Army-Navy game hits the road with its first stop in New England

by Tommy Grant

Some stalwart Army-Navy game fans may be wondering why the annual matchup isn’t being held in Philadelphia this year.

In its 124-year history most of the rivalry games have been played in the “The City of Brotherly Love.”

This year’s grudge match will visit New England for the first time as cadets and Midshipmen collide at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, home of the New England Patriots on Saturday.

The new location is part of a four-year road trip for the series which will see the game played at the NFL Commanders stadium in Landover, Maryland in 2024; the NFL Ravens stadium in Baltimore, Maryland in 2025; and the NFL Giants stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey in 2026.

It will then return to Philadelphia in 2027.

Navy currently leads the series 62-54-7.

Philadelphia is nearly equal distance from both the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The distances measure 144 miles for West Point and 124 miles for Annapolis. The game returned to Annapolis in 1942 and then to West Point in 1943 and 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel.

From 1890 to 1893 the game alternated between the two academies, starting with West Point. The series halted from 1894 until 1898 after an argument between an Army general and Navy admiral nearly led to a duel following the 1893 game.

During World War I the 1917 and 1918 games were cancelled. In both 1928 and 1929 the academies could not agree on player eligibility and cancelled those games, too.

The game resumed in 1899 in Philadelphia, its first appearance in the city. In total the game has been played in Philadelphia 90 times.

New York City first hosted the game in 1913 and for its final time in 1931. While the city has since hosted game festivities on five occasions, the actual game has been played in the East Rutherford, New Jersey stadium used by the NFL Giants five times from 1989 to 2021.

Baltimore, Maryland first hosted the game in 1924 and again in 1944, 2000, 2007, 2014, 2016.

Princeton, New Jersey hosted the game only once, in 1905.

Chicago hosted its only Army-Navy game in 1926, which resulted in a tie score of 21-21. The academies played at the site for the formal dedication of Soldier Field, honoring World War I veterans.

Washington, D.C. hosted the game once in 2011 at the Landover, Maryland stadium of the then-NFL Washington Redskins, since renamed the Washington Commanders.

Navy prevailed 47-13 in the only game every played West of the Mississippi River in Pasadena, California at the Rose Bowl in 1983.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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