Army-Navy football game still likely to be played this year?

By Matt Johnson
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Amid growing uncertainty for the 2020 college football season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Army-Navy game seemed to be in jeopardy when the Patriot League canceled fall sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fortunately, one of the greatest rivalries in sports and a yearly tradition in college football could continue this fall despite the coronavirus.

Navy AD Chet Gladchuk intent on playing Army-Navy game

The Army-Navy Game has been a tradition in college football since the two iconic military academies met on the gridiron in 1890. The two schools have met 120 times, but that seemed to be in jeopardy this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After the Patriot League canceled its fall sports this year, many feared it could put an end to football season for these two prestigious military institutions. However, the conference’s decision excluded Army and Navy, allowing them to make their own decisions.

This year’s battle for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy is set to be held at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Dec. 12. On Monday, Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk made it clear that the Army-Navy game is his top priority and only a decision by the city would stop them from playing.

“If there’s only one game we’re going to play,” Gladchuk said, via ESPN. “It’s the Army-Navy game. Unless the pandemic is such at the time that we’re precluded by the city of Philadelphia to play that game, we have every intention of playing Army-Navy.”

Given last year’s battle drew more than 68,000 in attendance and always generates incredible television ratings, there is plenty of incentive for everyone to see this rivalry game continue.

Of course, there is plenty motivating both programs to play as well. Navy will want to start a new winning streak after it saw its 14-game stretch of dominance ended in 2016, before emerging victorious this past year. Meanwhile, Army will have its eyes on revenge and to prove it can still dominate this series.

The Army-Navy Game has taken place every year since 1930, including just a few months after the Sept. 11 attacks. It would be a surprise if we don’t see these two teams take the field this year.