The Army-Navy football rivalry is one of the best around, and it includes traditions like Army stealing the live Navy mascot. But this year, things didn’t go to plan, and the blunder led to an embarrassing situation for the cadets.

The New York Times reported that Army cadets over the weekend crept into a secret compound, on a mission so dear to the cadet corps that it has survived generations of evolving warfare and official rebuke: stealing Bill the goat.

The story came to light after a response from questions from The New York Times. It reported that after a four-hour drive back to West Point, they unveiled not Bill No. 37, the current mascot, but Bill No. 34, an arthritic, 14-year-old retiree with only one horn, according to a joint statement released by the Army and Navy.

Bill No. 34 was returned safely on Monday, according to the Army. A veterinarian who checked the goat said he was in good health, a military employee said.

The superintendents of the two academies — Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams and Vice Adm. Sean Buck — said in the joint statement on Monday night that stealing animals was off limits and that they were investigating the raid.

They said they were “disappointed by the trust that was broken recently between our brothers and sisters in arms,” and added, “These actions do not reflect either academy’s core values of dignity and respect.”