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Official Review by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium is the home field of the United States Naval Academy Midshipmen football team. It is also home to the school’s men's lacrosse team, and the Chesapeake Bayhawks lacrosse team. The stadium opened on September 26, 1959.
The United States Naval Academy was established in 1845 under Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft and is the second-oldest of the United States' five service academies. Students are officers-in-training, and are referred to as midshipmen. Candidates for admission generally must both apply directly to the academy and receive a nomination, usually from a Member of Congress.
Tuition for midshipmen is fully funded by the Navy in exchange for an active duty service obligation upon graduation. Approximately 1,300 people enter the Academy each summer for the rigorous Plebe Summer, but only about 1,000 midshipmen graduate. Graduates are usually commissioned as ensigns in the Navy or second lieutenants in the Marine Corps, but a small number can also be commissioned as officers in other US services, and the services of allied nations.
The 2012 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked the US Naval Academy as the No. 1 Public Liberal Arts College in the nation, tied for first with the US Military Academy.
Navy is located in Annapolis, MD. Annapolis is the capital of the state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County. Located on the Chesapeake Bay, the city is home to nearly 40,000 residents.
As of 2015 the Navy football team now plays as member of the American Athletic Conference. The American Athletic Conference started after the Catholic, basketball playing institutions left out of what was then known as the Big East Conference to start their own version of said conference. In most other sports Navy plays in the Patriot League.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The permanent concession stands around the stadium offer the usual, basic food options seen at college football venues. The prices are fair, with items such as hot dogs at $3.50. No item is too expensive here. You will see many of the midshipmen trying out the many options.
There also many temporary concession stands that add to the options. The Ultimate Destroyer Nachos for $8 and Wowmonds (almonds) are just a few of the nice options here.
There is no alcohol sold in the venue.
There is a great sense of tradition at a Navy football game. There are memorials scattered all over the stadium. Class honors and battle names are evident nearly everywhere. The battle names on the front of the seating sections is pretty cool as they honor the many battles fought for American freedom.
The stadium has two main grandstands, a small south stand and grass hill on the north end. Seating on the hill is pretty spectacular, and has a seating section above it. All seats have backs to them except the Midshipmen seating area. No big deal, as they do not sit during games.
Another nice thing is watching the group of Midshipmen doing pushups after every Navy touchdown.
The stadium sits just outside the US Naval Academy campus. If you have time, you should wander around the beautiful grounds and see where the Navy elite train.
The US Naval Academy Museum is a nice place to start a visit.
Other amazing sites to visit while on campus are the The Naval Academy Chapel (home of the crypt of John Paul Jones), Bancroft Hall (the largest college dormitory in the world) and the Herndon Monument. The Herndon Monument is where every year it is covered with lard and plebes attempt to climb the monument, remove the plebe headwear and put a standard midshipman hat on top. This symbolizes the successful completion of their first year. Legend also has it that the midshipman who places the sailor's cap upon the monument will be the first member of the class to reach the rank of Admiral.
Besides the amazing campus, one should visit the historic downtown of Annapolis. The city known as the 'Sailing Capital of the World' has a bright and beautiful downtown harbor area filled with great shops and restaurants. The state capitol complex is also in this area.
If you are looking for fine dining, Café Normandie (185 Main St.) has great french/seafood options, while Harry Browne's American (66 State Circle) is a place to be seen. Treaty of Paris Restaurant at the Maryland Inn (16 Church Circle) is another expensive option.
Dry85 is a great gastropub style establishment. Try their southern style fried chicken sandwich. It is delicious. Also browse their extensive whiskey and bourbon menu.
If you want something a bit less pricey, try the iconic Chick and Ruth's Delly (165 Main St.). Just don't be surprised when your fellow diners just happen to be the governor or other state leaders.
If you're looking for food away from center-city Annapolis, try Red Hot & Blue (200 Old Mill Bottom Rd S) or Old Stein Inn (1143 Central Ave E, Edgewater, MD). One offers great barbecue, while the other is a must stop for German food.
The fans are an older crowd than you may see at many stadiums. That can mean pretty quiet groups although the Middies can certainly be the opposite of that. The Brigade of Midshipmen is required to be in uniform for all games.
Annapolis is a small city, with small, tight roads. This can make parking a tough ticket as the ones near the stadium are always spoken for. Look for options in neighbor churches and resident driveways.
The best option would be to park downtown and walk, although it won't necessarily be cheaper. But you will be closer to after game food options.
Annapolis is at the confluence of Route 50, I-97 and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. It is not far from Baltimore and DC, which is good because it is not far from many things. But it will mean traffic can be pretty bad. Please plan ahead.
There is cheap, quality food and a pretty high caliber of football skills on display. That along with the pretty good value in ticket prices means that attending Navy is a good option. The added tradition on display makes it a great value.
After the game players sing their alma mater ("Navy Blue and Gold") with the rest of the students. The opposing team will usually join in. It is a great display.
The parade of Midshipmen before the game is not to be missed. It is a special thing to display.
Nearby historic Annapolis is worthy a visit by itself. Make sure to stop in before or after games.
The memorials, plaques and signage are everywhere honoring various people and groups. The class crests are the most obvious, but around every corner seems to be other honored notations. Spend some time reading and soaking up the history and tradition.
Roger Staubach winner of the 1963 Heisman Trophy and United States Naval Academy Midshipmen is honored a few places around the stadium. He is also a frequent attendee of games so keep an eye out for him.
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium is a great place to watch a football game. Couple that with all the history and traditions on display make this a worthy stop for all football fans.
Member Review by gtcrawley
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium bills itself as a "memorial that happens to be a stadium." Opened in 1959, this intimate venue in Annapolis, MD should be on your to do list if you are in the Maryland state capital area. The experience will be better than you think.
Member Review by collegiatestdms on Apr 20, 2011
I'm not going to do a big review because Geoff covered it very accurately. If you can't understand the history and get goose bumps at a Navy game, then there is nothing I can say to encourage you to attend a game.
I personally enjoyed the town of Annapolis, although I was disappointed that you couldn't walk around the Naval Base like you can at an Army game in West Point.
I thought the fans and the atmosphere were amazing, loved the march into the stadium that the cadets do.
Access was fairly easy, although I parked where Geoff mentioned and it was just shy of a mile each way. However, it made leaving the game extremely easy as it puts you on a different road then the traffic leaving the stadium.
My return on Investment was really good, as I got in for $20 for a real seat. Apparently it was Boy Scout day and I found a troop who had extra tickets and got in for face value, which was below the normal price of $33.
I liked to food options. I ate a BBQ Pork sandwich that came with a 4 oz side of potato salad for $6. A great price and it was good. However, I really wish someone in the athletic office would have emailed me back about a few questions I had when I was looking for a ticket and parking. I know they got the email...
The extra points are just for the history and momuments set up both inside and outside the stadium. Really connected me to the history since I was not born when most of our past conflicts occured.
Member Review by garyboy on May 03, 2015
I recall coming here in 2001 first time and it was pleasant and nice but lacking in excitement. They have renovated it so end zone has seats but other is a hill where mostly toddlers and Mommies are roaming the back concourse. I have to admit that Navy fans are very bland and dont even stay after half time and thats pretty bad and ruins the excitement. I dont want to knock too hard as I am a Navy fan but Michie Stadium? IT AINT! Its a very nice family setting where people get upset when you stand and cheer too loud and the most noise from some of them is when they are telling you to "please sit down" or giving you rude stares. It feels like you are at a game with a bunch of "Buffy and Biffs" who are just biding their time to get to sailing. Now the Brigade makes the game seem like a game but thats just 4,000. It is the quietest sell out I have seen. We used to go to games here but havent in years after being out cheered one too many times by opposing fans. While the fans are nice- they can be "too nice" if you want an exciting experience.The Navy team deserves better louder and full game support from the mannequins posing as fans in their seats. The seats are close and the food is ok. The stadium is off campus and in a very flat zone which adds none of the great Annapolis setting. Its basically one road in and out. If you do go to Annapolis its a great day- but we are talking at the stadium here.
Member Review by Aaron S. Terry on Nov 12, 2015
Navy has some great years sometimes, and other times they don't do as well. But the band is always solid - you have to love the precision military marching, and the only place you can see this outside the service academies is at Texas A&M, but technically they are a military school too (by federal charter), so you can call them one. The stadium is decent, but again depends on the crowd - the cadets are always there in force (b/c they have to be), but you will see bigger, louder crowds in good year. Getting there is easy enough, the stadium is a little off the beaten path and you probably have to park on the grass somewhere (since there are not too many parking lots around) but the crowd is small enough it isn't a hassle.
165 Main St.
Annapolis, MD 21401
66 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
185 Main St.
Annapolis, MD 21401
16 Church Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
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