President John F Kennedy, an alumnus of the US Naval Academy and a passionate football fan, was looking forward to watching the Midshipmen take on the Cadets at the Annual Army-Navy game , November 30, 1963. 'I hope to be on the winning side when the game ends' he telegraphed the Navy coach on November 20, but two days later was assassinated in Dallas, changing history forever. Exploring the close relationship between President Kennedy and the Navy football squad of the early 1960s, author Michael Connelly describes how the 1963 Army-Navy game - played on December 7, 1963, after a week's postponement - served as welcome distraction for a nation in mourning, as well as an opportunity to honour the fallen president's memory. Connelly ties together the historic Army-Navy rivalry with the changing political landscape of the 1960's at home and abroad.
Connelly did a superb job of weaving the incidents of the final year of Kennedy's presidency into his narrative on the Army-Navy rivalry and 1963 game. It's an emotional history lesson for those who lived that year, a very entertaining read.nflblog.dallasnews.comBoston Herald sports reporter Michael Connelly takes readers back to the time period and tells the parallel stories in an engaging, though occasionally verbose, manner. He has read almost every press account of the subject and also spoke with the players and coaches who are still alive. Mr. Connelly doesn't break a great deal of new ground, but synthesizes information well. As a decorated Navy hero, Mr. Kennedy had a special bond with the football team of the U.S. Naval Academy that predated his presidency. There is an extensive discussion of Mr. Kennedy's naval heroics as well as his love of football, including much detail about the Kennedy family's frequent football games on the lawn of their estate in Hyannis Port, MA... As Mr. Connelly noted, during the season Mr. Staubach "scrambled, dodged and avoided the fastest and biggest football players in the country, but there was no escaping the wrath of Ethel." Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy poked his finger in the face of Navy Coach Wayne Hardin and said "I thought you knew, how important that game was to my family.' Such behind-the-scenes revelations make "The President's Team: The 1963 Army-Navy Game & The Assassination of JFK" an enjoyable book."The Washington Times"