'98 Mids-Irish game eyed for new NFL stadium

March 26, 1996|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

The Maryland Stadium Authority has begun negotiations with the Naval Academy in an effort to hold the 1998 Navy-Notre Dame game at the football stadium to be constructed at Camden Yards.

John Moag, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, met last week with Navy athletic director Jack Lengyel to outline the city's proposal.

"[Moag] made a nice presentation, but we didn't discuss all the details," Lengyel said yesterday.

"We always have a few cities interested when we're scheduled to be the home team against Notre Dame. We've also had inquiries from the Meadowlands in New Jersey and Jacksonville [Fla.] for the 1998 game. I would like to get this settled by mid-May."

Moag, who was representing Art Modell, owner of the soon-to-be-named Baltimore NFL franchise, said attracting the Navy-Notre Dame game would be a major financial catch for any city.

"When they've played the game in Philadelphia, it meant over $15 million in revenue," Moag said.

It was Lengyel's understanding from the preliminary talks with Moag that Navy would receive a flat guarantee to play here.

"We would split that figure with Notre Dame, but we own the television rights," added Lengyel.

Modell has been seeking events to stage at the new stadium in addition to the eight to 10 games his football team will begin playing in 1998 after spending its first two seasons at Memorial Stadium.

Modell, longtime owner of the Cleveland Browns, has ties with Navy dating to the 1970s. The Midshipmen played the Fighting Irish at Cleveland Stadium in 1976 and 1978.

But Navy and Notre Dame share a much richer football history in Baltimore. They have played here 17 times, dating to their first meeting in 1929 at Municipal Stadium -- the forerunner to Memorial Stadium.

They met five times in Baltimore in the '30s and again in the '40s. Navy registered its last victory here over the Irish in 1956, 33-7.

Notre Dame, which leads the Baltimore series, 13-4, won the next game at Memorial Stadium in 1958, 40-20. The teams did not play here again until 1986 (Notre Dame won, 33-14). Their most recent clash here was in 1988 (a 22-7 Notre Dame victory).

This year's game will be played in Dublin, Ireland, on Nov. 2. Navy will be the home team, but the Fighting Irish is likely to be the crowd favorite.

Pub Date: 3/26/96

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