When discussing possible locations to host the Army-Navy Football Game, there are a handful of limitations and requirements to be met in order to facilitate such a grand sporting event.
The first Army-Navy Game was held at West Point in 1890. Since then, the game was been played in nine different cities: Annapolis, MD, Philadelphia, PA, Princeton, NJ, Baltimore, MD, New York City, NY Chicago, IL, Pasadena, CA, East Rutherford, NJ, and Landover, MD. Princeton, Chicago, Pasadena, and Landover, all hosted the game only once. East Rutherford hosted four times, Baltimore six times, and New York City, 11.
You’ll notice these locations are the homes of different professional football stadiums (with the exceptions of Princeton, Annapolis, and West Point). The years that were played in Annapolis or West Point all occurred very early on in the rivalry. Additionally, the lone game played in Princeton was in 1905. As the popularity of the match grew, the need for a larger venue became more obvious.
Another grave limitation on the location is the need to be able to transport the entire student bodies of Army Cadets and Navy Midshipmen to the game. 89 of the 120 meetings in the game’s illustrious history have been played in Philadelphia. Philly is almost exactly half the distance between Annapolis and West Point. Both trips take somewhere between 2 - 2.5 hours.
With the exception of Chicago in 1926 and Pasadena in 1983, every other game has been played on the East Coast and and no further south than Landover, MD (home of the Washington Redskins).
In order for a city to become a new destination for the Army-Navy Game, they will need to be able to facilitate a massive crowd that will push over 100,000 attendees and get every student to the location.
This past week, reports have been made suggesting Orlando, FL is making a push to become the newest home for America’s Game. We did an article exploring whether or not that destination would make sense. Now, we’ll discuss some other possible locations that have either been tossed around before or may be floating the idea.
Los Angeles, CA
We’re going, going, back, back....
Pasadena, located just outside of the City of Los Angeles, is home of the Rose Bowl, where the UCLA Bruins play their home games. The Rose Bowl has hosted Super Bowls, college football bowl games, one Army-Navy Game, and a handful of large events. However, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum may be an even better location. Located in the heart of LA, “The Coliseum” as it’s referred to by locals and outsiders alike, is a historic venue where the Opening Ceremony of the 1984 Summer Olympics was held. The Coliseum is a prominent sporting venue for the world, just like the Army-Navy Game is for the United States. Holding the match here could support some greater globalization for the sport of football. Furthermore, selling seats wouldn’t be a concern.
Although Los Angeles is large in population, it’s relatively small in Army and Navy specific presence. Additionally, we would still need to overcome the issue of transporting nearly 10,000 students, faculty, and support staff across the country.
Chicago makes sense for about only one reason: 2026.
Playing the Army-Navy Game 100 years after the 1926 game played in Chicago would be a neat sentiment to the game itself. Furthermore, Soldier Field could easily facilitate the large crowd. Neither Army, nor Navy would have any sort of home field advantage. Chicago, being located in the middle of the country, would allow many to travel an equal distance to attend a game that is on the Bucket List for many college football fanatics. Furthermore, students and staff COULD be bussed to the game. It would be a brutal ride, but it’s not totally unreasonable.
Many US Soccer games and international friendlies are played in Chicago, so the city is well-versed in supporting sports fans flooding into the city for a single event. There are still many inconveniences that come with the Windy City. But, a Century Game could be a nice idea, as long as it’s only kept to once every 100 years.
What better place to play America’s Game than where America’s Team plays? The military support from the Dallas/Fort Worth area is already well proven. The Armed Forces Bowl Game is played in Dallas every year, which Navy has already participated in multiple times. Additionally, former Navy great, Roger Staubach, is a resident of the area and has a strong influence. The population is full of fans who work for companies that are under government contracts and support the military.
The facilities inside the beautiful stadium that Jerry Jones built would be a great reward for the players and staff to enjoy towards the end of a long season. Lastly, the weather that occasionally impacts the game when played in the Northeast, would no longer be a factor. Our only holdup for Dallas would be, once again, transportation.
All three of these locations look to avoid giving Army or Navy a sense of a home field advantage. Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @AAE_SBN where you would to have the Army-Navy Game.