The coronavirus pandemic has altered history again. For the first time since 1943, the annual Army-Navy football game will be played at West Point, New York.
The 121st game in the series was shifted from Philadelphia and will be played on Dec. 12 at Michie Stadium on the grounds of the U.S. Military Academy, the Capital Gazette reported. Game time is 3 p.m., and the annual rivalry game will be broadcast by CBS.
The series began in 1890, and Navy owns a 61-52-7 advantage. The Midshipmen have won 15 of the last 18 games. Eighty-nine of the games, including the last three, have been played at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
The game was moved north due to COVID-19 restrictions in Pennsylvania that would not allow the entire corps of cadets and brigade of midshipmen to attend, according to The Hill.
During World War II, two Army-Navy games were held on the academy campuses. The Naval Academy hosted the 1942 game in Annapolis, Maryland, while West Point was the site for the 1943 game, according to the Gazette. This year’s game will mark only the third time the game has been held in West Point. The others were the inaugural game in 1890 and also in 1892, CBS Sports reported. Navy has won all three times the game was played at West Point.
"We want to thank the City of Philadelphia, the Eagles and all involved in the planning for their efforts to navigate this historic game in the current COVID-19 climate,” Mike Buddie, Army director of athletics, said in a statement. “We are excited about this historic opportunity to host Navy and the Brigade inside the gates of West Point for the first time since 1943.”
According to the news release, it’s unlikely that fans will be allowed to attend the game.
“The health and welfare of the Corps of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipmen is the No. 1 priority,” Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, 60th superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, said in a statement. “Hosting the Army-Navy Game on West Point will be the safest way for the Cadets and Midshipmen to experience the game.”
“As has been decided, we will not be able to visit the home of Army-Navy this December,” Navy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk said in a statement. “History will repeat itself as we stage this cherished tradition on Academy grounds as was the case dating back to World War II. Every effort was made to create a safe and acceptable environment for the Brigade, the Corps and our public while meeting city and state requirements. However, medical conditions and protocols dictate the environment in which we live. Therefore, on to the safe haven of West Point on Dec. 12 and let it ring true that even in the most challenging of times, the spirit and intent of the Brigade of Midshipmen and Corps of Cadets still prevails.”
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