After coronavirus restrictions were loosened earlier this month, the Philadelphia Eagles were allowed to host about 6,000 fans in the stands at Lincoln Financial Field.
But the Army cadets and Navy midshipmen number too many to fit in that restricted crowd, forcing a change unprecedented for nearly 80 years.
So the Army and Navy academies announced Friday: the 121st Army-Navy game will be played at West Point’s Michie Stadium instead of the traditional site in Philadelphia.
The move is being made due to attendance limits placed on outdoor events in Pennsylvania because of the coronavirus. Those limits would not allow the entire Corps of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipmen to attend.
Army gets the Dec. 12 game at the academy in New York because the Black Knights are designated as the home team.
It will mark the first time the Army-Navy game has been played at a home site since World War II, when Annapolis hosted the 1942 game and West Point the 1943 game. The two schools also rotated hosting the first four games from 1890-1893.
"History will repeat itself as we stage this cherished tradition on Academy grounds as was the case dating back to World War II," the Naval Academy's athletic director Chet Gladchuk said in a news statement. "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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The two schools said they will "miss the warm welcome Philadelphia provides to Army and Navy fans."
The game will air on CBS Sports at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. There will likely not be fans in the stands except for the Cadets and Midshipmen