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Why 2023 Army-Navy game is not in Philadelphia, how to watch, rivalry's history

Previewing the Army-Navy Game, which isn't in Philadelphia this year
Previewing the Army-Navy Game, which isn't in Philadelphia this year 03:44

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It's one of college football's most storied rivalries, going back 124 years. The Army-Navy game returns this weekend, airing on CBS Philadelphia and streaming on Paramount+. Army takes on the Navy on Saturday at 3 p.m.

The Army-Navy game was in Philadelphia in 2022, as it has been for many years, but this year is different. For the first time, the game is being played in New England at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

On Tuesday, the traditional Army-Navy Game Ball run began on the U.S. Naval Academy campus in Annapolis, Maryland, and will end Saturday morning at Gillette Stadium. It's a 450-plus-mile trek that Navy broadcaster Pete Medhurst says comes with a rewarding payoff.

"You've got youngsters at the Navy Academy, they are going to have an amazing story to share with family and friends 10, 15, 20 years from now," Medhurst said. "But that's what this game does. This game brings out all of those special things along the way, and so many cadets from West Point or midshipmen from Annapolis get to participate, get to have just a small part in all of this."

Here's what you need to know about Saturday's Army-Navy game.

Why is the Army-Navy game not in Philadelphia?

When many think of the Army-Navy game, they think of Philadelphia. That's because it's long been tradition for the game to be played in Philly, or at least the mid-Atlantic region. This year mark's just the third time in the rivalry's history that the game will be played elsewhere. In 1926, the game went to Chicago, and in 1983, it was in Pasadena, California.

Throughout the history of Army-Navy, 90 games have been played in Philadelphia, 15 in New York, 10 in Maryland, six in New Jersey, one each in Illinois and California.

But Saturday takes the rivalry to a place it's never been. The game is in the Boston area in 2023 to honor the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party and the first battles of the American Revolution, the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

The Army-Navy game will return to Philadelphia in 2027. Next year, the game will be played in Washington, D.C., followed by Baltimore in 2025 and New Jersey in 2026.

What to watch for in the 124th Army-Navy Game

Medhurst and Army play-by-play announcer Rich DeMarco joined CBS News Philadelphia to preview this year's matchup. Both are expecting another close game between the academies; the last average margin of defeat in the last nine games is 7.6 points.

DeMarco said the Army-Navy games come down to just a couple of plays, a sentiment Medhurst echoed.

"One or two explosive plays in a close game could make a big difference in this one coming up on Saturday," Medhurst said.

Both Army and Navy come into Saturday's game at 5-6, with Army riding a three-game winning streak. The Black Knights began the season 2-6, with a five-game losing streak sandwiched between their second and third win.

Navy lost its last game, 59-14, and one of its six losses included a 32-18 defeat to Temple University at Lincoln Financial Field in early November.

DeMarco said he's expecting a "rock fight" between the academies, but Army has something to play for: the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy.

"For the second straight year, Army has really taken off here in November. The Black Knights were 2-6, three wins in a row, now at 5-6. So a chance to even off their record at 6-6 on the season," DeMarco said. "Also win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy based on Army's win over Air Force in November and Navy's loss to Air Force in October. With a win on Saturday, Army could win that trophy outright. A Navy win would force a three-way tie between the three academies."

Medhurst highlighted Army quarterback Bryson Daily as a player to watch Saturday and two Pennsylvania players on Navy: Alex Tecza and Eli Heidenreich, both from Pittsburgh.

Tecza and Heidenreich have potential to be "game-breakers" for the Midshipmen, Medhurst said.

Army-Navy Game history

Navy leads the all-time series, 62-54-7, with its largest victory coming in 1973 with a 51-0 win in Philadelphia.

Army beat Navy 20-17 last year in the first-ever overtime game between the two military academies.

The Midshipmen also have a winning record against the Black Knights in Philadelphia: 45-41-4.

The only state where Army has the advantage is New York, where it's 7-3-1 against Navy.

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