FOXBORO, Mass. — If anyone in New England knows how much the Army-Navy rivalry means, it’s Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona.

Cardona was selected by the Patriots in the 2015 NFL Draft, and has since won two Super Bowls with the organization. He’s got another career, though,  serving as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2015.

It was during his college years that the 31-year-old played for the Midshipmen, beating the Black Knights in all four of his appearances in America’s Game — which he still views as the most important games he’s ever played.

“I’ve been very fortunate to play in a lot of big games here in New England, but realistically all of them pale in comparison to those Army-Navy games,” Cardona told last month. “… I think one thing I’d stress to a casual football fan, or a Patriots fan thinking about the game. This is something that is unique. There’s college football, and the landscape of college football has changed a lot.

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“There’s an importance of sports betting, and the resurgence of NIL and the transfer portal. These kids that are playing in this game couldn’t care less about any of those things. The only thing they care about is going out there and proving to their brothers that they have their back.”

Cardona isn’t the only Midshipmen fan employed by the Patriots, as Bill Belichick has made his allegiance to Navy clear. The 71-year-old will serve as celebrity guest picker on ESPN’s “College GameDay” prior to kickoff.

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Army and Navy will kick things off from Gillette Stadium at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images