When Army and Navy butt heads Dec. 8, give the Midshipmen the edge on looks, at least. Their football helmets will bear the logo of a goat. Not just any old goat. The emblem on their headgear, gloves and cleats will be — for the first time — that of Navy’s goat, Bill, as a tribute to the purebred white Angoras that have been the team’s mascot for more than a century.
For years, in the run-up to the Army-Navy game, West Point cadets have made it their mission to snatch the cloven-hoofed beast, occasionally with success.
In 2012, Bill was goat-napped and left tethered to a post outside the Pentagon.
Forty years earlier, Army swiped Bill, then photographed him flanked by several cadets and posted it as an ad in the New York Times with a snide caption: “Hey Navy, do you know where your kid is today? The corps does.”
How devious can Army be? In 1965, cadets sneaked the creature off the Academy’s dairy farm in Gambrills by persuading a carload of teen-age girls to “distract” the goat’s guards.
Once, the theft backfired. In 1953, Army seized Bill and whisked him back to West Point. En route, the goat ate the back seat of the car.
Another time (1990), Navy — fearing a heist — hid its mascot and replaced him with a smelly, ornery double. Army took the bait.
Nowadays, Navy takes no chances, employing two goats instead of one. This year, Bill XXXVI and XXXVII will prowl the sidelines, heads held high — proud, no doubt, of the horns on the Midshipmen’s helmets.