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  • Richard Smith

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium – Navy Midshipmen

Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.57

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium 550 Taylor Ave Annapolis, MD 21401

Navy Midshipmen website Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium website

Year Opened: 1959 Capacity: 34,000


Navy Blue and Gold

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.

U.S. News & World Report often ranks 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.

The Navy football team plays as a 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.

Food & Beverage 4

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.

Atmosphere 5

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 push-ups after every Navy touchdown.

Neighborhood 5

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 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.

Fans 5

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.

Access 3

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.

Return on Investment 5

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.

Extras 5

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 worth 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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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