The stadium is notable for being the site of the 1942 Rose Bowl Game. Duke had won the invitation to the game as the eastern representative. However, the attack on Pearl Harbor, just weeks after the end of the 1941 season, led to fears of a Japanese attack on the West Coast. General John L. DeWitt, commander of the Western Defense Command, advised the Tournament of Roses Association not to hold the game at the Rose Bowl Stadium itself. Soon afterward, the government banned all large public gatherings on the West Coast, which ruled out Bell Field on the campus of Oregon State, the host team from the PCC, as an alternative venue. The Tournament of Roses Association originally planned to cancel the game, but Duke officials invited the Rose Bowl and Oregon State to Durham to play the game. The offer was accepted, and on a cold, rainy January 1, 1942, 56,000 fans, 22,000 of whom sat on bleachers borrowed from nearby NC State and UNC, watched the heavily favored Blue Devils fall to the strong defense of the Beavers 20-16. It is still the only time the game has been played outside of Pasadena, California.
In October 2012, Duke announces they will begin major renovations that will eventually seat 43,915.