FOXBORO, Mass. — There’s been no shortage of big-time games played at Gillette Stadium in its 21-year history.

It was practically the host site for the AFC Championship Game during the New England Patriots’ two dynastic runs. FIFA has tabbed it to host past and future World Cup matches. Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney have a stranglehold on the place and can play at the venue almost whenever they want.

There isn’t a single event that lived up to the hype more than Army-Navy, however.

The 124th edition of Army-Navy emanated from Gillette Stadium on Saturday, delivering on every possible level. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about on-field performance, pregame ceremonies, you name it. There’s a reason they call it America’s Game.

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In the lead up to the event, a “fan fest” was held for fans within the Enel Plaza outside of the stadium, allowing fans to take photos with U.S. Army tanks and U.S. Navy boats. The time prior to kickoff was reserved for the Academy Brigade of Midshipmen, followed by the West Point Corps of Cadets, to march on the field in formation to be recognized by fans. Then, Army and Navy veterans parachuted onto the field, while helicopters and jets flew over head at the conclusion of the national anthem. That was just what happened before the game!

Then the game happened, and became one of the very best we’ve seen in the rivalry’s 124-year history.

Army would hold on for victory, but not before Navy made things interesting by giving themselves a chance to tie the game with just three seconds remaining in regulation. The Cadets held on, winning a war in the trenches like they have so many times before.

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It always seems to be that way, however. There’s something between the Black Knights and Midshipmen that just breeds hate.

“We could have played it out in the parking lot with nobody out there and I promise you the two teams would have fought their asses off to win the game — pardon my French,” Army coach Jeff Monken said postgame. “That’s just the way these games are. We could have met halfway up the interstate and just said, ‘Let’s get it on right here.’ That’s what this game is. It’s going to be a a bloodbath street fight every time it’s played.”

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The win itself wasn’t even the end of the pomp and circumstance, as Army took sole possession of the Commander In Chief’s Trophy with their second consecutive win over Navy. It also gave the Black Knights the opportunity to sing their alma mater second, forcing the Midshipmen to watch on in hopes they can put a bow on things next year.

“It’s always awesome to sing second. This was an amazing atmosphere in Foxboro, so glad we could sing second here,” Army linebacker Kalib Fortner said.

Featured image via Danny Wild/USA TODAY Sports Images