The show will go on. It just won’t happen in Philadelphia. The storied Army-Navy game, which was set to celebrate its 90th year in Philadelphia, will instead be moved to Army’s Michie Stadium in West Point, New York.
The two service academies announced Friday that the 121st meeting of the teams will be moved because of the attendance limits in place for Pennsylvania’s outdoor events.
According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Lincoln Financial Field — which has been hosting the game for over a decade — could only hold 15% of its maximum occupancy under the current state requirements. That guideline would limit attendance to 7,500 fans.
And that number of fans would not be enough to allow both the entire Corps of Cadets from Army and the full Brigade of Midshipmen from Navy — a total estimated to include 9,000 people — to attend the game.
New York will host the Army-Navy game for the first time since 1943. The game’s date, Dec. 12, will remain the same.
Get the latest Army-Navy odds here.
Even in New York, Army-Navy attendance will be limited
Attendance will likely be restricted to just members of the Army Corps and the Navy Brigade at the game’s new site.
So it certainly won’t be a packed house for one of football’s greatest rivalries.
But the show will go on.
Army is off to an impressive 6-1 start this season following a 49-3 victory over Mercer on Saturday. Navy, which has faced a much tougher schedule this season, dropped to 3-3 following a 37-21 loss to Houston on Saturday.
Betting lines on the Army-Navy game will certainly be available at all of the region’s sportsbooks closer to game day.
The action just won’t be taking place in Philadelphia.
“Medical conditions and protocols dictate the environment in which we live,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said in the news release. “Therefore, we’re on to the safe haven of West Point on December 12. And let it ring true that even in the most challenging of times, the spirit and intent of the Brigade of Midshipmen and the Corps of Cadets still prevails.”
Army-Navy is being moved, but some fans are attending football games this fall
Though the state’s attendance requirements weren’t enough for the Army-Navy crowd, some Pennsylvania teams are still hosting fans this fall.
The Pittsburgh Steelers hosted an estimated 5,000 fans for a game with the Cleveland Browns in Week Six.
And the Philadelphia Eagles were allowing up to 7,500 fans for their Thursday Night Football game with the New York Giants earlier this week.
But unfortunately, the number just wasn’t big enough for Army-Navy.
“We fully support and understand the decision that the academies have made around this year’s game,” Larry Needle, executive director of PHL Sports, a division of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, said in the release. “Certainly, there have been ongoing conversations with the city and the state and the Eagles in an effort to try to make it happen … this is really the right decision from a public health perspective and just ensuring the safety and health of everyone involved with the event, including the Corps and the Brigade.”
Army-Navy game will return to Philadelphia in 2022
Two years remain on an agreement between the city of Philadelphia and the service academies for the annual Army-Navy game.
MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, will host the 2021 Army-Navy game in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. And the 2022 game will make a return to Lincoln Financial Field.
But this year, the Empire State plays host to one of college football’s best rivalries.
The show will go on.
Just not here.