1963 Heisman Winner Roger Staubach Honored By Naval Academy

1963 Heisman winner Roger Staubach was honored by the Naval Academy on Oct. 21, 2023. His No. 12 was placed onto the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at the 12-yard line. Credit: Navy Athletics

Roger Staubach, who is celebrating the 60th anniversary of his 1963 Heisman Trophy, was honored Saturday before the Navy-Air Force game at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. 

Staubach’s No. 12 received a permanent painted-on spot on the field at the 12-yard line. It sits opposite Navy’s other Heisman great, 1960 winner Joe Bellino, whose No. 27 was placed on the turf in 2019.

1963 Heisman winner Roger Staubach with current enlistees last week at the Navy-Air Force game. Staubach was honored before the game. Credit: Navy Athletics

About 30 members of Navy’s 1963 team were on hand for the festivities to join Staubach for the distinction while also being honored themselves.

The surviving members of that team have frequent reunions, organized by team captain Tom Lynch.

“I don’t know if any season in my life was as good as 1963,” said Staubach. “Every time we get together like this, it’s more special.”

Staubach led the Midshipmen to a 9-2 season in 1963, rising to No. 2 in the rankings and reaching the Cotton Bowl, where it fell to No. 1 Texas. Despite the Jan. 1, 1964 loss to the Longhorns, the 1963 Navy squad is considered the best in program history.

Staubach went on to a storied career with the Dallas Cowboys, where he led them to four Super Bowls, winning two. He went on to a very successful career in real estate.

1963 Heisman winner Roger Staubach was honored by the Naval Academy on Oct. 21, 2023. Credit: Navy Athletics

Before he became a pro football player, of course, he served two years in Vietnam as part of the U.S. Navy as a supplies corps officer and attaining the rank of lieutenant. 

He was assigned to the Supply Corps because he was color blind, something missed during his pre-admission exam and something that would have precluded his service. He was allowed in the Supply Corps because “it did not necessitate being able to tell the difference between red (port) and green (starboard) lights or to discern the color differences in electrical circuitry.”

Staubach, who was stationed at a base in Da Nang for six months and did another half year at Chu Lai, serviced mainly Marines based in the area. He commanded over 40 men.