimic the outfits worn during the early 1960s, the heyday of Navy football, when the Midshipmen achieved a No. 2 ranking in both the Associated Press and UPI Coaches polls in 1963. They fell in the Cotton Bowl, 28-6, to national champion Texas.
The Navy teams in that era also wore blue tops with gold shoulder stripes, Under Armour found in its research, according to a video released by the team describing the uniform design process.
“That almost was like the aha moment,” Nick Billiris, Under Armour’s senior design director, said in the video.
Army’s uniforms, meanwhile, honor the branch’s 1st Cavalry Division, which implemented the first large-scale use of helicopters during the war in Vietnam, allowing for the mobilization of large contingents of soldiers. The Black Knights will wear white tops with an army green shoulder yoke and green pants with “United States” printed on the right side in a font that mirrors the lettering on UH-1 “Huey” helicopters used in that conflict.
Army’s helmets are green and feature the gold-crossed sabers insignia made famous by the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, who wore the mark as a pin on Stetson hats.
The Midshipmen (9-2, 7-1 AAC) enter the Army-Navy game riding a two-game winning streak that includes a 35-28 victory Nov. 23 over Southern Methodist, which was No. 25 in the College Football Playoff rankings.
They’re also reveling in some regular season accolades. AAC coaches on Wednesday voted senior quarterback Malcolm Perry the conference’s offensive player of the year and Coach Ken Niumatalolo the coach of the year.
Army and Navy will play for the 120th time Dec. 14 in Philadelphia. Navy leads the series 60-52-7, but Army (5-7) holds a three-year winning streak.