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I Can’t Be The Only One Who Thinks If The Troops Wanted To They Could Put Together A Football Team And Fail To Execute A Proper Tush Push

11:31 AM EST on December 10, 2023

Army Black Knights defensive lineman Cody Winokur (93) screams after the win as Army takes on Navy at Gillette on December 9.
Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald via Getty

I’m writing this post almost entirely because I wanted to use the above headline, so let’s get to the money play and work backwards from there.

Some background is required. Yesterday was the annual meeting between Army and Navy, a formerly big deal of a football game that is now watched exclusively by John Feinstein, Bill Belichick, and no one else. Army, wearing uniforms that even Sean McDermott felt were a bit much, dominated the game for the first 47 minutes. Or anyway they dominated as much as a team could dominate the typically offense-free meetings between these two teams. Even when Navy’s offense came alive to score a touchdown to pull within 17-9 with less than three minutes to go, the Black Knights still looked poised to lock down the win after easily recovering the ensuing onside kick.

But Navy still had two timeouts in their back pocket and used them to get the ball back at their own 27 with 1:20 to go. Now, asking Navy’s offense to drive 73 yards in that amount of time is like asking the United States to win a war in the Middle East. But goddamn if QB Tai Lavatai wasn’t up to the task, leading the Midshipmen all the way down to Army’s 6 with 22 seconds left to go.

This is when I announced, “We got ourselves a ballgame!” to my wife and kids, who did not look up from their phones after I said it.

Lavatai threw two incompletions from the 6, but managed a third down completion to fullback (of course) Alex Tecza to get the ball to the 2 with seven seconds left. The problem was that Tecza went down in bounds on that play, and Navy was out of timeouts. So the clock kept on ticking down, down, down. Our brave little sailor men had just one last play to run, and little time to think about it. They could have passed the ball. They could have run a triple option. They could have done a lot of different things.

But because I haven’t heard enough about the fucking tush push in the past year, Navy hurried up and ran a surprise tush push from the two. A reverse Pearl Harbor, if you will. The gambit failed. Lavatai got stoned, Army took over on downs, and the Commander In Chief trophy will now go to West Point. Many cadets were hazed in celebration.

As for me, I was disappointed that Navy came up short in the end. I expected more from our troops. Our troops are our heroes. They are our first and last line of defense against tyranny. I expect these men to able to coordinate a surprise QB sneak offensive with equal parts shock and awe. They did no such thing yesterday, and I’ll never trust our military again because of it.

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