The Last Notre Dame-Navy Game Televised by ABC

Notre Dame-Navy will have a new TV home for the first time in nearly three decades when they play on ABC at 12 ET

Notre Dame beat Navy 58-27 in 1993
Source: Associated Press via Baltimore Sun

Because of an intriguing TV contract, Notre Dame and Navy will do something they have not done since 1993. From 1996 to 2018, CBS owned the TV rights to Notre Dame vs Navy games in which Navy was the designated home team, televising it in even-numbered years.

Before then, TV rights were either syndicated or picked up by other national broadcasters when Navy was the home team. NBC of course, televised games in which Notre Dame was the home team.

As a result, the Notre Dame-Navy game was last televised by ABC in 1993, but not without some controversy. Until the mid-2000s most of ABC’s college football coverage was regional with multiple games being shown in different regions, like the NFL on Sundays. On October 30, 1993, 65% of the country would see #2 Notre Dame take on Navy at Philadelphia’s Veterans’ Stadium, while the other 35% would see Florida play Georgia at the Gator Bowl. Many fans wished that Florida-Georgia was the game most of the country would see.

Here is what the world looked like on October 30, 1993:

Florida-Georgia looked to be the more competitive game as the two schools both won over nine games and played a thrilling 26-24 game the year before. In 1993, Florida was 10th in the country with a 5-1 record and Georgia was 4-4.

On the other hand, Notre Dame was ranked #2 in the country and 9-0. Navy still had a slot in the Liberty Bowl if bowl-eligible with a 4-3 record but needed to win out and were 35-point underdogs to the Fighting Irish. On top of that, Navy had not beaten the Irish since 1963. On paper, it looked like ABC made the wrong choice and, in the end, it played out that way.

In the Notre Dame-Navy game, Navy raced to a 24-17 halftime lead before Notre Dame outscored Navy 41-3 in the second half on the way to a 58-27 victory. Notre Dame would end the season 11-1 with a win in the Cotton Bowl and a share of the National title, while Navy would finish 4-7.

As for the 1993 Florida-Georgia game, it was one of the most iconic games in the rivalry’s history. Florida’s Errict Rhett carried the ball a school-record 41 times for 183 yards in a back-and-forth game that wasn’t decided until the final seconds.

The game became known as the “Timeout Game” because a timeout before the snap negated a potential game-winning Georgia touchdown with five seconds left. The replayed down resulted in an incomplete pass and Florida hung on for a 33-26 win. Florida would win the SEC and beat West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl, while Georgia ended the year at 5-6.