Midshipmen 1964 Cotton Bowl
(Authentic Reproduction)


The '62 Navy offense was their "standard" offense but for 1963, the staff restructured it to better suit Staubach's running abilities. They won eight of the first nine games, losing only to SMU 32-28 and Staubach was nothing short of great. He received a lot of help from FB Pat Donnelly (613 rush yards), flanker Ed "Skip" Orr who was perhaps Navy's best ever flanker, and RB Johnny Sai, the team's fastest player. Jim Freeman and Pat Philbin manned the tackles and again, it was Tom Lynch as the center and noseguard who later became the Superintendent Of The Academy, who was outstanding in the middle of the action. Lynch's brother was Jim Lynch who Navy could not recruit because the priests at Central Catholic High School in Lima, Ohio would not allow the Navy coaches to see him, instead hiding him for the Notre Dame coaches where he later starred before playing eleven seasons for the KC Chiefs. Staubach of course, was the year's sensation in college football. He finished the storied season with 1892 yards in total offense, 1474 passing yards, 107 pass completions, and a single-game total offense mark of 307 yards against Michigan, all Navy records. His leadership and daring won the Heisman and Maxwell Trophies as a junior and little luster was lost on his individual accomplishments when number-two Navy, fell to number-one Texas in the Cotton Bowl. Although Texas easily handled the Midshipmen who were emotionally drained from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy who was a staunch fan and companion of the team 28-6, Staubach completed twenty-one passes. For the Army game, all of the participants entered the field of play with a heavy heart. President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated on November 22nd and the Army-Navy game scheduled for the following weekend was postponed and then, at the request of Mrs. Kennedy, rescheduled for December 7th. The usual pre-game pageantry was muted with little more than Captains Lynch of Navy and Dick Nowak of Army meeting in the center of the field. Navy's 21-15 victory could have easily gone Army's way although they were faced with overcoming Pat Donnelly's three TD's and the usual exciting play of Staubach. The fifth straight victory over Army hinged upon the Cadets' failure to get a play off when they were but two yards away from springing what would have been a huge upset for the twelve-point underdog Black Knights. The win sealed the belief of many that Hardin should have been named Coach Of The Year although some were more taken with his continuing flamboyance. Once again he decorated the Navy helmets for their special rivalry game, this time with a vertically aligned "Beat Army" logo on the front of each gold helmet, and a player's name plate placed horizontally across the rear with all of the lettering in dark navy blue for maximal contrast.



With Texas ranked at number one and Navy at two, the Cotton Bowl game following the 1963 season was a matchmaker's dream. Navy's Staubach had won the Heisman Trophy and already been drafted as a junior by the NFL's Dallas Cowboys and the AFL's Dallas Texans as a future choice. Texas was loaded with All American DT Scott Appleton and vicious soph center-LB Tommy Nobis. While Pittsburgh sportswriter Myron Cope made the gaffe of referring to the Longhorns as "the biggest fraud ever perpetuated on the football public" and chided everything from what he called their "skinny linemen" to the ability of QB Duke Carlisle, backs Ernie Koy and Tommy Ford helped to make this a very dangerous team. Hardin had Navy play in a helmet that was prepared expressly for the Bowl game, a gold shell that had two-and-one-half inch dark navy blue medium rounded numerals on the rear of each helmet. When it was over, there was no doubt that Texas had the legitimate claim to the National Championship as Carlisle passed for two touchdowns, ran for another, and set a total offense record of 267 yards. Navy could not score until the fourth quarter although Staubach's twenty-one pass completions for 228 yards was a new Cotton Bowl record. It was only in retrospect that Navy's uninspired performance was analyzed and both players and coaches agreed that the emotional upheaval of President Kennedy's assassination had a terrible effect upon the team. In addition to being young and idealistic college-aged athletes, the President was truly "one of their's" and had stayed overnight at the Academy a number of times. While there were a number of excellent individual players on the team, the '63 squad played inspired football behind Staubach the entire season with a cohesiveness that raised its performance level much further than its level of talent. In short, Texas was a better team that could have been defeated with nothing less than a perfectly played football game.

If interested in any of these Navy helmets please click on the photos below.