Every year, one of the most talked about College football games of the season is the Army vs. Navy game held in Philadelphia. With a deep-seated rivalry and competitive spirits, students and athletes hail from their universities for an annual showdown. But the army-navy game is way more than just a football game. It is a long standing tradition including commissioning ceremonies and celebrations of camaraderie.
The Navy Midshipmen and Army Black Knights travel to Philadelphia for the game most years to face off in a neutral territory. For the first time since World War II, the game will be played in New York at West Point’s Michie Stadium due to COVID-19 regulations. The stadium will host the Corps of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipmen, but the presence of other fans is unlikely.
The Midshipmen and Cadets have traveled to Philadelphia 89 times in the history of their 121 match ups and the academies have only hosted the games 6 times in total. Currently, Navy leads the Overall match up history 60-52-7.
On a day filled with competition and traditions, fans and students pour into the city and stadium area
with chants of “Go Navy, Beat Army” and “Go Army, Beat Navy” as they prepare for the excitement of the
day. Some families cheer for the same team while others are houses divided as some generations or
siblings served for different branches.
The day begins long before the brigade of Midshipmen and Corps of Cadets march in formation
onto the field in navy coats and white covers. With units from each academy lining up and gathering
at their muster stations to enter the stadium, fans tailgate in the parking lots before finding their seats
in the stadium. Drum line battles ensue as part of the traditions during the day as midshipmen and cadets compete against each other to claim best showmanship and skills.
Just before kick off, fans can expect a fly over including demonstrations of navy and army parachute
skills, and when the president is in attendance, a view of Air Force One. Another long standing tradition is the prisoner exchange where students who spent the fall at the opposing academy return to their home school to cheer on their team with classmates. This symbolizes the end of the fall semester.
As a sign of solidarity and respect, both schools sing the alma matters of first the losing team and second the winning team. This long-standing tradition represents the fact that though they compete against each other on the field, they are united in their service to the United States and respect their comrades in arms.
This year will look different from years past. Midshipmen and Cadets will be present at the game being held at West Point, but it is unlikely that fans will be able to attend due to the COVID-19 pandemic
regulations. Those in attendance for both ceremonies and the game will be tested 48 hours before their
arrival to the Game on Dec. 12, 2020. The game will continue for the 121st time because it’s more than
just a game; its a long standing tradition of rivalry and respect that brings two branches together to
compete against each other before coming together in solidarity.
Sources: Army Times, Navy Online, We are the Mighty