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New Uniforms Honor Army's 82nd Airborne, Navy Heisman Winner

  • Army's new Nike uniforms honor the World War II-era 82nd Airborne Division. Navy's Under Armour designs throw back to 1963 when Navy quarterback Roger Staubach won the Heisman Trophy. (Courtesy photos)
    Army's new Nike uniforms honor the World War II-era 82nd Airborne Division. Navy's Under Armour designs throw back to 1963 when Navy quarterback Roger Staubach won the Heisman Trophy. (Courtesy photos)
  • Army helmets feature symbols of 82nd units and a lattice design mimics the netting covering the helmets worn by paratroopers during World War II. (Photo courtesy Nike)
    Army helmets feature symbols of 82nd units and a lattice design mimics the netting covering the helmets worn by paratroopers during World War II. (Photo courtesy Nike)
  • Navy's helmets feature 14 stars down the middle to signify the 14 straight wins Navy has accumulated over Army. (Photo courtesy Under Armour)
    Navy's helmets feature 14 stars down the middle to signify the 14 straight wins Navy has accumulated over Army. (Photo courtesy Under Armour)

Army's football players will take the field Saturday wearing uniforms specially designed to honor the World War II-era 82nd Airborne Division, while Navy will wear throwback uniforms similar to the ones the team wore in 1963 when Navy quarterback Roger Staubach won the Heisman Trophy.

Unveiling the teams' uniforms has become a part of Army-Navy week leading up to the game. The uniform sponsors issue special press releases and make special presentations to the team.

Army and Navy will wear these uniforms when the teams play 3 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore in the 117th meeting between the two service academies.

This year, Nike unveiled the 82nd Airborne inspired uniforms to Army's players after a sky diver wearing the uniform landed at midfield in Michie Stadium in West Point, New York. Under Armour presented Navy's uniforms to the team and issued a press release breaking down the history of the uniform.

Army and Navy didn't always have special uniforms for their annual matchup. The teams wore special patches for their annual Army-Navy game, but typically kept their traditional designs.

But much like the services have tried to outdo each other with their camouflage patterns for troops, the service academies have tried to one up each other in recent years with their uniform designs for athletes.

The recent trend kicked off in 2008 when Nike unveiled what the company called the "Enforcer" designs. At the time, Nike sponsored the jerseys for both Army and Navy.

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Army surprised many when the team took the field in 2008 wearing digital camouflage uniforms -- the same pattern worn by soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Navy wore uniforms that blended different components of the service to include pants designed after Marine Corps Elegant Dress Pants.

Under Armour stepped up the uniform competition between the service academies when it joined the fray in 2014 and started sponsoring the Naval Academy's uniforms. Last year, Navy's uniforms, especially their helmets, grabbed the most attention.

Under Armour hand painted helmets with the designs of specific ships for different position groupings for the Navy team. For example, Navy quarterbacks wore helmets with aircraft carriers and running backs wore helmets with Littoral Combat Ships painted on the side.

This year, Army's uniform has stuck out with the 82nd Airborne design. The helmets feature symbols of individual 82nd units and a lattice design mimics the netting covering the helmets worn by paratroopers during World War II.

Nike also chose a muted grey scheme "to express the fact that some of the most treacherous combat jumps happened at night, under the cover of darkness," according to the press release.

Nike designers even made sure the American flag worn on the right shoulders of the players was historically accurate. The flag has 48 stars instead of 50.

Navy's uniforms feature a throwback theme with a prominent gold theme with bright gold pants and helmets. The helmets feature 14 stars down the middle to signify the 14 straight wins Navy has accumulated over Army.

When the Navy team wore the same uniforms in 1963, the slogan was "Drive for Five." This year, the sea service hopes to extend their streak to 15 in a game expected to draw numerous attendees, including President-elect Donald Trump.

-- Michael Hoffman can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com.

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Army-Navy Game