NFL

Power Ranking NFL Stadiums, 2014 Edition

Vincent Frank
Written by Vincent Frank

Of the 31 stadiums around the National Football League, most of them are amazing venues to hold a football game. There are, however, some that leave a lot to be desired. As teams start to understand the necessity of building state-of-the-art stadiums, we will start to see some of the older ones become nothing more than a part of history. 

Speaking of history, there are a few stadiums that may not be as modern as we would like. But their importance to the game of football means more than any materialistic items these new stadiums boast.

With the help of individuals around the NFL world, we decided to rank each and every stadium from worst to best. We relied on some insiders when we simply didn’t have the first-hand experience to give an opinion on a stadium.

So without further ado, check below for our power rankings of each NFL stadium.

31. Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland Raiders)

Courtesy of Business Insider

Courtesy of Business Insider

Having been to this stadium dozens of times, I can honestly same that it’s the worst in the professional sports world. From the sewage leaking out into the clubhouse for A’s games to the baseball diamond in the middle of the field for Raiders gams, O.co is an absolute joke.

Even fans in Oakland can agree that the Raiders need a new stadium. The issue here is that the city of Oakland has yet to work with the Raiders to get the team new digs and Mark Davis may very well relocate out of Northern California as soon as next year.

30. Edward Jones Dome (St. Louis Rams)

Courtesy of ESPN.com

Courtesy of ESPN.com

Ground broke on Edward Jones Dome back in 1992 in order to help bring a NFL team to St. Louis. Just a few years later, the Rams would relocate to the midwest. It’s now been 20 years since the Rams moved from Los Angeles and this dome is now outdated. It’s the humble opinion of this one writer that St. Louis made a mistake by not building an open-air stadium in the first place. But that didn’t seem to be in the cards at the time.

Back in 2012, Time Magazine ranked Edward Jones Dome as the seventh-worst stadium in sports. The Rams are under contract to play in the dome until March of 2015. This means they could conceivably move back to Los Angeles as early as next year. Don’t you find it funny that the two teams that uprooted from Southern Calfornia 20 years ago rank at the bottom of this list?

29. TCF Bank Stadium (Minnesota Vikings)

Courtesy of Vikingsgab.com

Courtesy of Vikingsgab.com

Minnesota Vikings writer Arif Hasan of VikingsTerritory.com and DailyNorseman.com was kind enough to provide these comments on the Vikings temporary digs.

Good: Modern, great view of field, facilities are much cleaner than most stadiums I’ve been to. Lots of entry points.

Bad: Concourses a bit narrow, doesn’t feel like “home” for Vikings, not enough concessions. Parking is a nightmare. And Biggest negative: not enough seats. New seating is comfortable, but feels out of place. Aesthetically not great. Still beautiful stadium.

The Vikings will move to a new state-of-the-art stadium following the 2015 season.

28. Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego Chargers)

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Notice all the horrendous football venues in California? It was a minor miracle that the San Francisco 49ers were able to build Levi’s Stadium considering the political and revenue issues in the state. Opened in 1967 and originally named San Diego Stadium, Qualcomm is one of the oldest non-historical professional sports venues in the United States. As you can see by the photo above, it leaves a whole heck of a lot to be desired from a looks standpoint.

While Qualcomm has played host to three Super Bowls, the NFL has even indicated it won’t bring another Super Bowl to San Diego without a new stadium.

27. Sun Life Stadium (Miami Dolphins)

Courtesy of Chatsports.com

Courtesy of Chatsports.com

Opened in 1987 and originally named Joe Robbie Stadium, this venue most recently hosted Super Bowl XLIV in February of 2010 and has been the site for five NFL Championship games. The league, however, denied Miami’s bid for Super Bowl 50, instead awarding it to the 49ers and Levi’s Stadium.

Up until 2011, Sun Life was a two-sport stadium, which also housed the then Florida Marlins. Back in June, the Dolphins unveiled plans for a $350 million renovation that will be funded directly out of the pocket of owner Stephen Ross. Until that’s completed, it’s among the worst venues for professional sports in the United States.

26. LP Field (Tennessee Titans)

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LP Field was built for the Titans two years after they moved from Houston. It was at once point considered a state-of-the-art stadium and has hosted the Music City Bowl for the past 15 years. Despite internal upgrades such as new video boards and other modern amenities, Tennessee’s home isn’t anything to write home about. See what I did there?

25. FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland Browns)

Courtesy of Browns.com

Courtesy of Browns.com

It opened in 1999 when the new Browns joined the National Football League. And despite being 100 times better than where the Browns played before, it’s simply doesn’t compare to other modern stadiums. The amenities are few and far between, but that doesn’t necessarily matter to the fans in Cleveland. My personal experience wasn’t too exciting either.

24. Ralph Wilson Stadium (Buffalo Bills)

Courtesy of Bills.com

Courtesy of Bills.com

This venue opened in 1973 and really didn’t have any major renovations until 2013 when the Bills revealed a new entrance plaza that you can see in the photo above. It’s considered one of the windiest stadiums in football and just isn’t up to snuff when it comes to the modernization of other venues around the NFL.

The Bills reached a 10-year lease extension with stadium officials, which gives the franchise the option to buy out the final three years of the lease. With a new ownership group likely to take over soon after the passing of Ralph Wilson, this venue won’t be around for too much longer.

23. Ford Field (Detroit Lions)

Courtesy of ESPN.com

Courtesy of ESPN.com

This venue opened in 2002 and was a boon for the Lions, who previously played at the Silverdome. It’s also one of the few stadiums that was financed purely through public funds and naming rights. But the overall experience at Ford Field isn’t necessarily too great. Detroit would have been much better going with an open-air stadium, at least according to my first-hand experience.

22. Fed Ex Field (Washington Redskins)

Courtesy of Redskins.com

Courtesy of Redskins.com

As evidenced by the fact that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is looking into building a new stadium, the franchise isn’t necessarily to happy with this rather old venue.  Fed Ex Field opened in 1997 and was originally named Jack Kent Cooke Stadium. The attendance isn’t an issue, as the Redskins have not had a game blacked out since 1972. Unfortunately, the make up of this venue leaves a lot to be desired. Much like other stadiums built around this time, Fed Ex simply hasn’t modernized to the point where it’s considered a state-of-the-art stadium.

21. Bank of America Stadium (Carolina Panthers)

Courtesy of delawarenorth.com

Courtesy of delawarenorth.com

This venue opened in 1996, one year after the Carolina Panthers’ debut as a NFL franchise. It’s the fourth-oldest stadium in the NFL that hasn’t received major renovations since opening. Owner Jerry Richardson has received some criticism locally for the lack of an effort to modernize the venue.

20. Georgia Dome (Atlanta Falcons)

Courtesy of Seatingchartview.com

Courtesy of Seatingchartview.com

The Atlanta Falcons will be getting a new home in the not-so-distant future. And it’s about time. The Georgia Dome is outdated at this point and one of the most talented teams in the league needs some new digs. Scott Carasik of Bleacher Report provided his comments about the best and worst aspects of the old stadium.

Best: Near multiple mass transit spots. Worst: Domed Stadium in the south. Generic design.

As always, Scott is to the point. Let’s hope Atlanta’s new digs have the same transportation options as the Georgie Dome. After all, this has been an issue with some of the newer stadiums.

19. EverBank Field (Jacksonville Jaguars)

Courtesy of Jaguars.com

Courtesy of Jaguars.com

I will plead ignorance here. The previous version of EverBank prior to the most recent renovations was among the worst in football. That I do know. Through two preseason games, not a lot has been made of the stadium. Though, the swimming pools right under that amazing high-definition video board are pretty sexy. This time next year, you can rest assured EverBank will be ranked higher.

18. Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia Eagles)

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Sporstnaut’s own Ben Haley, who also writes for eDraft.com, provided his insights about this venue.

Positives: Wind turbines and extra seats added last year, open concourses but stadium itself holds sound well and there are heat cells under the turf. Next to it is xfinity center which is a really cool sports bar. Nice luxury boxes/suited. Players Are right in front of the fans.

Negatives: Only recently big enough to host a Super Bowl, traffic in and out can be rough, security takes forever too. He also added being in Philadelphia as a negative, so take that for what it’s worth, especially coming from an Eagles fan and writer.

17. Raymond James Stadium (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Courtesy of RaymondJameStadium.com

Courtesy of RaymondJameStadium.com

Luke Easterling of the Draft Report and Bleacher Report provided these comments about Raymond James.

Positives: Pirate ship, good turf (unless USF played on it the night before), clear view from any seat. Also, kids tickets that start around $18/game. Second level seats down the sidelines are padded.

Negatives: Needs updating…video boards still aren’t HD. Parking too expensive. Bloody hot for the first month or so. Sun also fades the red seats pretty quick, makes them all look pink until they repaint ’em.

16. Mercedes-Benz Superdome (New Orleans Saints)

Courtesy of Superdome.com

Courtesy of Superdome.com

Despite the fact that the Superdome has hosted seven Super Bowls, it’s still among the oldest in the professional sports world. The venue was first opened in 1976 and received major damage during Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. While the venue has gone through major renovations, including a $320 million project following the hurricane damage, it’s simply not a model stadium at this point. Having been there, I can honestly say the NFL would be making a mistake if it ever allowed the Superdome to host another Super Bowl.

15. NRG Stadium (Houston Texans)

Courtesy of Texans.com

Courtesy of Texans.com

This venue opened in 2002 and cost about one quarter of what Levi’s Stadium cost to build in Santa Clara. It’s considered a state-of-the-art multi-purpose venue and has it’s nice little perks. Media absolutely love attending games here. As you can see in the photo above, the use of glass near the top of the stadium gives it an open-air feel to it. This is one of the only such stadiums in the sports world. And it really does set NRG apart from the rest that were built around this time.

14. Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis Colts)

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This venue opened in 2008 and replaced the RCA Dome as the home of the Colts. It boasts a retractable roof and a movable window wall, which enables more sun to come through and create an open-air feel to the stadium. It hosts the NFL Scouting Combine and has played host to multiple college basketball Final Fours in its short shelf life. As far as domes go, this has one of the best feels to it.

13. M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore Ravens)

Courtesy of NFL.com

Courtesy of NFL.com

Turron Davenport, Ravens beat writer for Pro Player Insiders, had a glowing assessment of Baltimore’s home digs.

M&T Bank has a very lively appearance as soon as you set foot into the stadium concourse. There’s a high-definition screen that shows Ravens highlights when you walk into the stadium. It is located when you come in on Gate D. The walls are accented with purple lights and there’s a big picture of Terrell Suggs that is above one of the entrances as well. The scoreboards inside the stadium are pretty cool also.

They have four LED video boards that are six feet tall and 22 feet wide at each side of the main video boards above each end zone which are 24 feet high and 100 feet wide. The LED boards show out of town scores, highlights and fantasy football updates. They also have ribbon style video boards that stretch around the seating bowl.

You can see the Baltimore skyline which is framed perfectly by the placement of the stadium within the city. The stadium also has one of the best view from the press box in the NFL. Unlike many others that are perched high off the field, M&T gives media a 100 level view which allows them to be closer to the field.

12. Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati Bengals)

Courtesy of ESPN.com

Courtesy of ESPN.com

Bleacher Report’s Chris Roling was kind enough to provide us with some thoughts on this venue.

It’s in a solid, developing area. One of the more modern stadiums. Plenty of concessions/bathrooms, food prices are high though. Great view no matter the seat, plenty of parking and what I think is 24-hour bus service to it. Escalators make getting to nosebleeds quick. Facilities and behind the scenes tour are a must experience. Although I suppose I’d mention the raw deal taxpayers got for its construction

11. Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Denver Broncos)

Courtesy of sportsauthorityfieldatmilehigh.com

Courtesy of sportsauthorityfieldatmilehigh.com

Former NFL safety Nick Ferguson, who played 10 seasons in the league and five with the Denver Broncos, was kind enough to share his thoughts of Mile High.

There’s something magical about Denver’s Mile High stadium atmosphere. Is it the 5,280 foot elevation, the spectacular visual driving in for a Monday night game or the best fans in the NFL, whose expectations gave us the confidence to defeat any opponent we faced.

The 2005-06 defeat of the juggernaut that was the Patriots remains to this day, the most exciting environment I’ve been blessed to be apart. The scene which was created, will go down as part of the Mile High’s history.

There are not many NFL stadiums that intimidate opponents as to what awaits them once they decide to step foot into the belly on the beast. That’s 5,280 ft of rich history, crazed fans and a beat down from a franchise that lives by only one creed “,Win or shut up.”

10. MetLife Stadium (New York Giants and New York Jets)

Courtesy of Giants.com

Courtesy of Giants.com

Jeff Lloyd over at RSEN Network and The Draft Report offered up his opinion on the stadium that hosted the most recent Super Bowl and was the newest venue up until Levi’s in Santa Clara.

Positives: Sightlines best seat in house is upper deck 50 yard line. So many food stands that you’re never out of your seat longer than five minutes. Rest rooms between every two sections.

Negatives: Security is too tough, traffic nightmare and not enough public transportation to get there. Lacks a great feel for either team because it’s occupied by two teams.

9. Heinz Field (Pittsburgh Steelers)

Courtesy of Pittsburghskyline.com

Courtesy of Pittsburghskyline.com

This venue opened up during the 2001 football season and houses both the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL team and the Pitt Panthers college football team. The Great Hall towards the east side of the stadium is a specticle in of itself. It includes a huge collection of memorabilia for both the Panthers and Steelers.

One of the best aspects about Heinz Field is the fact that there really aren’t many parking or transportation issues, something that wasn’t the case at old Three Rivers. In reality, this is one of the most underrated stadiums in the sports world.

8. University of Phoenix Stadium (Arizona Cardinals)

Courtesy of ESPN.com

Courtesy of ESPN.com

Former Arizona Rattlers intern Blake Murphy had this to say about his home-state stadium.

Positives: Grass grown outside (retractable field) and design of seats. Smaller stadium but not a bad seat anywhere in the house. There’s good, Arizona themed food at good prices compared to other stadiums. Old video board (too small) just got replaced by a new hi-def one. Athletes also like playing there.

Negatives: As a newer stadium and with Cards in Arizona more recently, not a lot of history. Also roof is hardly opened even on beautiful days for whatever reason, should be more often. Parking is alright but lots of fans had to park way over in the mall area and walk over.

Which leads to the No. 1 problem–Glendale location. It’s too far out from the rest of the greater Phoenix area and away from downtown. And after building the stadium the City of Glendale has been very uncooperative, refusing to build a parking garage and have refused to lower prices for hotels for the Super Bowl or hosting the Super Bowl experience, which is now in Phoenix.

7. Gillette Stadium (New England Patriots) 

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 Ethan Hammerman of Draft Mecca provided these comments about Gillette Stadium.

The Minutemen shoot after every touchdown, which is really cool. The ambiance is good and the angles are ideal to see players on the bench. Also, players sometimes mingle with the fans, which is cool. I once caught a game and sat next to former All Pro CB Mike Haynes.

6. Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City Chiefs)

Courtesy of BaltimoreRavens.com

Courtesy of BaltimoreRavens.com

Here is yet another amazing stadium. While technically one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL, Arrowhead is a classic venue for football games and has gone through some rather extensive renovations. It was practically reconstructed back in 2010 and is now considered a state-of-the-start stadium.

The atomosphere inside Arrowhead is about as electric as any stadium outside of Seattle. While the fans make it that way, the game-day experience is something you’ll never forget.

5. AT&T Stadium (Dallas Cowboys)

Courtesy of Cowboys.com

Courtesy of Cowboys.com

The first of the post-modern stadiums, AT&T (or Jerry’s World) is a spectacular scene for fans and players. The huge video board above the field is just one of the amazing aspects of this stadium. While the atmosphere doesn’t necessarily do a whole lot for the in-game experience, Jones and Co. pulled out all the stops in order to make the game a great viewing experience.

4. Levi’s Stadium (San Francisco 49ers)

Broncos 49ers Football

Probably one of the best fan experiences in the NFL. While only two preseason games have been played a Levi’s, it stands above the rest in terms of technology and modern amenities. The greenest of all stadiums in North America, Levi’s is the first of a kind that hosts a green roof and pretty much acquires all of its electricity by solar means. It has a huge high-definition video board on one end of the stadium, some of the best food you will find in the NFL and an amazing 49ers museum. It’s the model for future stadiums around the NFL.

3. CenturyLink Field (Seattle Seahawks)

Courtesy of CenturyLinkField.com

Courtesy of CenturyLinkField.com

ESPN’s Mike Sando had this to say about The Link.

Lambeau would be 1, then Centurylink for combination of city view, crowd and competitive team to maximize the venue.

As someone who has visited the Pacific Northwest, this makes a ton of sense. As you can see with the view of the photo above, Seattle’s state-of-the-art stadium is smack dab in the middle of downtown and it wants you to know that from the get go. The competitive advantage and crowd noise that the 12th Man brings also makes The Link one of the best overall fan experiences in the NFL.

2. Soldier Field (Chicago Bears)

Courtesy of Foxsports.com

Courtesy of Foxsports.com

First opened in 1924, Soldier Field is the oldest stadium in the NFL. The Chicago Rockets/Hornets of the old AAFC was actually the first professional team to call this venue home back in the late 1940’s, while the University of Notre Dame was the first football team to play at Soldier Field back in 1929. The history here is likely second to none in football.

While Soldier Field has undergone multiple renovations over the years, the experience within the stadium still brings back memories of great football games of the past. That’s something that will never change.

1. Lambeau Field (Green Bay Packers)

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Sports Illustrated’s Peter Bukowski provided these comments about historical Lambeau Field.

For me, Lambeau is so much more than the game. It’s the closest thing the NFL has to a college atmosphere with the tailgating and party atmosphere. Green Bay shuts down for Packers Sundays. And once you’re actually inside, the stadium itself is dripping with tradition. You see the ring of honor with all-time great names. It’s a reminder that Packers history is NFL history and the two are inextricably linked.

There is very little doubt that this stadium, as historical as it is, deserves to be No. 1 on this list.

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About the author

Vincent Frank

Vincent Frank

Editor-at-large, Sportsnaut.

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” Rumi