When I was a freshman at the University of Maryland, the first sporting event I went to was a Maryland football game against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium. I had never been to a major college football game; I was unprepared for what I was about to see. The tailgates, the marching bands, and the sea of midshipmen who had made their way up to Baltimore from Annapolis. It was completely and beautifully overwhelming.
But as a football naive 18-year old, I didn't know that the Navy-Maryland game was a lot more than just the first game of my collegiate career. It's an in-state rivalry that has been going on for over 100 years; and usually, it hasn't been particularly cordial.
Rick Snider of the Washington Examiner sets the table for this weekend's game with an incomplete history of the rivalry between Navy and Maryland. Quotes and anecdotes after the jump.
Maryland-Navy has twice been halted over hostilities. It was ugly from the start; Navy won the first eight games by a combined score of 256-7, including 76-0 in 1913 and 62-0 in 1917. The “young Admirals” ruled the “Farmers” of Maryland Agricultural College.
Such one-sided scores led to vandalized campus statues and stolen mascots on both sides. Finally, the series was suspended in 1934 after Maryland claimed Navy cheated during the Mids’ 16-13 win. The teams wouldn’t meet again until Maryland suddenly needed an opponent for its 1950 opener when Georgetown withdrew. Byrd Stadium debuted with Maryland beating Navy 35-21.
Now that is what I like to see from a college football rivalry! Not that I'm suggesting this type of action when the two teams play this time around; but there isn't a good rivalry that hasn't once included vandalism, and you can quote me on that.But those were just kind-hearted shenanigans compared to what started happening in the '60s.
Still, it was only silly shenanigans until 1963, when Terps running back Darryl Hill, a former Navy plebe who became the ACC’s first black player after transferring to Maryland, was the recipient of alleged dirty hits by the Mids.
The 1964 game was penalty-filled, with the Terps wanting to avenge Hill’s treatment. Maryland linebacker Jerry Fishman was twice called for late hits on Navy quarterback Roger Staubach. Fishman also flashed his middle finger twice at Navy fans and officials, who honored the series’ contract the following year before ending the rivalry again.
Fishman's actions sound like normal bad blood, until you read the rest of that paragraph.
Fishman later owned a house near the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and admitted repeating the gesture to passing Mids over the years.
That's a lot of things (vengeful and crazy come to mind) but most of all it is loyal. Kevin Cowherd of the Baltimore Sun has more on Fishman's lifetime of retribution. I'm just going to involve one quote here, but the entire story
is well worth your time; especially if you're a Maryland fan looking for a way to get jacked up before Monday's game.
"I will promise not to give [Navy] the finger," he says with a throaty chuckle. "But I told my 10-year-old: 'You give 'em the finger. And the tradition will carry on.' "
Navy and Maryland might not be the most important rivalry in the area, but it could definitely be the most heated.