The 18th edition of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl will be played on Thursday, Dec. 31, at TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. (CT) on ESPN.
“We are excited to be playing on New Year’s Eve, one of the most traditional college football bowl game dates, and we are looking forward to another outstanding game this year,” said Brant Ringler, executive director of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. “While this year has been like no other, we will do everything possible to honor all those in the armed forces who make this game possible.”
The annual game, played in honor of the armed forces of the United States, is the only collegiate football bowl game that has hosted all three military academy football teams. The U.S. Military Academy (2010, 2017, 2018), the U.S. Air Force Academy (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2015) and the U.S. Naval Academy (2013, 2016) have all participated in the bowl. The game has included an academy team 10 times in the last 13 years.
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl has featured the “armed forces” theme since 2006. Patriotic overtones recognizing all branches of the service are prevalent throughout the game. Past Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowls have included fan-fest adventure areas showcasing armed forces hardware; flyovers; demonstrations by several of the military’s top skydiving teams; custom homes awarded to wounded warriors; on-field induction ceremonies; armed forces bands and honor guards; and the annual Great American Patriot Award presented by Armed Forces Insurance.
This is the fourth time that the game is being played on the last day of the calendar year. The game was also contested on Dec. 31 three straight years from 2007-09, and resulted in the bowl’s second, third and fourth most attended games. Other game dates have been Dec. 23 (2003-06, 2016-17), Dec. 29 (2012, 2015), Dec. 30 (2010-11, 2013), Jan. 2 (2015) and Jan. 4 (2020).
Since 2014, the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is the highest scoring of the more than three dozen bowl games in the nation with a total of 457 points scored. The next highest scoring bowls are the Rose Bowl (449), Miami Beach/Frisco Bowl (428) and Orange Bowl (403). Ten of the 12 teams to play in the Armed Forces Bowl over the last six years have amassed at least 30 points.
Eighty players who have participated in the Armed Forces Bowl since it began in 2003 have been selected in the NFL Draft, including six in 2020. Six former bowl participants were NFL first-round picks, highlighted by California quarterback and 2015 game MVP Jared Goff (No. 1 overall by the Los Angeles Rams in 2016). Other first-rounders include: Kansas defensive back Aqib Talib (2008), Cal center Alex Mack (2009), Cal defensive tackle Tyson Alualu (2010), BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (2013) and San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny (2018).
The bowl game also created and operates the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America. For additional information about the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, please visit ArmedForcesBowl.com and follow on Facebook and Twitter.
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is one of 17 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.
The SERVPRO First Responder Bowl will be played Saturday, Dec. 26, at SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. (CT) on ABC.