After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY SPORTS

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

Stats? Projections? F$%k that noise. Numbers can’t guarantee wins, but being as tough as nails sure helps. As the 2018 NFL Season enters its third week and fantasy football fans continue to debate advanced metrics, the veterans at We Are The Mighty are taking a different approach to finding the best players across the league.

This week, our team of self-declared fair-weather fans scouted the NFL to find the players worthy of serving on one the military’s most elite units: the Army Special Forces — Operational Detachment Alpha, known exclusively as the “A-Team.”

A Special Forces team is full of quiet professionals, each of whom has a set of unique, special skills, ranging from demolitions to weapons to communications. Earning your place on a Special Forces team takes training, time, and a little luck, but it ultimately comes down to one simple question: Can you perform under pressure?


This results-based mentality is exactly the same approach used by NFL players across the league and, in the season’s opening week, five players have distinguished themselves worthy of making the inaugural “A Team Report.” Some earned this distinguished honor by breaking records while others made the list via sheer, viking-level badassery. Either way, all the players on this week’s A-Team Report stepped up when it mattered.

Here are this week’s picks:

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

(National Football League)

Quarterback C.J. Beathard — San Francisco 49ers

QB C.J. Beathard executes a clean, strategic fake for a touchdown.

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

(National Football League)

Tight End Vance McDonald — Pittsburgh Steelers

TE Vance McDonald smashes through the defense, staying on his feet as he drags the opponent with him.

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

(National Football League)

Running Back Royce Freeman — Denver Broncos

RB Royce Freeman holds not a second too long before exploding through to the endzone.

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

(National Football League)

Tight End Trey Burton — Chicago Bears

TE Trey Burton slides into the endzone on his knees for the first touchdown of the game.

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

(National Football League)

Wide Receiver Michael Gallup — Dallas Cowboys

Rookie WR Michael Gallup goes flying, but holds onto the ball to make the catch for a 30+ yard gain.

MIGHTY SPORTS

Usain Bolt stopped an interview for the US National Anthem

It seems like nothing can stop Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man — except for respect. It would be easy to expect the most dominating runner to ever race across the Earth to be the kind of prima donna athlete that keeps us from wanting to meet our heroes.

Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt just isn’t that way.


After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

Usain Bolt is a triple world-record holder, an 11-time world champion, an eight-time Olympic champion, and a four-time Laureus Sportsman of the Year. In 2017, at just 31 years old, he retired from the track after a short but illustrious career but can still be found having fun with the sport. At Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, he casually tied the NFL record for the 40-yard dash while wearing sneakers and sweatpants.

He’s a guy who likes to have fun with the sport, but never enjoyed the intense training, interviews, or day-long photoshoots required of athletes of his stature. He does like the competition and the showmanship expected of a man who still owns the world record for the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 4×100-meter competition. He even has an infectious wry smile that often spreads to his competition.

But it looks like he takes sportsmanship seriously when it comes to respect for a national anthem, as shown when he stopped in the middle of an interview to stand for the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’

In 2012, Bolt competed in the London Olympics to defend his record. He would ultimately take home three more gold medals from the event but what caught many people’s attention was an interview he did with Television Espanola. During the live interview, the U.S. National Anthem began playing in the stadium. Bolt asked if it was live but turned to face the music anyway, standing silently as the loudspeakers played the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’

The reporter interviewing Bolt followed suit. As soon as the anthem was over, Bolt turned back to the reporter, respectfully apologized, and continued the interview.

MIGHTY SPORTS

Service members face off in a battle of strength

Members of the U.S. military community competed against one another Sept. 29, 2019 in another installment of Okinawa’s Strongest: Battle of the South on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan.

The event was held to determine who were some of the strongest men and women on Okinawa.

“Today went great,” explained Taryn Miller, an adult sports specialist for Marine Corps Community Services. “The weather was awesome. The competitors had a lot of energy. There was a lot of camaraderie along with a competitive edge among everybody.”

Okinawa residents and service members traveled from all across the island to participate in this event.


The competitors were divided into five different weight classes. Two female weight classes and three male weight classes.

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week


U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Ian Dernbach, a heavy equipment operator with III Marine Expeditionary Force Support Battalion, lifts an atlas stone during the Okinawa’s Strongest: Battle of the South, Sept. 29, 2019 on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan.

(Photo by Lance Cpl. Brennan Beauton)

The first event was the yoke carry, which consisted of a competitor carrying a set weight 50 yards in a race against time. The second was a farmer’s carry 100 yards followed by 10 log cleans and presses for time. The third event was the atlas stone lift, which involved the competitors lifting three different stones and placing them on a platform for time.

Competitors with the highest combined score in their weight class at the end of the competition were declared the winners.

The champion from the female weight class up to 150 pounds was U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Kathryn Quandt, a future operations officer with 9th Engineer Support Battalion.

The champion from the male weight class up to 150 pounds was U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Ezekiel Garza, a motor transportation mechanic with III Marine Expeditionary Force Support Battalion.

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Ezekiel Garza, a motor transportation mechanic with III Marine Expeditionary Force Support Battalion, executes a log clean and press during the Okinawa’s Strongest: Battle of the South, Sept. 29, 2019 on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan.

(Photo by Lance Cpl. Brennan Beauton)

The champion from the male 150-to-200 pound weight class was U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Kermeen, a faculty advisor with the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy on Camp Hansen, and the champion from the male over-200-pound weight class was U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Ian Dernbach, a heavy equipment operator with III MEF Support Battalion.

The island-wide Okinawa’s Strongest competition will feature winners from both the Battle of the North and South and will take place in November 2019 on Camp Foster.

“Today’s event had a lot of similar movements that you will see in the event coming up in November 2019 which will have eight different stations as opposed to the three that we had here today,” said Miller. “This was a great way for competitors to get a feel for what it’s going to be like at the big one.”

This article originally appeared on Marines. Follow @USMC on Twitter.

MIGHTY SPORTS

49ers player George Kittle is honoring Gold Star families with custom cleats

Through the My Cause My Cleats campaign, every NFL player can show what they stand for. The campaign gives them the option to choose a special cause or organization to represent on a pair of custom-designed cleats. So far, dozens of players have decked out their shoes for a good cause. Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp chose to support Forever Found, an organization battling child trafficking. Two Rams players decorated their shoes with the logo of the Special Olympics. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson chose to honor George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Herbert Hightower and Charleena Lyles with his cleats. 

Now, 49ers TE has elected to honor the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. 

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, better known as TAPS, is a non-profit dedicated to those who lost a love one in military service to America. The program was founded in 1994 by Bonnie Carroll, in memory of her late husband who died in a plane crash with seven others. For nearly 25 years, TAPS has worked to offer ongoing support to military survivors. 

Services include crisis response and assistance, peer-based emotional counseling, casualty casework assistance, and other grief and trauma resources. TAPS also hosts a national annual grief seminar in D.C. with three full days of grief management workshops. 

George Kittle has always been proud of his country. Now he’s proud to support those who serve.

The new cleats, designed by Marcus Rivero, AKA Soles by Sir, include numerous shoutouts to America’s armed forces. They include the TAPS logo, the logos for all five military branches, and Kittle’s signature number 85. They also feature a shoutout to significant military figures from his own life. His Uncle, Colonel Pat Coen, served several deployments in the Army National Guard, and his close friend, Rico Hogan, still serves in the Navy. He also wanted the design to honor the LaMar family. Army Sgt. Martin “Mick” LaMar was killed in action in 2011, so George, in partnership with USAA’s #SaluteToService campaign, gave the family tickets to Super Bowl LIV to pay his respects.

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week
Photo by San Francisco 49ers

The video below by USAA captures the story behind the shoes and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the custom cleat design process.

To learn more about TAPS, donate a holiday wreath, or apply to volunteer, visit https://www.taps.org/.

MIGHTY SPORTS

Air Force challenges allies to ‘friendship games’ and yes, everybody wins!

More than one hundred service members from the U.S., United Arab Emirates, and several coalition nations participated in the Friendship Games Feb. 6, 2019, at Al Dhafra Air Base.

This semi-annual event used games to promote partnerships between the different countries.

“This is the one time of year where we all get together and participate in sports,” said Anthony Dalton, 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron fitness director. “We try to pick universal sports that everyone wants to compete in.”


The 380th EFSS worked with their coalition forces counterparts to coordinate and organize the games. It kicked off with a 4k run and included competitive events like basketball, soccer, a relay race and tug-of-war matches.

“It’s called the Friendship Games but people come out here and they want to win, they’re very competitive,” Dalton said. “Whether they’re first, second or third, they’re happy to participate in an event and represent their country.”

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

The U.S. team steals the ball during the basketball portion of the Friendship Games Feb. 6, 2019, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

These games allow service members to interact with and get to know each other in a universally-accepted environment.

“I believe these games are very important because it builds camaraderie between the countries and helps bridge the gap by getting to know one another on a personal level,” said Staff Sgt. William Hazelwood, 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron launch and recovery supervisor and Friendship Games participant. “Participating in the games with members from other countries was very exciting. Getting fellowship with other members, exchanging conversations and competing were the highlight of the games for me.”

Regardless of who won or lost, by building relationships through the Friendship Games at Al Dahfra AB was the true winner.

“When we come out here all together, we’re truly one force,” Dalton added. “Everyone talks with each other, everybody competes, so I just like the camaraderie that these events bring. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that during my time working for the Air Force where all the countries come together and participate in sports.”

MIGHTY SPORTS

7 running workouts for weight loss

If you call yourself a runner, you probably don’t think of it as a weight loss regimen. It’s a hobby, a passion, a social circle, the exercise that feels good, but not the thing that you need to keep the weight off. This is for a variety of reasons — prime among them because so many runners find a comfortable pace and stick there. This isn’t a recipe for a fitness regiment that’s going to push your body to shed excess fat, or even prevent you from bringing some new love handles with you on your run.

The truth is, while jogging is a great way to maintain fitness and improve health metrics like blood pressure, a moderate steady-state workout isn’t going to do it if your goal is to drop some digits. What you need are short, hard bursts of cardio activity that shock your system into overdrive, followed by a brief recovery, repeated again and again. Known as HIIT (high-intensity interval training), this Tabata-type of workout will yield the biggest bang for your buck, according to exercise scientists.


But you can’t just launch into this sort of running workout if you’re not currently a runner or you risk injury. So if you’re new to running, take four or five weeks to gradually work your way up to a solid base (running three or more times a week, for 3 or more miles at a time). Once you’ve reached this starting point, consider trying one of the 7 workouts below. These 20-minutes sessions are split into super-short, ultra-intense bouts of running, followed by recovery intervals. Get after it!

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

(Photo by Jenny Hill)

1. The fartlek

Yes, this is an actual thing in running vocab: Short bursts of fast running interspersed between easy jogging. The beauty of fartleks (fun fact: the term means “speed play” in Swedish) is that you can make up your own. For instance, during a 20-minute run around the neighborhood, decide that you will mad-sprint between every third and fourth lamppost, then easy-jog for three more. The intentionally imprecise nature of these runs adds an element of child-at-play that makes time fly by.

2. Quarters

A classic workout for collegiate track runners, this session has you running a quarter-mile as fast as you can, followed by a recovery time of equal length. So if you run .25 miles in, say, two minutes (an 8-minute-per-mile pace), you’ll take two minutes to walk/rest before going again. If there’s a track nearby, .25 miles = 400 meters = one full lap. Otherwise, you can you a GPS watch or guesstimate the distance at your local park or running route.

3. Downward ladder

Beware! This workout is sneaky-hard: You’ll start out running one mile at a medium pace (fast enough you can’t really converse, but easy enough you can spit out a few words). Jog for two minutes, then drop the pace to hard (heavy breathing, too hard to talk) for half a mile. Jog one minute, then give it everything you’ve got (wheezing, purple-faced, the whole shebang) for .25 miles. Repeat sequence.

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

(Photo by Arek Adeoye)

4. One-for-one

Similar to a fartlek, this workout mixes up hard and easy paces, but rather than using landmarks to dictate the workout, you’ll use your watch. Run as hard as you can for one minute. Walk or jog a minute. Repeat 10 times.

5. Drop downs

Find a stretch of road and use a tree or other landmark to mark your starting spot. Start your watch and jog for 30 seconds. Mark the spot on the road where you finish. Jog back to the start. Perform 10 reps running from point A to B, with the goal of running each one faster than the one before. Jog back to the start after each. Note: Don’t go balls-to-the-wall on the first rep or you will never be able to improve your time. Your goal is to get faster and faster, making your final rep the hardest/fastest.

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

(Photo by Spencer Dahl)

6. Steady-state explosions

If you’re new to running or sprinting seems to bring on the injuries, try this approach. Head out for a 20-minute moderate-paced run. Every 5 minutes, stop and do 60 seconds of one of the following: Jumping jacks, pushups, fast lunges, squat jumps. In this case, you’re using running as a fat-burner, while introducing explosive movements to up the calorie burn for weight loss.

7. Hill repeats

The beauty of hills is that they work more muscles than running at zero incline and raise your heart rate up without requiring additional pavement pounding, so they are (marginally) gentler on your body. For this workout, find a steep-ish hill that you can sprint up for 10 seconds. Dash to the top (or for 10 seconds if the hill is longer); jog to the bottom. Repeat 10 times. Next, cover the same distance up the hill, but take bounding leaps (swing your arms for momentum) rather than short, tight steps. Jog back down. Do 10 reps.

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

MIGHTY SPORTS

Why Bill Belichick doesn’t wear NFL ‘Salute to Service’ gear

It’s safe to say that no one would describe the NFL’s third most-winningest coach as a fashion maven. During most Patriots games, head coach Bill Belichick can be seen on the sidelines, wearing some version of a Patriots sweatshirt. Over the course of the man’s 18-year career as the Patriots’ HMFIC, he’s committed more fashion penalties than anyone ever seen on television.

The one thing you don’t see him in is the NFL’s annual November Salute to Service swag. The reason is simple, and if you know anything about the Pats’ head coach, it’s undeniably Belichick.


After five Super Bowl wins and an NFL-leading .628 winning percentage, it’s all come down to this: Why doesn’t Bill Belichick ever wear the NFL’s Salute to Service sweatshirts? This season, he actually answered the question for reporters. The first Sunday in November 2018 passed, and while every sideline in the country was adorned with olive green hoodies, one person was conspicuously still in his trademark, regular Patriots gear.

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy sports the NFL’s 2018 “Salute to Service” hoodie vs. the Patriots on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018.

“Honestly, I don’t think what sweatshirt I wear is that important,” he told reporters during a Monday press conference. “What’s important to me is what your actions are, what you do, so I try to make those count.”

Belichick’s father was Steve Belichick, a World War II veteran and longtime coaching staff member at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. Having spent much of his life in and around Naval officers and midshipmen, it’s probably safe to say the younger Belichick developed an appreciation for the U.S. Armed Forces.

As a matter of fact, it was his time spent at the Naval Academy as a youth that developed his proven approach to football.

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

“Depending on the weather and so forth, I just wear the same thing for every game,” Belichick told reporters on Nov. 5, 2018.

In an interview with Nantucket Magazine, the coach described how the football program at Annapolis led to his direction of the New England Patriots.

“When I look back on it, one of the things I learned at Annapolis, when I grew up around the Navy football teams in the early sixties — Joe Bellino, Roger Staubach, Coach Wayne Hardin, and some of the great teams they had — I didn’t know any differently. I just assumed that’s what football was. Guys were very disciplined. They worked very hard. They did extra things. They were always on time, alert, ready to go, team-oriented, unselfish. I thought that’s the way it all was. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but I can see how that molded me.”
After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

Beli-chic.

The Patriots’ coach is also well-known for his references to military history when discussing football strategy and on-field, in-game tactics with players and subordinate coaches. Military history and discipline is instilled in everyone in the Patriots organization, starting with the man at the top. Everyone has to go learn their military history, sources in the organization told the Wall Street Journal.

Bill Belichick isn’t about making empty gestures to the military, he and the New England Patriots live the idea behind ‘Salute to Service’ every day. So, when Bill Belichick’s cut-sleeves Patriots hoodie isn’t green during November, cut the guy some slack.

MIGHTY FIT

Fantasy Football After Action Report: Week 12


Checkin my fantasy scores and seeing the dude I play has Chris Godwinpic.twitter.com/HSiPvdo86c

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Blue chip medal

Chris Godwin, WR, Bucs- Put some respect on Godwin’s name. The elite Tampa Bay receiver is your #1 week 12 fantasy scorer, and your #2 overall wide receiver on the season. This isn’t simply a product of usage, either. Godwin is competing with the heavily touted Mike Evans for targets—and still manages to be an insanely high caliber fantasy asset. He threatens defenses with the threat of a deep route on every play, and he has a quarterback crazy enough to chuck it to him half the time.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens- Is there anything left to say about Lamar Jackson? He will be the NFL MVP, barring injury. He threw for 5 TDs in his Monday night debut against a Rams defense that includes both the best defensive tackle and cornerback in the league. Nobody is more fun to watch (in a game and on your roster) than Lamar Jackson. Just cross your fingers that you don’t play against him.

Christian McCaffery, RB, Panthers- McCaffery is the only non-QB in MVP talks, and for good reason. He is far and beyond the #1 fantasy player of the year, and he is the focal point of both the rushing and passing attack in Carolina. He’s endured tumultuous quarterback play, and awareness of his greatness only suffers from the national indifference towards the Carolina Panthers.

Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles- Zach Ertz is the tight end to have going into the fantasy playoffs. His last three performances are nothing short of dominant: 25.3, 18.4, and 27.1 points. Oh, and the next three teams he gets to play? The Miami Dolphins, the New York Giants, and the Washington Redskins. Make a move now while you can.

Jared Goff when asked if he ever plans to throw another pass to Cooper Kupp.pic.twitter.com/sFhSl06NGF

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Loss of rank

Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos- The Courtland Sutton problem is one of consistency. It is not inconsistency with Sutton as a receiver; he’s been a terrific route runner and pass catcher, but rather the problem lies in the Denver organization. John Elway’s absolute inability to identify and select a worthwhile quarterback has crippled their chances at a successful season and, more importantly to us, made them irrelevant from a fantasy standpoint.

Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons- Matt Ryan had an easy breezy matchup against the weak Bucs secondary on paper, but he could not materialize it into anything worthwhile and finished the day with 271 yards, an interception, and no touchdowns. He has to bounce back against a stingy Saints team next week, and at this point, is relying solely on the transcendent talent of Julio Jones.

Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams- Cooper Kupp is suffering from some of the same problems as Sutton. His quarterback is a shadow of his former self, his team has a shaky offensive line, and the run game is completely absent. The silver lining with Kupp is that he has a tremendous coaching staff, filled with offensive minds who are still trying, at least, to get the ball into his hands (10 targets).

The Eagles defense trying to get Carson Wentz in position to go win the gamepic.twitter.com/nPB8f9STmZ

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Promotion watch

Eagles D/ST- If you only follow one piece of advice from us this year, follow this: pick up the Eagles defense. They are on a legitimate upswing defensively and have the most cupcake schedule to end the year of any team. They play the Dolphins, Giants, and Redskins for their next three games, and they are completely carrying the Eagles. They could potentially win people some leagues.

Sam Darnold, QB, Jets- Sam Darnold had his best outing of the year against a Raiders defense that was beginning to turn heads. He’s clearly recovered from his whole mono situation, especially considering he was spotted after the game gettin’ lit and making out again (way to get back on that horse, Sam). He’s got a plethora of weapons, and could be a valuable streamer.

AJ Brown, WR, Titans- AJ Brown has come out of nowhere to make for a really interesting boom-or-bust play moving forward. He has had multiple 24+ point performances on the season, but has also posted a handful of sub 5 games. If you need a hail mary to win a game, look to Brown for a chance to put up the performance you need.

DJ Moore, WR, Panthers- DJ Moore has benefitted from the Carolina quarterback shift, as he has been one of the most targeted receivers in the NFL the last three weeks. He’s finally translating it into reliable fantasy stats, and he looks to be a valuable starter in the final stretch with a couple of easy games against the Bengals and the Dolphins.

Stiff arm of the season by James Washington. Whoa! (via @NFL)pic.twitter.com/ie2V83QPwv

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Stiff Arm of the Year Medal

James Washington

James Washington took a post route 79 yards to paydirt with a stiff arm that would make Marshawn Lynch blush Skittle-red. It’s the kind of stiff arm that you dream of pulling off in Madden, let alone real life. The kind of stiff arm that begs eloquent, poetic responses like “GET OFF ME LIL BOY” or “I’M A GROWN ASS MAN.”

MIGHTY CULTURE

The Army Black Knights are ranked for the first time in more than 10 years

Look out Navy, the tides are turning – the Army Black Knights are ranked #23 going into the 2018 Army-Navy Game. The AP Poll puts them at 23 while the Coaches Poll puts them at 24. The last time Navy was ranked going into the game was the 2017 game, where the Midshipmen were ranked 25. They lost that game, but the year prior, the Mids were ranked 21 and pulled out the W, topping Army 21-17.

A pre-game ranking seems to mean very little to Navy, but for the Black Knights, it could be a game-changer. The last time Army came in ranked was in 1996, when they were #23 — and won the game 28-24


Now, a #23 ranking may mean little to the NCAA powerhouse teams in Columbus, Tuscaloosa, or Norman, but at West Point, it’s a big deal. As the Plebes get ready to meet the Mids this year in Philadelphia, there’s a lot on the line for the Black Knights. After topping Air Force on Nov. 3, the Army is in a position to win its first back-to-back Commander-in-Chief trophy ever while beating Navy for the third year in a row.

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

The last time Army extended a multi-year winning streak over Navy was in 1996 – which happens to be the last time they came into the contest as an AP Poll-ranked team. In their snowy 2017 win over the Naval Academy, the Black Knights secured their first Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy since — you guessed it — 1996.

The stars might be aligned once again for the Black Knights. Air Force took down Navy 35-7 on Oct. 6, which means Army can be the clear winner with a victory in Philadelphia on Dec. 8. If they lose and the trophy is shared, the previous winner retains the trophy but… c’mon. No one wants to win by default. That’s not the Army way.

Highlights: Army Football vs. Colgate 11-17-18

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This year’s Army team is playing without West Point standout Ahmad Bradshaw, whose collegiate career ended with last season’s incredible win over Navy. The quarterback left West Point as the academy’s number five all-time rushing leader. His replacement, Kelvin Hopkins, Jr., has stepped well out of Bradshaw’s shadow, leading the Black Knights to a 9-2 record and a #23 spot on the AP Poll.

Bradshaw is now a leader in the U.S. Army as Hopkins leads the Army West Point team to its third ranking season since 1963. This is Army’s third winning season since 1996, and the Plebes seek to make it their second 10-win season in two years. Their last L came on Sept. 22, in a crushing overtime loss to Oklahoma, 28-21.

No shame in that — especially because the Black Knights went on a 7-game winning streak afterward.

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

It’s great preparation for the biggest game of the season – just look at last year’s Army-Navy Game.

The 2018 Army-Navy Game presented by USAA takes place on Dec. 8, 2018 in Philadelphia at noon Eastern.

MIGHTY SPORTS

That time the Panthers ran a play from ‘Little Giants’

In 2011, the Carolina Panthers were up 14-0 against the Houston Texans. With time running out in the first half, Carolina ran a trick play that saw quarterback Cam Newton secretly slip the ball between the legs of tight end Richie Brockel after quickly taking the snap. Brockel ran the ball in for another touchdown and the Panthers would win the game, 28-13.

After the game, reporters wanted to know where head coach Ron Rivera drew inspiration for the play. The answer was the movie, Little Giants.


The play even has a name – “The Annexation of Puerto Rico” – and it was devised by the tiny computer nerd, “Nubie,” who explained it to John Madden as a slow fake play with the quarterback running to one side of the field and a tailback picking up the ball and swinging around the opposite way.

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

“The Annexation of Puerto Rico” from the 1994 movie “Little Giants”

The play in Little Giants sounds a lot like the legendary trick play, the fumblerooski, where the hidden ball is purposely set down by the QB who then distracts the opposing team by running with the “ball” or “handing it off” to another player. Then, another player, usually a player no one would suspect, like a lineman, picks it up, and runs it home.

It might literally be the oldest trick in the book, which is what might have attracted Ron Rivera to the “Annexation of Puerto Rico” in the first place.

For the Carolina Panthers, they couldn’t purposely forward fumble the ball, that’s illegal in the NFL. And they still had to fool the Texans defenders. So Cam Newton takes the quick snap and most of the Carolina players continue the play as if it’s moving to the right, while others make key blocks to keep the way clear for Brockel.

Who says real life is nothing like the movies?

Actor Ed O’Neill played Kevin O’Shea, the coach of the Little Giants’ number one enemy: the Cowboys. During an interview with NFL analyst Rich Eisen, Eisen told O’Neill the play had actually been used by an NFL team. O’Neill is an avid football fan and former NFL player who was a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers before being cut by the team in 1969.

He had no idea. His response (with a smile): “You gotta be kidding me.”

MIGHTY SPORTS

Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association provides community service and camaraderie

Topeka, Kansas is home to PAFRA where they host the World Championship Rodeo. The organization has eight circuits across North America and Europe. This non-profit organization sees participants travel from all over the world, to compete in events to include: Bareback Bronc Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Ladies Breakaway Roping, Tie-Down Roping, Chute Dogging, Steer Wrestling, Ladies Barrel Racing, Cowboy Mounted Shooting and Bull Riding. There is also team heeling and heading roping events.


The rodeo has participants from active duty, veterans, retirees and dependents representing every branch of service. PAFRA hosts one World Championship Rodeo every year in October, and because of the unique nature of hosting a rodeo involving active-duty participants (who deploy, PCS, etc.) PAFRA doesn’t require a point system to qualify for the World Championship, only that participants be a member in good standing. This year the World Championship Rodeo will be Oct. 15-17, 2020 at the Landon Arena Stormont Vail Events Center in Topeka.

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

PAFRA is managed and produced in full by an all-volunteer force of members and community supporters. Their participation has been vital to the success and professionalism of the rodeo events. Because of all the volunteers that are essential to the rodeo’s operations, the organization has prioritized community service in their own right. “We are ultimately there to rodeo, but we also want to expand that servant leadership, that giving back to the communities that are hosting us,” said Steve Milton, PR and Marketing Director for the Rodeo. That community involvement ranges from hosting a kids’ rodeo to visiting veterans at the Topeka VA Medical Center, to even making a special appearance at the Stormont Vail Hospital Pediatric Unit. “We were able to bring horses out to the hospital, let the kids come pet the horses and interact with the rodeo clowns and cowboys; that was really special for us as an organization,” Milton added.

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PAFRA looks to continue to build upon their participation, support and partnership, and bids for the PAFRA 2020 20th Annual World Championship Rodeo are now open. If you are interested in learning more, partnering, volunteering or competing you can visit www.rodeopafra.com.

MIGHTY CULTURE

The Army-Navy Game saw the first use of Instant Replay

In the fourth quarter of the 1963 Army-Navy game, Army’s “Rollie” Stichweh faked a handoff and ran in the endzone for Army’s final touchdown against Navy for that contest. The touchdown didn’t change the outcome of a 21-15 loss for Army. What was special about it was the broadcast for the viewers at home.

CBS play-by-play commentator Lindsey Nelson had to tell people watching that Army didn’t score twice – they were watching the future of sports television.


In the days before the Super Bowl was the game that brought America together for TV Sports’ biggest day, the game that brought everyone to their televisions was the Army-Navy Game. In December 1963, the Army-Navy Game was airing just days after the assassination of President Kennedy shocked Americans to the core. And CBS Director Tony Verna brought a 1,300-pound behemoth of a machine to use for his broadcast.

Millions were watching, and this monster was either going to make or break the young director’s career. Nelson was worried that the new technology might confuse people. So was Verna.

“There was the uncertainty about this game,” says Jack Ford, a correspondent for CBS News. “How is it gonna be played? How are fans going to react to this?”

In those days, replay technology still took up to 15 minutes to get ready, far too long to rehash an individual football play. Verna’s machine would be able to do it in 15 seconds when and if it worked. What happened during the game play was not as Verna had hoped. The machine mostly saw static, and when it did replay plays, there was a double exposure from what the crew had taped over, which was an old episode of I Love Lucy. As a result, Lucille Ball’s face could be seen on the field during the replays.

But when it came down to it, Verna’s machine did work, just in time to catch Army’s last touchdown of the game. It was the only time fans saw the instant replay during that game, but it was revolutionary. One of the Dallas Cowboys’ big executives, Tex Schramm, called Verna to congratulate him.

“He told me the significance of it, that I hadn’t confused anybody, which Lindsay and I were worried about, certainly me,” Verna told NPR later in life. “And he said, ‘You didn’t confuse anybody. It has great possibilities.’ “

MIGHTY CULTURE

How Air Force-Navy rivalry is just as vicious as Army-Navy

The upcoming Army-Navy game is one that temporarily divides our usually-united U.S. military, if only for a few hours. The rivalry is 118 years old, is attended by sitting Presidents, and is older than the Air Force itself. But for the men who compete for the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy, it can be even more daunting to head west and face the Air Force Academy Falcons.


There’s no way the Air Force will ever get as legendary a rivalry as the Army-Navy game. It’s one of the biggest games in sports. Even if it doesn’t change the rankings on any given year, it’s still got a huge fan base. The Air Force, despite being the better playing team for much of the past few decades, can’t compare to that kind of legacy.

What they can do, however, is spoil the parties at West Point and Annapolis.

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Air Force’s 2014 starting QB Kale Pearson.

The trash talk

The Army-Navy game, while known for its mascot thefts and funny spirit videos, is also known for being overly polite. Not so at Navy-Air Force. Midshipmen hold a Falcon Roast pep rally during the week before the Air Force game, burning a wooden falcon in effigy.

“One thing I know about that game was there’s a lot more trash talk in Air Force-Navy than Army-Navy,” said Wyatt Middleton, a safety in the Navy class of 2011. Air Force even allowed the Navy side of the Commander-In-Chief’s trophy to tarnish in the two years the trophy was in Colorado Springs.

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A great game to watch

As for an interesting game, everyone knows the service academies aren’t playing for the BCS National Championship, so the winner doesn’t get more than bragging rights and the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy. But for fans watching a game, scoring is important. No one wants to sit through a Navy 0-7 win over Army, even Midshipmen. Moreover, there’s no better ending to a game than a squeaker.

The average margin of victory in an Army-Navy Game over the last 15 years is almost 16 and a half points. For Air Force vs. Navy, that number drops to a two score game. And despite Army’s recent uptick in the quality of their game, Air Force and Navy always field much more impressive and more explosive teams.

Despite all of these facts, the Air Force Academy Falcons will never quite measure up to the ancient rivalry that is the Army-Navy Game. The Air Force-Navy game happens on the first Saturday in October, followed by the Army-Air Force game on the first Saturday in November.

The 2018 Army-Navy Game will be on Dec. 8, 2018 at noon Eastern, presented by USAA, and live from Philadelphia.

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