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M&T Bank Stadium - Army/Navy Game - Baltimore

Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.71

M&T Bank Stadium 1101 Russell St Baltimore, MD 21230

Year Opened: 1998 Capacity: 71,008


Army and Navy In Charm City

The Army-Navy Game is one of the most iconic sporting events in the United States. The rivalry football game between the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy has been going on since 1890, although has only been played annually since 1899. The game was not held in 1917 or 1918, due to World War I, and in 1929, when the two academies disagreed over player eligibility rules.

Navy leads the overall series. There have been seven ties.

Philadelphia is usually thought of as the main home to the game, although starting in 2008 a bidding process has now made the game more likely to rotate to various venues. Philadelphia still holds the record for most games hosted with 85. Counting 2016, Baltimore has hosted the game six times.

The 1924 game was held at the old Municipal Stadium. That stadium was located on land that eventually held Memorial Stadium.

Baltimore’s home of the Ravens, M&T Bank Stadium, has now been home to the 2000, 2007, 2014, and 2016 games. The current schedule only goes until 2017 (Philadelphia) with the game up for bids beyond that. Cities that join the bidding process will have to figure out how to pay for the transportation of the cadets and midshipmen to the game.

Chicago used to be the westernmost place where a game was held (1926), but the 1983 game in Pasadena, CA’s Rose Bowl changed that fact.

Food & Beverage 5

The stadium has added a Shake Shack to the stadium, which has created much excitement. Expect long lines, but the prices are decent and the food is pretty great at this new food option.

The Ravens have good quality concession stands around the stadium. There are many stands offering options such as beer for $8.25 to $11, depending on the size and brand. Bell’s famous chili bowl ($6), Papa John’s pizza ($8), stadium dogs ($5) are all nice options. Many stands tend to have generic names, such as Goal Line Grill, Kickoff Classics and the Chesapeake Market. There are also outposts of local favorites such as Attman’s Deli. A good choice at Attman’s is their corned beef or hot pastrami sandwich for $11. Kiosks will sell a Guinness draft for a good value of $9. There are also a few full-service bars scattered around, such as the Talon Pub and Party Zone, offering top shelf spirits for $12.50, with premium drinks for $9.50. There are several kiosks that also sell a variety of domestic and craft beers.

The best deals are the Subway six-inch sub for $7, the Double Bacon Dunk Burger for $9 and authentic Maryland crab cakes for $11.

Sodas are $5.25 for a regular size, but the $7.75 souvenir size comes with one free refill, and is a better choice. Also, look for booths offering a free soda or O’Doul’s for those who are willing to be the designated driver and not drink alcoholic beverages.

Atmosphere 5

The game atmosphere is amazing. There are activities both before and during the game to keep all of the fans engaged.

The game benefits from being held at such a fine facility. The Ravens have nice facilities and offerings for the team and fans.

The large video boards, known as RavensVision, past both end zones are amazing visual spectacles. There are plenty of 22-foot long LED screens that were recently added to the upper level concourses. These screens are big enough to be a normal video screen at many stadiums, and here, they are just for patrons on the concourse to enjoy. These go along with relatively new large LED screens at the entrance gates. The signage around the stadium is consistent, modern and appropriate.

The Ravens souvenir stands will be closed, but many smaller stands will be available for Army-Navy game merchandise.

Ravenswalk leads the fans from downtown and Oriole Park towards M&T Bank Stadium. It has always been a good place for fans to enjoy pre game activities. One should also stop by to see the text of the former facade from Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, which is on display between the two stadiums. The text was a memorial to those killed in the two World Wars. The main words of “TIME WILL NOT DIM THE GLORY OF THEIR DEEDS” reminds visitors of those this nation lost in the past. The line is a quote from Gen. John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I.

Neighborhood 4

The neighborhood is generally the same as Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but does suffer a slight bit, as it is further away from downtown Baltimore. The Horseshoe Casino, located south of the stadium, has the potential to make this “other” side to the stadium become more and more important to the Ravens’ social scene. The casino offers game day events, as well as parking.

Close to the stadium, and right across from Oriole Park, are Pickles Pub and Sliders Bar & Grille. The Federal Hill neighborhood is also close by. There are a few fun restaurants and bars here. Abbey Burger Bistro (1041 Marshall Street) is one great choice. The beer selection is good, and they offer a dizzying array of burger choices, which are all likely to satisfy. Mother’s (1113 S Charles Street) and Magerks (1061 S Charles Street) are also good places for a pre or post-game meal.

The Inner Harbor is a popular tourist destination, and is a short walk from Camden Yards. There are numerous options here, but they will be expensive and more touristy. If you do want a reasonable option here, look for the value of the M&S Grill (201 E Pratt Street in the Pratt Street Pavilion of Harborplace) happy hour, as it is considered the best in town.

Baltimore is home to many touristy attractions, such as Harborplace, Fells Point and Fort McHenry. The American Visionary Art Museum on Key Highway is located on the way to Fort McHenry and should not be missed, although its unique collection will not be for everyone.

If looking for a bit of Baltimore sports history, the Sports Legends Museum is located adjacent to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Fans 5

This game means the world to the teams and fans in attendance. Everyone has a side. “Go Army! Beat Navy!” and “Go Navy! Beat Army!” are chanted and shouted almost non-stop before and during the game.

Even with the emotions of the game, there is a respectful tone. This is not a crowd that will fight over their emotions. These are respectful fans who take pride in their teams, as well as their nation.

Access 5

M&T Bank Stadium is right off I-95, with only a couple of turns putting you on the highway home. Parking garages can be found in all directions from the stadium. Street parking is not a great option.

Parking near the Inner Harbor is a good option. There should be many bargains around that area. The 400 E Pratt Street garage with entrances off of Lombard Street and Gay Street is a nice convenient choice for a little over $10, if paid ahead of time.

If you’re not driving to the game, the other primary mode of access is the MTA Light Rail. From points north and south of downtown Baltimore, you can take the train to the ballpark. The Light Rail is slow, so make sure you know that beforehand, and the crowds will be overwhelming after the game.

Return on Investment 4

The Army-Navy game may not be the cheapest game around. It is a desired ticket for many fans. So expect to pay a decent amount of money. That, coupled with pretty expensive parking, means the game will not be cheap. But for the experience you will get, the price seems fair and reasonable.

Extras 5

It is the Army-Navy game, so that is probably extra enough as it is. But there are other reasons to attend.

Stay outside the stadium to witness the walk of the Cadets and Midshipmen into the stadium. then get inside to watch the formations form on the field. It is well worth attendance just for this.

The game will always have a good flyover pre-game, whether it is Army helicopters or Navy jets that you prefer. The Navy and Army will also always have skydivers jumping into the opening ceremony.

Both the Navy and Army have ships and other large equipment around town and at the Inner Harbor displaying their awesome firepower.

Don’t forget that you are at the epicenter of Baltimore football, so stop and take a look at the Johnny Unitas statue located at the end of Ravenswalk and in front of the stadium. That and the brand new Ray Lewis statue are honors to iconic men of Baltimore lore, not to mention a great pre-game meeting spot.

Final Thoughts

The Army-Navy game is one of the most special events a sports fan can ever attend. The overall pageantry of the event and the pure sports aspect of the contest makes it a must see for any real sports fan.

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