Navy Football Makes NCAA History with Helmet Designs Based on Position

  • Navy's hand-painted helmets for the Army-Navy Game. (Image courtesy www.navysports.com)
    Navy's hand-painted helmets for the Army-Navy Game. (Image courtesy www.navysports.com)
  • Quarterback: Aircraft Carrier – The QB of the Naval Fleet, the aircraft carrier is the ultimate decision maker; the “quick strike” weapon of the Naval fleet. (Image courtesy www.navysports.com)
    Quarterback: Aircraft Carrier – The QB of the Naval Fleet, the aircraft carrier is the ultimate decision maker; the “quick strike” weapon of the Naval fleet. (Image courtesy www.navysports.com)
  • Running Back: Littoral Combat Ship – Like running backs, these fast and nimble ships can navigate through both crowded shallow and deep waters. (Image courtesy www.navysports.com)
    Running Back: Littoral Combat Ship – Like running backs, these fast and nimble ships can navigate through both crowded shallow and deep waters. (Image courtesy www.navysports.com)
  • Linebacker: Cruiser -- Provides anti-air defense and packs the biggest punch of Naval surface ships representative of the linebackers on the Navy football team. (Image courtesy www.navysports.com)
    Linebacker: Cruiser -- Provides anti-air defense and packs the biggest punch of Naval surface ships representative of the linebackers on the Navy football team. (Image courtesy www.navysports.com)

Under Armour, the sports apparel company known for its over-the-top college football uniforms, might have topped itself again with the design it unveiled Monday for the Naval Academy football team ahead of this year's Army-Navy rivalry game on Dec. 12 in Philadelphia.

The design includes hand-painted helmets featuring seven classes of ships that make up the U.S. Navy fleet. Different classes of ships will appear on players' helmets based on their position group. For example, the quarterbacks will wear helmets featuring aircraft carrier and the wide receivers submarines.

"First time in NCAA history that a team will have different helmets based upon position," Game Day Series tweeted.

The Naval Academy explained the reasoning for matching each position group with the corresponding class of ship. For example, the linebackers will wear helmets featuring the cruiser because the vessel "provides anti-air defense and packs the biggest punch of Naval surface ships representative of the linebackers on the Navy football team."

For a full rundown, check out this related post at Military.com's entertainment blog Under the Radar. Photos can be found above and at this site.

The uniforms will also feature the historic battle cry "Damn the torpedoes!" on the pants, jerseys and the palms of the players' gloves in homage to Rear Adm. David G. Farragut's naval victory at the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864. Farragut is said to have screamed the order in the midst of the famous Civil War naval battle won by the North.

Players' cleats, base-layer sleeves and jersey shoulders will be colored battleship gray while the pants and jerseys will be blue and gold.

The Marine Corps is honored in the design with the addition of the eagle, globe and anchor emblem on the jersey pants.

Under Armour took over as Navy's uniform sponsor last year and introduced a number of designs that have since received mostly positive reviews. The Baltimore-based company signed a 10-year deal in 2013 to outfit Navy teams.

It has become tradition for Army and Navy to introduce special uniforms for their annual game but the crowds in the stadium typically had to wait until the players ran onto the field to see the new design. Under Armour is calling this year's Army-Navy design the "Navy Fleet" uniforms.

Recently, Under Armour and Nike, Army's uniform sponsor, have unveiled the jersey designs early. Nike officials have not said when they will release the design of West Point's uniforms. Previous designs have featured the Army's camouflage patterns to mixed reviews.

Navy enters this year's Army-Navy Game again as heavy favorites riding a 13-game win streak against Army. The Midshipmen are led by senior quarterback Keenan Reynolds, a fringe Heisman candidate.

--Michael Hoffman is a contributor to Military.com and can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com. Follow him on Twitter at @_MichaelHoffman.

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