With a chance to try something different, Army and Navy instead chose to stick with tradition.
The annual Army-Navy football game will be played in Philadelphia four times from 2018-2022, returning to its most frequent host city.
Military academy officials and Army-Navy game sponsor USAA announced Tuesday at Philadelphia's City Hall that Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL's Eagles, will be the site of the 2018, '19, '20 and '22 games. Later in the day, they announced at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, that the 2021 game will be played at the home of the New York Giants and New York Jets.
Army-Navy already is scheduled this season for Philadelphia, where the rivals have met 86 times, including the first meeting at Penn's Franklin Field in 1899. The game usually draws a sellout crowd, and city organizers estimate an economic impact of more than $30 million.
"As a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, I have fond memories of the Army-Navy Game, including my time spent in Philadelphia on those cold fall Saturdays," said retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral John Bird, USAA senior vice president for military affairs. "The importance of this game is instilled in each new cadet and midshipmen from their first day at the academy."
The 2021 Army-Navy game will be the fifth played in East Rutherford, which is about 10 miles west of the World Trade Center site.
"It is fitting that we play this game following the 20th remembrance of Sept. 11 as we will honor those we lost that tragic day and show that we are unified as a nation," Army athletic director Boo Corrigan said. "The interest level in the game and our future sites was extremely high with first-class bids coming from some of the nation's best cities, which made for extensive discussions and a difficult decision for those involved."
Yankee Stadium in New York and Fenway Park in Boston were among the other sites bidding to host future Army-Navy games. Also in the mix were M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. The old Yankee Stadium was the site of Army-Navy in 1930 and '31, and the Polo Grounds hosted the game 11 times before that. Since then, the closest it has been to New York City is East Rutherford. Army-Navy has never been played in Massachusetts. Baltimore has been the site of six Army-Navy games, including last season.
"As we made the comparison between various cities, there was no question that Philadelphia is the benchmark," Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said. "We always come back to our roots."
This year's Army-Navy game will mark the 11th time Lincoln Financial Field has hosted.
Army snapped a 14-game Navy winning streak in the series last season with a 21-17 victory.
Associated Press Writer Errin Haines Whack in Philadelphia contributed to this report.
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