- The Washington Times - Monday, August 29, 2005

Jerry Fishman wasn’t sorry then, and he’s not sorry now.

The Maryland Terrapins linebacker stepped away from fallen Navy quarterback Roger Staubach during a game in 1964 and made an obscene gesture to the Midshipmen in the stands.

It was a gesture that would bring the football rivalry between the schools to a halt for four decades — a rivalry that finally will be renewed when the Terps and Midshipmen meet again Saturday at M&T; Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

But if given the chance, Fishman said he would do it all over again.

“Some say the Navy has forgiven Japan for World War II, but they won’t forgive me,” said Fishman, a retired lawyer who lives in Boca Raton, Fla. “I did things that were shocking all my life. I didn’t feel bad about it. I never really apologized. … If somebody wants to fly me up there, my son could pass on the legend” and do it again.

Indeed, the passionate rivalry — the series was plagued by ejections, rough play, stolen mascots and vandalized statues and buildings from its 1905 inception — remains heated for those who participated in that fateful game in 1964, a 27-22 Terps victory.

Staubach went on to greatness with the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League, winning two Super Bowls and earning a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But he still speaks of Fishman with disdain. So does Navy receiver Skip Orr, who left that game with a knee injury after a questionable hit by Fishman along the sideline.

The Terrapins claimed their own reasons for ill will, ranging from cheap hits by the Navy players to Midshipmen coming onto their campus to date Maryland coeds.

Still, they all say they’re glad the series will resume. The “Crab Bowl Classic” will draw nearly 70,000 fans to M&T; Bank Stadium, with tickets split evenly between the schools. Maryland’s 1965 team will be honored at halftime. Staubach bought 30 seats for former teammates.

Whether the century-old series will return to handshakes or clenched fists is uncertain. The old grudges have been tempered by time, but not forgotten.

“I’d like to think everybody comes out and shakes hands,” said former Maryland linebacker Chip Myrtle, who played from 1964 to 1966, of current players. “I’d like to see two fighters in a real slugfest.”

It was a brutal, one-sided series in the early years. Navy won the first eight meetings by a combined score of 256-7. Headlines spoke of “young Admirals” beating the “Farmers” and “Aggies” of the Maryland Agricultural College.

“Navy ran up an old-time score,” reported the Baltimore American in 1908 of the Midshipmen’s 57-0 victory. Nine years later, Navy won 62-0.

The series was stopped after 1934, when Maryland said Navy scored on an illegal play to take a 16-13 victory. However, Georgetown backed out of a game against Navy in 1950, creating an unexpected opening in the schedule. The Terrapins filled in, and 43,836 paid 50 cents each to see Maryland beat Navy 35-21 in the first game at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

Both sides worried that there would be post-game trouble. The Brigade movement order declared: “Midshipmen are under orders to behave like gentlemen and go straight home after the Maryland-Navy football game in College Park tomorrow. No midshipmen will enter the goal post activity or other altercation following the game.”

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