First of all lets revisit World War II’s Battle of the Bulge. During the winter of 1944-45 in Belgium, American troops were surrounded and being infiltrated by English-speaking German spies dressed as American soldiers. The American soldiers had to devise a way to tell friend from foe, what did they do? They asked a simple question that every upstanding American would know the answer to but would baffle any German intruder. The Question: " What was the score in the 1944 Army vs. Notre Dame game?"
It all started in 1913 when Yale suddenly dropped Army from their schedule. Army accepted an invitation to host the then little known Notre Dame team. Notre Dame was so obscure that The New York Times previewed the game with an article that listed Notre Dame as hailing from South Bend, Illinois, not Indiana. The little known team played a daring game, the result: a 35-13 upset. Army won the re-match the next year and thus ensued one of the greatest rivalries in early college football.
By 1923 West Point's campus field was too small to hold the throngs of people that would gather when the Irish were in town. The game was moved to Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, then the Polo Grounds and, finally, in 1925, to Yankee Stadium, which had opened two years earlier. In the following years football history was made. In the 1928 game after loosing three years in a row, with a 0-0 score at the half, Notre Dame coach Rockne gave his "Win One for the Gipper” speech. The team returned to the 78,188 roaring fans and Notre Dame took a 12-6 stand in the second half holding Army at the 1 yard line in the last play to win the game.
The teams played at Yankee Stadium every year thereafter except in 1930. The game was occasionally played in snow, sleet and rain and always before crowds of about 75,000. And although Notre Dame won most of the time in the 1930s, the games remained close, with one of the teams usually ranked high enough to be competing for the national title.
So on Armistice day in 1944 (Nov. 11th) the teams met in the sold out Yankee Stadium in front of a roaring crowd, on one side were hundreds of thousands of Army veterans from two world wars — and their families — who treated the footballers from West Point as if they were a national college team. On the other first-generation Americans of European descent who flocked to Yankee Stadium from the five New York City boroughs to cheer Notre Dame players with names like O’Donnell, Carideo and Mieszkowski. That year top ranked Army routed the #5 ranked Notre Dame 59-0 thus providing a question that any American would know the answer to and a way to thwart off german spies.
Today Army and Notre Dame will resume their historic rivalry at the New Yankee Stadium. The game will be the first college football game played at the new stadium and it will also be the first time since 1969 that the two teams have met at Yankee stadium. So if you haven't guessed by now, I will be attending that game... after a day of galavanting all over NYC of course.