Philadelphia Should Pursue Hosting the 2026 Notre Dame-Navy Game

Philadelphia has not hosted Notre Dame-Navy since 1993, but recent movement of the Army-Navy Game make a return to the City of Brotherly Love a welcome one.

Philadelphia has hosted Notre Dame-Navy a total of 8 times, but just twice since 1974.
Source: Philadelphia Enquirer/Alexander Deans

Philadelphia and the Army-Navy Game are two aspects of college football forever intertwined. The City of Brotherly Love has hosted 90 of the 124 editions of America’s Game. However, Philadelphia does not come to mind with the Notre Dame-Navy rivalry. Despite the series' well-traveled nature, it has failed to find its way to Philadelphia since 1993, and the city has hosted just two games in the series since 1974. Nevertheless, now may be a better time than ever for Notre Dame-Navy to make its Philadelphia return.

Surprisingly, Philadelphia will not host another Army-Navy game until 2027. This five-year hiatus between the last time it hosted, in 2022, and the next time it will host, in 2027, is the longest gap between Army-Navy games in Philadelphia since a four-year gap in World War II. Notre Dame-Navy would give Philadelphia a consolation for the absence of the Army-Navy Game.

Frequent Army-Navy Games in Philadelphia was likely the reason for the lack of Notre Dame-Navy games in the city. Forcing Navy fans to make two trips to Philadelphia in a season for neutral site games made little sense. The recent rotation of cities hosting Army-Navy from 2023-2027 means a duplicate trip to Philadelphia is only possible in years when Temple hosts the Midshipmen.

In 2026, Navy "hosts" Notre Dame, but the school has not chosen a site yet. Temple travels to Annapolis that season to take on the Midshipmen, aligning the stars for a potential Notre Dame-Navy return. Additionally, this would be Notre Dame's first visit to Philadelphia since 2015. The Fighting Irish sold out Lincoln Financial Field on Halloween of that year when they played in the most anticipated game in Temple history.

Beyond lacking a big Service Academy spectacle, Lincoln Financial Field joining former iconic Philadelphia stadiums, John F, Kennedy Memorial Stadium, and Veterans Stadium, as hosts of Notre Dame-Navy is a fitting homage to the city's rich sports history. The Eagles' current home took the torch in hosting Army-Navy from both stadiums, so why not add Notre Dame-Navy to its lineage?

Arguably, the most fascinating aspect of Notre Dame-Navy is its vagabond nature. Northeastern metropolises such as Baltimore, Washington D.C., and New York City have hosted the two everlasting college football brands, while Naval outposts in Florida and California also took turns. 2026 represents another opportunity for the rivalry to pack its bags, returning to the doorstep of an old home known as the epicenter of Service Academy football. Without an Army-Navy Game until 2026, Philadelphia must pursue the next best option and host one of college football's most underrated rivalries.