Army-Navy football is going to Beantown for the first time in series history.
Boston and Gillette Stadium will host the 2023 Army-Navy game, the service academies jointly announced Wednesday as part of a new five-year cycle for “America’s Game” that will feature five cities.
It will mark the first time since 1983 the Army-Navy game will be held somewhere other than Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington or East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The Dec. 9, 2023, game will be held in the greater Boston region in conjunction with the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party and the 225th anniversary of the USS Constitution’s maiden voyage. Gillette Stadium, a multi-purpose facility located in Foxborough, Massachusetts, is the home of the NFL’s New England Patriots.
The current contractual cycle, which lasted five years, concludes in 2022 with Army-Navy being played at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
As part of the new cycle, Army-Navy will return to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore in 2025. That downtown facility, which is home to the Baltimore Ravens, was awarded the Army-Navy game four times between 2000 and 2016.
Meanwhile, MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, will be getting the game again in 2026. MetLife Stadium organizers were praised by athletic officials at both service academies for doing an outstanding job hosting last year’s 122nd Army-Navy game, which drew a sellout crowd of 82,282.
New York City was selected to host the 2021 Army-Navy game to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The 2026 game will mark the 25th anniversary.
Philadelphia, which bills itself as the “home of the Army-Navy game,” will host the contest just once (2027) during the next cycle. The City of Brotherly Love has hosted 89 of 122 Army-Navy games with Franklin Field, Municipal Stadium, JFK Stadium, Veterans Stadium and Lincoln Financial Field all serving as sites.
Philadelphia, which last hosted Army-Navy in 2019, will go six years between games. Since 1932, Philly had never gone more than two years without welcoming the storied service academy rivalry.
The 125th Army-Navy game will be held at FedEx Field in Landover in 2024. The facility that is home to the Washington Commanders previously hosted the contest in 2011.
“Extraordinary efforts put forth throughout the bidding process made evaluations and final city selections highly competitive,” Naval Academy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said in a statement. “Our destinations over the next five years provide the academies with an opportunity to share the economic impact, history and tradition of Army-Navy with a number of communities in diverse geographic areas.”
Among the cities that were leading candidates to land the Army-Navy game were Charlotte, North Carolina, and Orlando, Florida. Army athletic director Mike Buddie called the annual contest a “great showcase” for both service academies and was excited so many different locales responded to the request for a proposal.
“We had great interest from many regions and thank the cities who participated in the bid selection process,” Buddie said. “We cannot wait to have this game played at some incredible venues in great cities.”
Costs to transport the entire Corps of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipmen is a big reason why only two cities outside the northeast corridor have ever hosted Army-Navy.
The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, hosted the 1983 contest and logistical expenses were massive. It cost $3.5 million to fly the nearly 9,000 members of the Brigade of Midshipmen and Corps of Cadets to the West Coast and many wound up stranded afterward.
Rolfe Arnhym, vice president of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, resigned as a result of the controversy surrounding the game. The Army-Navy ’83 Foundation, which Arnhym helped form, incurred $2.5 million in debt as a result of hosting the game.
Chicago has also hosted the event, with the 1926 Army-Navy game being held at Soldier Field.
Gillette Stadium’s bid was no doubt boosted by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, whose ties to the Naval Academy have been well documented. A six-time Super Bowl champion in New England, he is the son of Steve Belichick, the longest-tenured assistant coach in Navy football history.
The younger Belichick grew up running around the academy grounds and fondly recalls catching passes from legendary quarterback Roger Staubach after football practices.
Army-Navy football has also been held at Palmer Stadium in Princeton, New Jersey (1905), the Polo Grounds in New York City (nine times between 1913 and 1927), Municipal Stadium in Baltimore (1944) and Yankee Stadium in the Bronx (1931).
Army and Navy rotated hosting the initial four games of the series between the respective campuses in West Point and Annapolis. Army-Navy football returned to the campus settings in 1942 and ’43 due to World War II.
While the 2020 contest was scheduled to be played in Philadelphia, it was ultimately moved to Michie Stadium in West Point, New York, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Army-Navy football schedule
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia (2022)
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass. (2023)
FedEx Field, Landover (2024)
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore (2025)
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. (2026)
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia (2027)
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