What You Need to Know About Each NFL Stadium
Not every stadium hosting a National Football League team is made the same. Some are brand-spankin'-new, while others (Oakland!) are practically falling apart. Each stadium has its own unique quirks and perks, and while some have run-of-the-mill cuisine offerings, others make a point to provide meals that its guests won't soon forget. We took a stab at pointing out the highs and lows of most NFL stadiums, including a couple not yet in existence. Here they are, from worst to first.
Dignity Health Sports Park: Los Angeles Chargers
When the Los Angeles Chargers were the San Diego Chargers not so long ago, they had a bastion of hardcore fans but failed to regularly fill the stadium despite having big-name players such as LaDanian Tomlinson, Phillip Rivers, Antonio Gates and Junior Seau. That said, the Chargers went from poor attendance to practically no attendance when they moved to L.A.
L.A. Memorial Coliseum: L.A. Rams
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has plenty of history. It was originally constructed in 1923, and while it has undergone several renovations to keep pace with modern stadiums, it hasn’t actually succeeded on that front compared to the stadiums being constructed today.
FedEx Field: Washington Redskins
Compared to when the team was winning numerous championships under legendary coach Joe Gibbs between 1981 and 1992, owner Dan Snyder has dragged Washington Redskins fans through levels of indignity that few could have imagined. Since buying the team, the Redskins' record has fallen to 141-190-1, and the stadium where the team plays, FedEx Field, matches that sad state of affairs.
New Era Field: Buffalo Bills
If you were to identify a city where an NFL city exists with no apparent explanation as to why, it would probably be Buffalo. Buffalo, NY is not a major market, is not close geographically to such a market, and therefore stands out like a sore thumb. However Bills fans are rabid, and they own their small-market status.
TIAA Bank Field: Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville stands alongside Buffalo as the two most head-scratching locations for an NFL franchise to exist. The city is not even among the top three largest in Florida — that would be Miami, Tampa, and Orlando — and J-Ville haters mock it as a place where you’re likely to find an episode of Cops being filmed.
Hard Rock Stadium: Miami Dolphins
Hard Rock Stadium is one of those NFL stadiums that can't seem to keep a sponsor. It's been known as Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Stadium, Landshark Stadium (shout out to Jimmy Buffett!), Sun Life Stadium and now Hard Rock Stadium. When a stadium can’t hold a sponsor for an extended period of time, chances are that it's not a great stadium.
Nissan Stadium: Tennessee Titans
Nashville is an up-and-coming city, and the Titans seem to be on an upward trend of late as well. It’s a shame that the home of the Titans, Nissan Stadium, is not in lock-step with the ascendance of the city and franchise.
Bank of America Stadium: Carolina Panthers
Bank of America Stadium was built in 1996 to accommodate the expansion franchise that was the Carolina Panthers. Like most stadiums built during that era, Bank of America Stadium is beginning to reach the line of outdated NFL arenas, if it hasn't already crossed it.
FirstEnergy Stadium: Cleveland Browns
FirstEnergy Stadium was constructed in 1997 and was aptly named Cleveland Browns Stadium for the first six years of its existence. When it took on the name FirstEnergy Stadium in 2013, the title of the building changed, but not a whole lot else did. Browns ownership resulted in minor cosmetic updates since 1997, but nothing drastic.
Paul Brown Stadium: Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Brown Stadium should get credit as one of the few stadiums not to shamelessly sell its naming rights to the highest bidder. And, to its further credit, the location adjacent to the Ohio River makes for some nice views, though it can also make for harsher winter conditions than Bengals fans may prefer.
Raymond James Stadium: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Raymond James Stadium was built in 1996, and was considered an innovative arena when it was unveiled. With its life-sized pirate ship, red seats that matched the Bucs' uniform colors and excellent sight lines throughout, the stadium, known by locals as ‘Ray Jay,’ is still considered an above-average place to take in a football game.
MetLife Stadium: New York Giants, New York Jets
MetLife Stadium is one of the earliest constructed in a slew of new-generation stadiums, and so it has all the amenities a sports fan could ask for. That is, you have a full range of food options (mind you, we're still talking stadium food), the concourses are built for large crowds and there aren't many bad seats.
Soldier Field: Chicago Bears
Soldier Field is one of the most iconic stadiums in NFL history, as it was built in 1924 and served as home field to legends like Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers, Mike Ditka and the entire '85 Bears team. It was originally called Grant Park Stadium but changed its name in 1925, and it still serves as a memorial to those lost in combat.
M&T Bank Stadium: Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore sneakily has one of the best professional sports stadium locations of any city in the United States. The stadiums for the Baltimore Orioles baseball team and the Baltimore Ravens football team are both within walking distance of Baltimore's inner harbor, where hotels, tourist spots and great eating are abundant.
Gillette Stadium: New England Patriots
New England Patriots fans would likely argue that Gillette Stadium is the preeminent football arena in the entire National Football League, and at least in terms of its team’s success, it’s not a crazy argument to make. There's no way around it: Gillette Stadium is an above-average football stadium.
Lincoln Financial Field: Philadelphia Eagles
The ‘Linc,’ known more formally as Lincoln Financial Field, is home to the riotous fans of the Philadelphia Eagles. Its perhaps most notorious feature is an in-stadium jail. The seating bowl creates great, 360-degree sightlines, and the terraced decks were created to avoid true nosebleed seats.
Mercedes-Benz Superdome: New Orleans Saints
Known throughout most of its history as simply ‘The Superdome,’ the New Orleans Saints' ownership sold the naming rights in recent years without sacrificing the "Superdome" moniker. The Dome is known as arguably the loudest arena in all of professional football, and well-lubricated fans known as Who Dats fill the seats to capacity every Sunday.
Levi's Stadium: San Francisco 49ers
Levi's Stadium isn't actually in the city that the team's name implies. It’s located in Santa Clara, a city almost an hour away from San Francisco, and the traffic that you have to endure on the way to a 49ers game is rough, especially if you're commuting from the city.
Ford Field: Detroit Lions
Ford was a logical sponsor, and perhaps the only logical sponsor, to have on the building when the Detroit Lions unveiled their new football stadium in downtown Detroit in 2002. Unlike much of Detroit, Ford Field has aged well, and it’s a testament to the indoor stadium's forward-thinking design.
State Farm Stadium: Arizona Cardinals
Nestled in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, Arizona, State Farm Stadium (formerly University of Phoenix Stadium) is known to NFL aficionados for one defining feature: The side of the futuristic-looking stadium opens, and the entire field is wheeled out into the sun so that the grass turf is exposed to ideal sun conditions.
Empower Field at Mile High: Denver Broncos
Once known simply as Mile High Stadium, Empower Field at Mile High is the current name for the home of the Denver Broncos. Not only can you toke up in this stadium (it's legal there), but it’s also one of the most iconic stadiums in the league. Despite being originally built in 1948, renovations make it feel thoroughly modern.
NRG Stadium: Houston Texans
NRG Stadium was built for the Houston Texans expansion franchise and was unveiled before the 2000 NFL season. It’s not the newest stadium in the league, but that makes it all the more remarkable that NRG Stadium remains one of the premier venues today.
Arrowhead Stadium: Kansas City Chiefs
Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri is among the oldest stadiums in the NFL, and also among the most iconic. Built in 1972, the venue known to football fans simply as ‘Arrowhead’ has a unique upper-deck bowl that dips on the end-zone sides of the stadium, providing a look that is immediately recognizable.
Lucas Oil Stadium: Indianapolis Colts
Lucas Oil Stadium was built in 2008, making it one of the newer venues in the NFL. It features a barn design, a nod to the Midwest region that it calls home, while its array of glass panes gives it a modern feel that is unique from any other stadium built today.
Heinz Field: Pittsburgh Steelers
Heinz Field is set against the Allegheny River, which makes for a majestic backdrop against which to watch a football game. Like Baltimore, Pittsburgh had a clever plan to make each of its professional sports arenas within walking distance not only of each other, but also the downtown area.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium: Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons are perhaps most well known for losing a 28-3 third quarter lead against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51 in 2017, but don’t let that distract you from how nice their stadium is. Until the new LA Stadium opens in 2020, Mercedes-Benz holds the title of youngest arena in the NFL.
U.S. Bank Stadium: Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings played in one of the most loathed stadiums in the NFL, the Metronome, for most of their history. Now they are absolutely spoiled with U.S, Bank Stadium, the second-youngest stadium in the league. It has all the trappings of an ultra-modern venue, from great food to spacious, tasteful concourses.
AT&T Stadium: Dallas Cowboys
The stadium commonly known as "Jerryworld" was a paragon of modern architecture when construction wrapped up in 2009, and it continues to be the venue of choice for most major college bowl games. With its massive video screen, luxury suites and massive seating capacity, AT&T Stadium will be amongst the NFL's elite stadiums for some time.
The late Paul Allen had a hand in designing CenturyLink field, and the brilliance of the stadium's design persists eight years after construction finished. The partially-enclosed design was meant to enhance the volume of crowd noise, and visiting teams can attest that the design has the desired effect.
Lambeau Field: Green Bay Packers
You had to know that Lambeau Field would be ranked high, didn't you? There is no stadium more iconic than Lambeau, whether you love the Packers, hate the Packers or are completely apathetic toward them. The yellow and green aesthetic matches the team's colors like few stadiums do, and its history (it was built in 1957) is unrivaled.