History Of Army-Navy Football Traditions Rooted In Philadelphia

Written By Corey Sharp on December 8, 2022
Army and Navy meet this weekend in Philadelphia for their annual rivalry game.

This Saturday marks the 123rd meeting between the Army and Navy rivalry, which is considered “America’s Game” and is typically held in the city of Philadelphia.

It’s one of the best rivalries in sports for the 60 minutes each team is on the field. When the game is over, both teams are on America’s team.

There is so much history and many traditions that go into the annual Army-Navy game. Philadelphia hosting the game for the 90th time is one of the best.

Read on for more about the rich traditions of the rivalry and check here for updated Army vs. Navy betting lines.

History of Army-Navy games in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is known for its rich American history and sports tradition. The 90th edition of the Army-Navy game takes place at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday.

Lincoln Financial Field was built in 2003, so it’s still relatively new. The Army-Navy game has been held in other iconic venues in Philadelphia, which include:

  • Franklin Field
  • John F. Kennedy Stadium (formerly known as Municipal Stadium)
  • Veterans Stadium

The oldest stadium on the list is Franklin Field, which oddly enough, is the only stadium that still exists. Built in 1895, it hosted the fifth-ever Army-Navy game in 1899. The oldest football stadium in the country is also the first ever to add an upper deck to increase attendance.

Franklin Field was the home of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1958-70 before the team moved into Veterans Stadium.

Located on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus, Franklin Field is home to the Quakers’ football team and other men’s and women’s sports. Franklin Field is also home to the Penn Relays, which is the oldest and largest track and field meet in the country.

John F. Kennedy Stadium and Veterans Stadium are other iconic venues in Philadelphia sports history. John F. Kennedy hosted 41 Army-Navy football games and was the home for the Eagles for a period of time. It stood from 1926-92 and was located in South Philadelphia.

Veterans Stadium, also located in South Philadelphia, was built in 1971 and demolished in 2004. It served as home to 17 Army-Navy football games as well as the Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles.

Lincoln Financial Field will host its 15th Army-Navy game this weekend.

Army-Navy traditions leading up to kickoff

Cadets and midshipmen compete in the Patriot Games, held every year before the Army-Navy game. The Patriot Games start on Friday morning and continue into the game on Saturday. All events are open to the public and free to attend except the stadium obstacle relay.

Here’s a schedule of the Patriot Games taking place all over the city on Friday:

Rocky Relay

Beginning Friday at 8:30 a.m., cadets and midshipmen test their strength and speed running up the famous Rocky Steps on the Benjamin Parkway.

Leadership Reaction Course

At the Independence Visitor Center beginning at 10 a.m., service men and women will endure mental and physical obstacles to test leadership and teamwork.

Pull-up Challenge and Pep Rally

The Shops at Liberty Place is hosting a pull-up challenge and pep rally for the Army-Navy game at noon. Mascots, cheerleaders and pep bands will all be in attendance.

Tug-of-War Challenge

The final event on Friday is held at the Battleship USS New Jersey in Camden. Cadets and midshipmen will also participate in a tug-of-war challenge for bragging rights at 1:30 p.m.

Stadium Obstacle Relay

The games conclude on Saturday, where a ticket is required, with the stadium obstacle relay. Get to the game by 1:15 p.m. to see the epic relay.

Army-Navy game is breaking tradition

The Patriot Games and the game itself will not be in Philadelphia for quite some time after Saturday.

The game is going on the road and visiting several East Coast cities before making its way back to Philadelphia in 2027. The upcoming schedule looks like:

  • 2023: Boston (Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.) – Dec. 9
  • 2024: Washington, D.C. (FedEx Field, Landover, Md.) – Dec. 14
  • 2025: Baltimore, Md. (M&T Bank Stadium) – Dec. 13
  • 2026: New York City (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ) – Dec. 11

The game next year in Boston is significant. It marks the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party and the 225th anniversary of the USS Constitution’s maiden voyage, along with the commissioning of the USS Massachusetts as a Navy vessel.

Philadelphia will not host the game in 2026, which is the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies.

The Army-Navy game generates between $30 to $35 million in revenue, but at least the city will still be buzzing at that time. Philadelphia will be a site for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in June and the host of the MLB All-Star Game in July of 2026.

Ticket information for Army-Navy 2022

The Army-Navy game for Saturday expects to sell out, as it usually does.

Tickets are still available through secondary markets such as Stubhub and Ticketmaster.

Lower level tickets at midfield are going anywhere from $800 to $2,500. Lower level endzone seats are available from $380 to $550.

The average ticket price for seats in the upper decks of Lincoln Financial Field is about $250.

Photo by Matt Slocum / AP
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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