Highlights of the ’53 Season

Bob Mischak, ’54 as a player and a coach, participated in 3 Super Bowls, 8 AFC Championships and numerous playoff games. As the starting Offensive Tackle on the 1958 Giant Team he participated in “The Greatest Game Ever Played”. Bob had this to say of the 1953 Duke Game (it was perhaps Army’s Greatest Game) – “As many reports have stated, the 1953 team “Returned to Glory” with the defeat of the nationally ranked Duke Blue Devils at the Polo Grounds in New York City. From a player’s stand point, that was the epitome of any game, team, and student body support that I’ve been associated with – bar none.”

Col. Blaik —
“By the time the season got down to the Penn and Navy games, the starting eleven and about four substitutes carried the full load.”

The commitment to Team, to the Academy, to returning Army Football to respectability is exemplified in the fact that Bob Farris ’56, played the 2d half of the Navy Game blind in one eye. He was never to play another down of Football. Bob did not tell the Coaches or Team Doctor of his condition.

Years later Col Blaik was to write — “For two years these boys had seen the roughest action. They had lived with the coaching lash, dirt, blood, and defeat.”

Prior to the Duke Game the Cheerleaders imposed a “Silence” upon the Corps of Cadets after the traditional pregame sendoff of the team. The Cheerleaders put a cork in the bottle of more than two years of pent up frustration. When the Corps completed its subdued, strangely silent, pregame march-on at the Polo Grounds, and the last man double-timed onto the first step of the stands, the Corps of Cadets exploded out. They shook that old stadium almost non-stop in the sunshine and shadows of that Indian summer afternoon. The Chanting – – Go! Go! Go! – – is remembered to this day by the players. “It was continuous, just deafening”.

An article in the Nov ’53 Pointer published the day before the Navy Game concluded with the following —
“Tomorrow afternoon, radio sets will be tuned on Philadelphia all the way from Berlin to Panmunjom. Graduates will be listening for news of an Army victory. But they’ll be listening for something more – something none of them talk about. They’ll be listening for evidence that the Corps is on its way back. They want to know that the values which they stand for are still alive in the Corps.”

The ’53 Team’s success was marked with the most unusual Lambert Trophy presentation in the award’s 17 year history. For the first time, on a Sunday evening, 20 December 1953, in Washington Hall, the Lambert Trophy, emblematic of Eastern Football Supremacy, was presented outside of New York City to West Point’s football team and the Corps of Cadets.

Col. Blaik after the Navy Game —
He ordered the door secured and as he turned to speak his eyes were misty. “I have never coached a team that gave me more than you did. I never have coached a team that has given me as much satisfaction. Considering all the conditions since 1951, you have done more for football at West Point than any other team in the history of the Academy.”

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