Game day: Naval Academy football tradition backed by hundreds behind the scenes in Annapolis |

Turns out that on game day, you don’t just show up two hours before kickoff and unlock the doors. Just kidding, of course — but those are very aware of what goes into putting on such a huge production five or six times in the fall. Here’s a great behind the scenes look at what it takes to present a single Naval Academy football game.

Navy game day at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium is about tradition, honoring what has come before in the storied history of the Blue and Gold — gridiron action, hot dogs, Midshipmen’s end zone push-ups following a score.

But behind the scenes, the 1,100 people working security, food service, stadium readiness and parking are following a script. The goal is an enjoyable and safe day for the thousands of fans. And they are ready to pounce on anything that varies from that game plan, whether it be a medical emergency or the threat of lightning.

It’s all hands on deck. After all, we are talking about the Navy, right?

Game time for the five Saturday Navy home games at the Annapolis stadium usually begins with a meeting the previous Monday morning. But last week, because of the Columbus Day holiday, the planning session for the Oct. 13 Temple game was held Tuesday. A short week.

A 24-page handout laid out the week’s plans on paper, including a three-page, 135-item event timeline ranging from testing stadium lights and portable toilet delivery to a pre-game bomb sweep and the traditional march on of the Brigade of Midshipmen. Oh, and two pages into it there’s the kickoff.

“It’s plan, plan, plan, then be ready for things that invariably happen, putting out the ‘fires,’ ” Bill Givens, associate athletic director for operations and championships, said after the meeting attended by about 35 people.

On game days, Givens is the coach, riding herd on the overall game from the field, staying in constant radio contact with the stadium operations center — or SOC — located in the press box high above the field.

There, Tom McKavitt, associate athletic director for facilities and maintenance, is the quarterback, coordinating with security, catering, first aid, parking, communications and more.

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