This weekend is the 123rd annual Army Navy Game, which after a brief hiatus to DC, will once be held at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field. This annual football outing, which was first held in 1890, is a fierce competition between the Army’s Black Knights and Navy Midshipmen usually held on the second Saturday in December. Historically the game is held in a neutral city; Philly has been the most frequent host as it’s equidistant from West Point and the Naval Academy.
Not only is the Army Navy game a great chance to come out and tailgate, as well as visit Philadelphia, but it’s also a good chance to see all the pomp and circumstance that comes with any military academy event, and on this date, it comes to Philly rather than having to drive to New York or Maryland.
My family has a pretty strong military tradition. My dad’s a retired Marine Colonel and his father was also in the service. My maternal grandfather, like I’m assuming many of yours, was a veteran of WWII. One of my mother’s brothers was in the Marines (which is essentially how I came into existence) and another was a career Army lawyer who graduated from West Point. Two of my cousins subsequently went to West Point as well and while they were in school we went rather frequently to pick them up or attend West Point football games. I’ve always been extremely impressed with all the tradition and protocol that go into these army events: the marches and planes and parachutes and music, and one could argue that the Army Navy game is the pinnacle of this.
When my sister lived in Philly the Army Navy game became a bit of a tradition. Like many events I “attend” I simply tailgated these games and then moved on to watch them at one of the numerous watering holes in Philly, but they were always fun days I look back upon fondly which is why I’m always so invested in telling others to see one for themselves. I won’t be tailgating this game because I have prior obligations in NYC but one of my friends is going so I’m making her text me pictures.
Gates open up for tailgating at 11 and the kickoff is at 3. If you want tickets to the game, tailgate or hotel deals, visit PhillyLovesArmyNavy.com . The tailigate should be fun, but if you’re unable to weather the cold (and if you’re a native of PA, grow up, you should be used to it by now) you could head over to XFinityLive!, which I’m sure will be a much warmer party atmosphere for you.
If the tailgating and the game are on your agenda, then most of your Saturday will probably be eaten up, especially if you tailgate just a bit too hard. My recommendations would be to make sure you eat and then head out for the night until you can’t take it anymore. Philly has one of my favorite bar scenes, and there’s several good recommendations from my Running With the Santa’s post last weekend or try this post if you’re in the mood for something Irish.
If you want this to be both an informative and celebratory weekend, make sure you check out the Navy Patrol Boats visiting Penn’s Landing just for this weekend. They’re open for tours and midshipmen will be on hand to give you a glimpse at life on the boats.