Air Force Academy Football: A Program to be Respected

Photo via Pam Davis

Since 1955, the Air Force Academy, located in Colorado Springs, CO, has been fielding a competitive football team.


Air Force started their football journey as an independent team not affiliated with any conference, much like Army currently is. The Falcons joined the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in 1980 and then joined the Mountain West Conference during its founding year in 1999. The Falcons are only 1 of 6 teams that have been a member of the Mountain West since its founding (Colorado State, Wyoming, San Diego State, New Mexico, UNLV).

Air Force has complied 37 winning seasons and has an all-time record of 385-320-13 (.545). Most notably, in 1985, the Falcons rocketed up to the #2 ranked position nationally, only to lose to BYU late in the season and finish #5. The Falcons went on to beat Texas in the Bluebonnet Bowl that year.

Awards & Accomplishments

Although Air Force’s football record may not be terribly impressive, the Falcons have many awards attributed to their program.

They have beaten many notable teams in big bowls:

  • Vanderbilt (1982 Hall of Fame Classic)
  • Ole Miss (1983 Independence Bowl)
  • Virginia Tech (1984 Independence Bowl)
  • Texas (1985 Bluebonnet Bowl)
  • Ohio State (1990 Liberty Bowl)
  • Mississippi State (1991 Liberty Bowl)
  • Washington (1998 Oahu Bowl)
  • Georgia Tech (2010 Independence Bowl)

The Falcons have been crowned conference champions just three time, all in the Western Athletic Conference, in 1985, 1995, and 1998.

Air Force also made it to the 2015 Mountain West Conference Championship, but ultimately lost to San Diego State.

Mentally Tough, Highly Disciplined, & Very Intelligent

Air Force Academy Football is more than their record and more than any single impressive winning season. Air Force Academy is a tenacious and disciplined group of individuals who have pledged to sacrifice more than the average college athlete.

As members of the United States military, the Air Force, Army, and Navy football teams cannot give big promises of NFL recruitment (only 17 AFA players have gone onto the NFL, compared with Boise State’s 86 players or Notre Dame’s 573 players). They cannot provide a red-shirt year. They have to maintain the same academic standards as the other students at the academies.

The young men who suit up for these teams do so because they love football (also, it is a requirement for every student to be on a sports team).

Naturally, as part of a service academy, the football team is highly disciplined. They do not give up. Air Force is notorious in the Mountain West for playing all 60 minutes of the game. They play pedal to the metal all game long, it’s not their nature or training to do otherwise.

Most noteworthy, is their academics. Air Force has produced 39 Academic All-Americans in 49 years. These guys aren’t going for some easy Communications or Exercise Science degrees either. These guys are majoring in Physics, Engineering, Chemistry, or Astrodynamics!


Boise State has only played the Falcons six times ever, but they are only 1 of 2 Mountain West teams the Broncos do not have a winning record against (San Diego State is the other). This series sits tied at 3-3.

Boise State has NEVER won in Colorado Springs…never.

However, the Broncos are now on a one-game win streak against the Falcons. That ought to strike some confidence into Bronco Nation, right? Please note, last year’s win was the largest marching of victory in the series at 44-19.

The Falcons will be as tenacious as ever in the option attack against the Broncos on Saturday night, don’t let their 3-4 record fool you.

Last week, the Broncos let off the defensive gas a bit against the Rams, they cannot do that against Air Force, or they will pay dearly.


About Taylor Hart

Taylor Hart
Taylor was born and raised in the Treasure Valley. He developed a strong love for anything Broncos related. Even though he doesn't currently reside in the Boise area any more, his wardrobe mainly consists of blue and orange which he wears proudly and often, much to his wife's chagrin.

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