March-On for Midshipmen & Cadets Kicks Off Army-Navy Game Pageantry
My first Army-Navy game began bright and early when I arrived at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field four hours before kickoff, where I settled into my Press Box seat before walking down to the field level for the traditional March-On. As pictured above, each and every Midshipmen from the Naval Academy and Cadet from West Point march in precision onto the field with accompanying announcements identifying each unit with its leaders and hometowns. After starting the day with this pageantry, the USMA and USNA students then settle into their seats in the stadium corners at the same end awaiting the next spectacle of the Invocation, National Anthem, the two teams taking the field, and the coin toss with Vice President Joe Biden. In the meantime, the stadium fills with soldiers and sailors in every conceivable uniform towards its traditional sellout, as the buzz builds to a fever pitch unmatched in American sports. Then, as daylight turned toward darkness, the purest game of all began as the two institutions battled for the first time in years to take the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy, awarded yearly (including Air Force) to the winning service academy in football. With the annual backdrop of almost every senior playing their last football game ever, the game went down to the final minute when Army fumbled in the red zone while driving for the potential winning score, and Navy pounced on the loose ball to win their 11th straight game over Army, the longest winning streak in the 113-year series.
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