As one of only four, he has attended every Army Home Football game since 1952. He is an Army All American. Page 2 of Army Lore
I remember this story from the Army Lore tought to me as a Plebe in 1958.
As Joe Steffy came up to the line and took his stance, he looked across at his Navy Opponent and said
“On the next play Doc Blanchard is coming through this hole, I don’t know about you, but I am getting out of the way”.
Joe was called to get the exact quote. Joe said “I know exactly what you are going to ask”. When the quote was read, Joe said “It is not true, — It never happened. It was made up by an after dinner speaker”.
Greatness creates Legends.
Joe Steffy came to West Point from Tennessee to join the Class of 1949 and never went home. His athletic accomplishments require no embellishing or spin; they speak for themselves. He set the standard for all who do the dirty work of the interior line.
Army’s only Outland Trophy winner for best lineman in the nation, given the second year of the award’s existence. College Football Hall of Fame inductee, 1986. Army Sports Hall of Fame, 2007. First team All-American, 1946 & 1947. Three-year letterman, opening holes for Mr. Inside and blocking downfield for Mr. Outside. Team captain as a Second Classman, necessitating “below the zone” promotion to Cadet Sergeant because Superintendent Maxwell Taylor insisted the football captain wear stripes. Played on College All-Star team vs. Philadelphia Eagles. Kicked extra points and field goals one year. Played hurt. Member of national championship teams, 1945 & 1946. Beat Navy three years. Varsity letter in track and holder of the Plebe shotput record for 33 years.
The rugged 190-pound wildcat went on to serve in Korea, where he earned a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, coach the Army football team, and run a successful business for many years in nearby Newburgh. His frequent presence at Michie Stadium never fails to inspire hope in the Army faithful. Well done, Joe Steffy.
By Dave Phillips 62’s Scribe & Sports Historian
The 46 National Ranking
Sixty years later, it still bothers Joe Steffy. He and his former Army football teammates, now in their early-80s, still talk about the 1946 season. But this story starts in ’44.
Army went 9-0 that year, winning the national championship, repeating the feat in ’45. Then came 1946: Army vs. Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium. Army had beaten Notre Dame 48-0 and 59-0 the previous two years. The ’46 game featured four current or eventual Heisman Trophy winners, three current or eventual Outland Trophy winners and 23 current or eventual All-Americans.
It ended in a 0-0 tie.
In ’46, Army finished the year 9-0-1: Unbeaten, but not perfect. Even though Steffy begs to differ.
“They didn’t beat us, nobody did,” Steffy says.
Still, the real disappointment came for Army at the end of the season. The Associated Press voters went with Notre Dame at No. 1. Back in those days, though, there was no official coaches’ poll and a host of national polls. Notre Dame was voted tops in five polls, Army in two and the teams were co-champs in three more.
As you can see, even back then, the polls were far from perfect.
“We were still the national champs,” he says. “It’s like the heavyweight champ of the world, you have to beat him to take away the title. They didn’t beat us, I still can’t believe it””
By Justin Rodriguez
December 23, 2007
Joseph Benton Steffy, Jr
Home Town Chattanooga, Tennessee
High School Baylor Prep
Prior College Attendance Univ of Tennessee, 1944-45
Football & Track — Freshman year at Tennessee: Joe was an excellent track man throwing discus, javelin and shot put. He was sent to SEC track championship meet in May, 1945 as Tennessee’s one-man track team competing against other SEC teams most of which had 15 to 35 members. Tennessee (read Joe Steffy) came in third for the whole SEC!
Date of Entry to Academy 2 July 1945
Date of Graduation 7 June 1949
Age at Graduation 23
Cullum Number 17333
- Cow Year Corporal/Sergeant
Fall of Cow Year called to Supe’s office and immediately promoted to Sgt because Supe (Maxwell Taylor) wanted his Football Team Captain to “have stripes.”
- Firstie Year Sergeant
Cadet Military Position Asst Sqd Ldr/Squad Leader
Height 5′ 11″
- Entry 180#
- Playing Weight 190#
- Graduation 175#
Teams Football & Track
Football Coach Col Earl Blaik
Football Assistant Coach
Type of Play
- One “platoon” Played every phase of the Game
- Col Blake Believed in Power Plays up the middle
- Emphasis on running the ball on offense
- Type of Offense – Standard T-formation
- Type of Defense – Wide Tackle 6-man line with stunts
- Coach Blaik was one of first to institute stunts
- Football Offensive Left Guard; defensive guard & nose guard; place kicker (cow year)
- Jack Green 1945
- Doc Blanchard & Glenn Davis 1946
- Joe Steffy 1947
Originally on 3 year War Program – allowed to play Plebe year
Award of 5 Army A’s with 3 Gold Stars for beating Navy
- Plebe Football & Track
- Yearling Football & Track
- Cow Football
- Firstie Ineligible for Football
Army’s Football Record during Joe’s 3 Years of eligibility 22-2-3, 29 games, 9 per year
Injuries: Separated shoulder cow year, played with a special device to hold arm down
Track – Held Academy Plebe record for the shot put for 33 years
- Football 1945: Undefeated National Champs
- Football 1946: Undefeated National Champs
- Football 1947: 5-2-2, including defeat of Navy (21-0)
Lambert Trophy 1946 & 1947
- The 2nd Recipient of the Outland Trophy and Army’s only receipent – 1947 http://www.sportswriters.net/fwaa/awards/outland/winners.html
- 1st Tm All-American, 1946 & 1947
- College Football Hall of Fame, 1986
- West Point Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007
- Plebe Held Plebe shot put record for 33 years
Post Season Play
- Invited to play in North-South College All-Star game (did not because Academy
would not give time off)
- After graduation played in College All-Stars against the Philadelphia Eagles (lost 38-0); played in Eastern All-Stars against NY Giants (won 28-14)
Class Standing 560 of 574
- Spent last 3 months of 1st class year in Walter Reed
which did not help academic standing
Turn Out Stars Ordnance Firstie year along with about 100 classmates who thought they could coast through because they were “so proficient!”
Relationship with Tactical Department – Great Plebe Year; so-so Yearling, Cow & Firstie Years
Clubs and Intramurals: Played on company soccer team Firstie year; won regimental championship
Officer Assignment to the Academy
- Returned form Korea to serve as Assistant Football Coach, 1952-1955
3 Army A’s in Football
Football’s Greatest Decade – – by Bernie Mcarty – http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/CFHSN/CFHSNv01/CFHSNv01n1b – – see page 5
This writer believes West Point 1945 is the greatest team of all time. The 1944 Army team may actually deserve that title, but it was never tested. Army was also undefeated in 1946, 1948 and 1949.
Army’s top stars during 1945-1949 were the effulgent “Touchdown Twins”, Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard, Arnold Tucker, Arnold Galiffa, Rip Rowan, Bobby Jack Stuart and Gil Stephenson in the back-field, and up front” Joe Steffy”, Art Gerometta, Jack Green, “Bill Yoemans”, Joe Henry “Tex” Coulter,Al Nemetz, and the sterling end duo of Hank Foldberg and Barney Poole.
In 1945 the Newspaper Enterprise Assoc. simply picked the entire Army team as its All-American team, stating no group of All-Americans could beat the Cadets. Only a world war could have brought together such a collection of players to one institution. But it took the coaching genius of Col. Earl Blaik to mold the players into a cohesive unit. In truth, Navy personnel was equal to Army’s on an individual basis. The Middies never jelled as a team, however.
The 1951 Army outfit might have been as good as the 1945 Cadets, but the infamous cribbing scandal wiped out the team.