(CTN News) – The annual Army-Navy Game, one of the most significant games in college football, will be held at Gillette Stadium, the home arena of the New England Patriots, this weekend.
This 124th meeting between the two service academies is already a highly anticipated event, but it holds even greater significance for certain individuals within the Patriots organization.
One such individual is Joe Cardona, the long snapper for the Patriots. He is the only player on the current roster who has actually participated in the Army-Navy Game.
Prior to joining the Patriots in 2015 as a fifth-round draft pick, Cardona spent four years at the Naval Academy.
During his time at the Naval Academy, Cardona had the opportunity to compete in four Army-Navy games, all of which resulted in victories for his team.
Reflecting on those experiences, Cardona expressed his emotional attachment to those days and the privilege of playing alongside his closest friends in the world.
“It is a special experience,” Cardona shared with reporters earlier this week, as he reminisced about his time at the Army-Navy games.
Since joining the Patriots, the 31-year-old has played in 153 games, including three Super Bowls. He and Roger Staubach are the only Naval Academy graduates with multiple Super Bowl rings. Playing against the Army is especially meaningful for Cardona.
He remembers the surreal moment of realizing he was about to play in the biggest game of his life, and that feeling still holds. He knew that sailors, soldiers, and Marines worldwide were watching, and he felt the need to play with determination.
Cardona’s connection to the Navy remains strong as he serves as the Patriots’ long snapper and is a member of the Naval Reserve.
Lieutenant Cardona has been actively involved in special ceremonies and organizing football clinics for military children. In 2018, he received the Ron Burton Community Service Award.
However, due to his commitments and the NFL season, he has only been able to attend the Army-Navy Game once before. This year, with the Patriots’ Week 14 game already played, it will be his second time attending.
Lieutenant Cardona is grateful for the opportunity to attend the game during their bye week. The 2023 Army-Navy Game will take place at Gillette Stadium on December 9th at 3 p.m. ET.