The Best and Worst Stadiums in the NFL

Football would be nothing without the stadium. I mean, playing on a huge patch of grass in the middle of nowhere is appealing as a “back to basics” exercise, but it’s hardly what the fans would want. Not all stadiums are top notch, though. We’re going to find out which suck, and which rock.

Georgia Dome – The Atlanta Falcons

Home to the Falcons since the stadium opened in 1992, the Georgia Dome has been marred with controversy over its structural integrity. Only three years after the stadium opened it was hit by a storm that did considerable damage to the roof, though nobody was hurt, thankfully. The Georgia Dome’s days are numbered at this point, with a demolition scheduled for 2018.

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Sports Authority Field at Mile High – The Denver Broncos

While it may be called Sports Authority Field, for now, that name is likely to change in the very near future. Sports Authority missed two payments on the stadium, and are now facing bankruptcy. What does that mean for the stadium, though? The most recent renovation was in 2013, so luckily the place doesn’t need any sprucing up in the near future, but you never know.

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New Era Field – The Buffalo Bills

The Bills are a legacy team pre-dating the merger of the American Football League and the National Football League, so you can imagine their home stadium has some serious history. Opened in 1973, the stadium as a solid “old school” look and feel. It is allegedly cursed too, having been built on an old Native American village AND having a family cemetery nearby.

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Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum – The Oakland Raiders

Oakland itself is in a weird spot right now. Famously a deprived suburb outside San Francisco city limits, Oakland has found itself being gentrified by the wealthy middle class priced out of the city itself. This has led to the Coliseum having a significant improvement drive to attract these customers. Hosting both Baseball and Football games, it’s certainly a diverse stadium.

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EverBank Field – The Jacksonville Jaguars

Although opened officially in 1995, the EverBank Field has a historic legacy back to the 1920s. The first Football stadium constructed on the site was the Fairfield Stadium in 1928, later expanded into the Gator Bowl in 1948. EverBank Field still uses portions of the Gator Bowl but has understandably seen major renovations, with more on the way once 2017 hits.

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Hard Rock Stadium – The Miami Dolphins

Formerly known as the Sun Life Stadium, the home of the Miami Dolphins recently changed hands to gain the Hard Rock branding. The stadium itself is fairly recent, when you consider many you may see on this list were constructed during the 50s and 60s. Since it was opened in 1987, this stadium has been able to host five Super Bowls along with many other amazing events.

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Ford Field – The Detroit Lions

You can’t think about Detroit without also thinking about Ford, so the naming of the stadium makes complete sense. Opened in 2003, Ford Field is unique in that while it is an indoor stadium, it lets a large amount of natural light onto the pitch. The stadium uses a type of artificial turf, however, making the decision to include so much natural light slightly nonsensical.

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Qualcomm Stadium – The San Diego Chargers

No expense spared for the San Diego Chargers here. Even with the huge amounts of cash dumped into the stadium to make it one of the best on the West Coast, Qualcomm isn’t done investing in it yet. Opened during the end of the 1960s, the stadium has changed hands quite a few times since then but has seemingly landed in a very safe pair for the 21st century.

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M&T Bank Stadium – The Baltimore Ravens

The stadium was constructed for the arrival of the Ravens, having left Cleveland in Ohio for Baltimore in 1996. By 1998, the construction was finished, and the Ravens have happily been at the stadium ever since. The stadium itself is pretty middle of the road, it’s a very functional stadium for the average sports fan, but it doesn’t really attract much in the way of major televised games.

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FedEx Field – The Washington Redskins

To say the team operating at FedEx Field are controversial would be an enormous understatement, but let’s concentrate on the stadium for now. Opened in 1997, it has been expanded three times and renovated twice. Despite this, the stadium has come under scrutiny over the years thanks to penny-pinching attempts to increase revenue and poor grass quality.

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FirstEnergy Stadium – The Cleveland Browns

The FirstEnergy Stadium is modern when put in context with other stadiums that have existed since the 20s, having opened in 1999. That said, it hasn’t been expanded since opening. In fact, capacity has dropped by almost 6000 seats since the stadium opened. Thankfully this drop in seats was to accommodate a long renovation that helped bring the stadium into the modern era.

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Mercedes-Benz Superdome – The New Orleans Saints

You can’t go to New Orleans without marveling at this terrific stadium. Originally opened in 1975, the stadium has seen its fair share of turmoil. The stadium was used as a shelter of last resort during Hurricane Katrina, and even then the stadium suffered damage. It reopened again in 2006, with small and large renovations being undertaken in the decade since.

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Lincoln Financial Field – The Philadelphia Eagles

The Lincoln Financial Field was constructed as a replacement for Veterans Stadium, which was showing its age. Opened in 2003, the stadium had a renovation and expansion during 2013-2014, which included solar panels to the exterior. You’ve got to give the stadium owners props for this eco-friendly method of cutting their power bill down.

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Nissan Stadium – The Tennessee Titans

Opened in 1999, the stadium has been the long-term home for the Tennessee Titans. The stadium had a rocky construction, as the site was hit by a tornado that pushed development back significantly. Since then, though, the stadium has seen no major disasters or controversies. It was recently renovated in 2012, and while not as up to date as other stadiums, it holds its own.

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Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – The Los Angeles Rams

The Rams have a long history at the coliseum but have only just relocated back here after an extended period of being based in St Louis. The stadium itself is one of the oldest in the United States, having been opened in 1923. Needless to say, it has undergone numerous expansions and renovations since, and despite a remaining classic styling, it really is a great venue.

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Raymond James Stadium – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

You can’t separate the Raymond James Stadium and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have been intrinsically linked by being a tenant of the stadium since it opened in 1998. The stadium is noted for having hosted two Super Bowls. It also has an elaborate pirate ship feature with the Buccaneers branding on the side. It also recently underwent $100 million in renovations.

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NRG Stadium – The Houston Texans

The Texans have played at the NRG Stadium since it was opened in 2002, though back then it was known as the Reliant Stadium. The Stadium was showing its age a few years ago when it was passed over to host the Super Bowl because the venue wasn’t appropriate. Thankfully, the management saw sense and heavily invested in the stadium with a 2013 renovation.

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Arrowhead Stadium – The Kansas City Chiefs

Whether the title is a good thing or not, the Arrowhead Stadium holds the record for being the loudest according to the 2013 Guinness World Records. The stadium had a lengthy three-year renovation between 2007 and 2010, which is worrying considering the stadium hadn’t been worked on since it was opened in 1972. Don’t expect them to renovate for another 30 years.

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University of Phoenix Stadium – The Arizona Cardinals

Many of the features of the University of Phoenix Stadium are state of the art, despite having first been opened a decade ago. It doesn’t seem like they’ll need to renovate anytime soon either, given the seating space can be extended from 63,000 to over 78,000 if required. This high-capacity stadium is definitely one of the best in the NFL right now.

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Metlife Stadium – The New York Giants & The New York Jets

Not only is the Metlife Stadium one of the most recognizable in the whole NFL, but also one of the very few that is home to two major regional teams. Opened in 2010, the venue saw its first Super Bowl awarded to it, which was played in 2014. Along with being the premiere sports stadium in the New York area, the Metlife Stadium has hosted some of the biggest music acts in the world.

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Gillette Stadium – The New England Patriots

The best a man can get, as the Gillette slogan goes. Does the Gillette Stadium love up to that saying? Well, yes and no. While certainly a modern stadium, having been opened in 2002, there are no plans on the card for major renovations shortly. The facilities are still top notch, and the stadium regularly hosts major games in the NFL such as three season-opening games.

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Lucas Oil Stadium – The Indianapolis Colts

The purpose behind the construction of the Lucas Oil Stadium was to have a multi-purpose arena for regular, and irregular events. As such, the design of the stadium was made to accommodate multiple sports and events such as music competitions. While the stadium itself is great for fans, it has been noted that its modular design means that it is not always the best for NFL games.

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U.S Bank Stadium – The Minnesota Vikings

This stadium is practically a baby, having only been opened in 2016! While originally intended to open in 2012, the plans… slipped a little. So what about the stadium itself? It looks stunning, and the facilities are top notch. While it hasn’t really been used much yet, we anticipate the U.S Bank Stadium to become one of the more popular in the NFL in the following decade.

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Bank of America Stadium – The Carolina Panthers

As expected of a stadium with Bank of America branding on it, some very serious money has been put into the stadium to make it one of the best in the United States. Despite being opened only in 1996, it has been renovated twice in the last decade and expanded four times since doors opened. It goes without saying that the Bank of America Stadium is perhaps the fanciest ever.

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Soldier Field – The Chicago Bears

This stadium started out as Municipal Grant Park Stadium during its first year after being opened in 1924, but very quickly became Soldier Field; a name that has well and truly stuck. Soldier Field is a fixture of South Side Chicago, and while it only got renovated during the early 2000s, it’s a great stadium to go to for the history alone. It really is a legendary stadium to visit.

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AT&T Stadium – The Dallas Cowboys

The AT&T Stadium was a long time coming, with plans dating back almost a decade before it officially opened in 2009. Although it has since been eclipsed in size and construction costs, for a good few years there, the AT&T Stadium was one of the finest used by the NFL. As of now, it sits in the upper tier of stadiums that fans and teams alike love to come to. A real classy joint.

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CenturyLink Field – The Seattle Seahawks

It’s no surprise that a stadium in rainy Seattle has an “upper lip” above the top stands to keep the rain off the fans. The Clink, as it’s known by fans, is one of the major landmarks of Seattle, standing out amongst its already distinctive skyline. Regarding facilities, it’s a solid and reliable stadium to see a game out. Amazingly, the construction was a month early, AND under budget.

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Paul Brown Stadium – The Cincinnati Bengals

Recently renovated in 2014, the Paul Brown Stadium is thoroughly modern and ready to take on the next decade or two without much extra work to its facilities. The stadium is widely recognized as being one of the few Football stadiums in the United States to be acclaimed for its architecture, with architect Dan Meis having also won an industry award for his work on the stadium.

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Lambeau Field – The Green Bay Packers

Opened in 1957 as City Stadium, Lambeau Field has been renovated and expanded many times since then. It still very much retains a classical Football stadium look, however. With a capacity of over 81,000, Lambeau Field was at one point the crown jewel in the NFL’s stadium roster. There may be bigger and more expensive stadiums out there now, but Lambeau Field is still great.

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Heinz Field – The Pittsburgh Steelers

Heinz Field was plagued with controversy before they even broke ground on the stadium, with funding sources being a primary concern of the public and local Government. The stadium itself is actually a favorite for visiting fans thanks to its huge capacity and great views. Although not actually the best stadium in the NFL, it is widely recognized as a close second.

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Levi’s Stadium – The San Francisco 49ers

Opened in 2014 and costing nearly $1.5 billion, you can easily say Levi’s Stadium is the most sophisticated in the entire NFL. Plans for the stadium had been in development for nearly 20 years before it opened and almost abandoned altogether. Thankfully, they pulled through, and now San Francisco has what many consider the best stadium for NFL games, bar none.

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