Got to Be Kidding: Goat Bandits Strike Again in Football Rivalry

by Thad Mitchell

In one of the greatest rivalries in all of college sports, the Army Black Knights will face the Navy Midshipmen on the football field.

Though they are a united force that protects America’s freedom, there is no love loss between these two football teams. The two teams will square off next Saturday at 3 p.m. ET in what is expected to be a highly contested matchup. It will be the 122 meeting of the two football teams in one of the top traditions in all of sports. This year’s game will take place at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Navy Midshipmen hold the advantage in the all-time series 61-53-7. It is the Army Black Knights, however, that hold the momentum having won four of the last five matchups. Army also won last year’s contest 15-0. Navy will look to avenge last year’s loss by defeating Army this year.

As you might expect from a rivalry as heated as this one, there are some off-field antics coming into play. It isn’t just the football players who get in on the action either. One unseemly tradition is the theft of the other team’s mascot. The Naval Academy football utilizes a goat, named “Bill,” as its mascot. When the football game draws near, it isn’t uncommon for United States Military Academy at West Point to sneak in and take Bill.

Despite being ordered not to, the West Point students went and nabbed Bill once again this year. After being chastised by the academy’s three-star General, you might think the Army football supporters would have learned their lesson. Perhaps they did that lesson, but it stop them from goat-napping poor Bill again. Yes, that’s right — Army stole the Navy’s mascot not once, but twice in a short span.

Football Rivalry Sparks Theft of Bill the Navy Goat

It sounds like something out of the script of “Animal House,” but the taking of Navy’s mascot has occurred several times. According to a New York Times Story, Army Cadets have managed to kidnap the mascot 12 times.

No, the Army cadets did not harm the goat and he was found the next day and returned to the Naval Academy. Two cadets speaking on the condition of anonymity said the goat raid was well planned. They also said their lone goal was to create a frenzy among the football team for a little extra motivation. Using peanuts and peppermint candies, the Army cadets lured in not one, — but two goats. They then led the goats to an agreed-upon location where a large van waited. Once the two Bills were in the van, they drove back to West Point, where the goats stayed the night and were returned the next day unharmed.

It is unlikely that either Navy or Army need extra motivation in the football game — but they have gotten with this goat-theft incident.