Ranking the best NFL stadiums

We have seen a wave of new stadiums built in recent years and will welcome two new architectural masterpieces this season. The question is, which NFL stadiums are the best in the NFL?

RANKING NFL STADIUMS: We have seen a wave of new stadiums built in recent years and will welcome two new architectural masterpieces this season. The question is, which NFL stadiums are the best in the NFL?

The 2020 NFL season was unlike anything before. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many NFL stadiums prevented fans from attending games early in the regular season. As the year unfolded, with the NFL losing billions of dollars in stadium revenue, teams started welcoming a smaller number of fans back into their buildings.

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Fortunately, fans will be welcomed back inside NFL stadiums for the 2021 season. That means, at long last, we’ll finally get to see SoFi Stadium and Allegiant Stadium, which could quickly pove to be some of the best venues for professional sporting events.

Let’s dive into our NFL stadium rankings entering 2021.

28. FedEx Field – Washington Football Team

Ranking NFL Stadiums: FedEx Field
Landover, MD, USA; FedEx Field during the third quarter of the game between the Washington Redskins and the Cincinnati Bengals. Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports

WHY IT’S BOTTOM OF OUR NFL STADIUM RANKINGS: We’re not exactly sure why any person would go to FedEx Field, unless they want to torture themselves and waste money. Even getting to this place is an incredible hassle, with fans forced to sit through ridiculous traffic just to get inside and then experience the same frustrations when leaving in the third quarter. The experience getting to FedEx Field is miserable, tickets and food are ridiculously expensive and the stadium itself looks bad. This team would do everyone a favor by finally picking a new team name and finding a new place. It’s a shame, because this is a very good football team.

27. MetLife Stadium – New York Giants and New York Jets

MetLife Stadium aerial view
East Rutherford, NJ, USA; MetLife stadium at MetLife Stadium. Wilaliam Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Feral cats might be the only living things that love MetLife Stadium. Home to 300-plus cats, the New York Giants and New York Jets also share this building. It’s a journey just for fans to make it out to New Jersey. Once they get inside, after forking out hundreds of dollars, they see a dull stadium without substance. Sadly, since it was built in 2007 and cost nearly $2 billion, MetLife Stadium is sticking around for decades, no doubt towards the bottom of this NFL stadium rankings. While the Jets and Giants are improving, which will attract more fans, this venue could be so much better.

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26. Paul Brown Stadium – Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Mixon, holdout
Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) reacts as he runs off the field after the Bengals defeated the New York Jets at Paul Brown Stadium. David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

After two decades, Paul Brown Stadium is well past its prime and may even belong lower on this NFL rankings. There are some nice things about it, like the view of downtown, but it has a lot of faults. Notably, fans are made to feel like they’re on an aircraft carrier by having to go up and down levels to move across the stadium. Unfortunately, this place will likely be around for another 20 years.

26. TIAA Bank Field – Jacksonville Jaguars

TIAA Bank Field
Jacksonville, FL, USA; Fans in the pool at the stadium prior to the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field. Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The stadium has gone through plenty of names since it opened in 1995 and this one might not stick for long. Everyone knows about the pool and a designated dog area, which is great for those with money or a dog. For everyone else, it’s just not a great experience. Given how much this team loves playing in London, the negative sentiment toward the stadium seems to be shared by many. On a positive note, Tim Tebow and Trevor Lawrence might sell this place out.

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24. Highmark Stadium – Buffalo Bills

Military flyover before Buffalo Bills game
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Credit to Bills Mafia for making the stadium entertaining. When you look at the videos of fans parting, it looks like a wonderful place to be. Blame that on the beer goggles, because this 46-year-old building is an aging dinosaur. The weather makes this place miserable and there’s nothing around it to make things better. Fans injected some life into this place when the Bills hosted a playoff game, but the city deserves a better stadium for the rapidly-improving team.

Fortunately, that day is coming. The Bills are making plans for a new stadium in Orchard Park, with hope for its completion in the next five years. It’s going to be a bit, but we look forward to moving this team higher in future ranking NFL stadiums.

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23. Hard Rock Stadium – Miami Dolphins

Dolphins helmet on field before game
Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins helmet is seen on the field before a game against the Washington Redskins at Hard Rock Stadium. Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Renovations in recent years keep this spot from being much lower on this NFL stadium rankings. While it is a frequent host of the Super Bowl, that can be largely credited to the location. Hard Rock Stadium will stick around, especially thanks to its history. But Miami would love something modern and calls for it might happen with the Dolphins starting to look like a perennial AFC power.

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22. FirstEnergy Stadium – Cleveland Browns

FirstEnergy Stadium
Cleveland, OH, USA; FirstEnergy Stadium before a game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cleveland Browns. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This stadium provides plenty of energy, especially when the Browns are watchable. But there isn’t much else going for this place. It’s located in a decent spot, but that also leads to chilling winds coming off Lake Erie. FirstEnergy Stadium would benefit from a few renovations and the fans deserve it with this team suddenly becoming an AFC power. If some upgrades are made, with the atmosphere this fan base creates, this place would rise up the NFL stadium rankings just as fast as the Browns climbed NFL power rankings.

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21. Raymond James Stadium – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rams and Buccaneers 2019 NFL game
Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers pirate ship in the end zone against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers have a pirate ship that everyone loves, after that there isn’t a whole lot to like about Raymond James Stadium. It can be pricey, even more so now that Tom Brady is in town, and the food options inside aren’t particularly attractive. Much like some other stadiums on this list, it’s also not located downtown and the surrounding area isn’t loaded with dining options. Let’s hope the Super Bowl revenue leads to some better upgrades.

20. Levi’s Stadium – San Francisco 49ers

Ranking NFL stadiums: Levi's Stadium
Santa Clara, California, USA; Pregame festivities before the San Francisco 49ers play against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Divisional Round playoff football game at Levi’s Stadium. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

RANKING NFL STADIUMS TOP-20: It’s inexcusable that a stadium opened just a few years ago is this mediocre. Of course, it doesn’t help that they built it in Santa Clara to make the travel experience worse for fans. Did we mention that they spent over $1 billion on this place and failed to protect fans from the glaring sun? If you can look past the inconvenient location, the sun in your eyes and the costly tickets, everything else is really nice.

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19. Bank of America Stadium – Carolina Panthers

Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte, NC, USA; The field in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

BoA isn’t one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL, but it would greatly benefit from being demolished. It’s an old-school structure and the team has kept it in decent condition through minor upgrades, but it’s time for this place to go. Fortunately with owner David Tepper in charge, we expect something revolutionary by 2026.

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18. Nissan Stadium – Tennessee Titans

Nissan Stadium
Nashville, TN, USA; Inside Nissan Stadium prior to the game between the Tennessee Titans and the Los Angeles Chargers. Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The example of an average, aging stadium in a perfect environment. It’s a wonderful place for visiting fans on a Sunday, but Nissan Stadium gets boring fast for those who see it multiple times each season. If ranked off location alone, this would be a top-10 spot in the NFL.

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17. Gillette Stadium – New England Patriots

GIllette Stadium during New England Patriots game
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The dynasty effect is responsible for Gillette’s reputation. It meets the very definition of generic and the traffic around the stadium is a living nightmare. Fans are saved by the team, because the places inside and around the stadium fall far short of what you’d expect from this team. A rough 2020 season hurt, but there is buzz in Foxborough once again and that will lead to capacity crowds.

16. Soldier Field – Chicago Bears

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears reclaim their crown with the oldest stadium in the NFL. Everyone loves the history and the experience from the seat is great, but that’s where this wonderful feeling ends. Between the headaches caused finding a bathroom, getting out of the parking lot and moving around, it’s not great. Simply put, given Soldier Field’s reputation, it’s one of the most overrated stadiums in sports.

But all titans of history fall. The Bears are rightfully exploring alternatives in the region and we could be talking about a new stadium before long. Soldier Field will have plenty of memories, but it’s about time for this depleted stadium to be replaced.

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15. M&T Bank Stadium – Baltimore Ravens

M&T Bank Stadium
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

When you step inside M&T Bank Stadium on game day, the atmosphere can be intoxicating. The stadium is on the old side, but the team also spent $120 million on renovations in 2019. Fans can enjoy the experience once they get inside and there are some nice places to explore outside M&T Bank.

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14. Heinz Field – Pittsburgh Steelers

Heinz FIeld on gameday
Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Heinz Field during an NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Rams with the downtown Pittsburgh skyline as a backdrop. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

RANKING NFL STADIUMS MID-POINT: On its reputation alone, Heinz Field finds itself ranked as one of the NFL’s best stadiums. Once you look past the mystique of this place, it looks like many other older stadiums on this list. Renovations and expansions have brought some nice touches and the views from outside the stadium are a plus. This isn’t a bad home for football, it’s just not as great as some make it seem. Quite frankly, that sums up the Pittsburgh Steelers.

13. Ford Field – Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions Ford Field
Detroit, MI, USA; Ford Field before the game between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears. Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

If you can take advantage of a great downtown scene, it needs to be done. Fortunately, the Lions are in the heart of the city and conveniently located next to Comerica Park and some great dining options. Ford Field might even rank higher if the team was better and the atmosphere was louder, but this is still an above-average stadium.

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12. NRG Stadium – Houston Texans

NRG Stadium
Houston, TX, USA; Inside NRG Stadium before a game between the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It’s starting to get expensive to watch a game at NRG Stadium, but there are some nice aspects about this place as it nears it enters its 18th season. There are plenty of places to eat at following a game, it’s a spacious environment and you’ve got the big screens to look up at. It’s a shame a nice NFL stadium is being wasted by a terrible organization. Deshaun Watson won’t be coming back to NRG Stadium and the same can be said about the fans, at least for 2021.

11. Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia Eagles

Lincoln Financial Field
Philadelphia, PA, USA; A fly over during half time of the 120th Army-Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field. James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

As long as you’re not Santa Claus, “The Linc” is a wonderful place to enjoy an NFL game. Opened in 2003, Lincoln Financial Field represents the city of Philadelphia perfectly. While it might not be one of the most beautiful places on earth, the food is excellent, the ambiance is classic and the fans make it a tremendous experience.

10. Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans Saints

Ranking NFL stadiums: Mercedes Benz Superdome
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

RANKING NFL STADIUMS TOP-10: The Superdome will always be an iconic symbol in New Orleans, both for its history with the team and the city itself. While it’s on the older site, having first opened in 1975, the fans and the dome create an experience unlike anyplace else. There are definitely some tight spots and the concourses could vastly benefit from an upgrade. Fortunately, a $450 million renovation is coming. Once the improvements are made, if the Saints are good, this could grace the top-five in our NFL stadium rankings. It’s just going to feel weird not to see Drew Brees.

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9. Empower Field at Mile High – Denver Broncos

Empower Field at Mile High
Denver, CO, USA; Empower Field at Mile High during the NFL game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Denver Broncos h.The Broncos defeated the Chargers 23-20. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We’re going to start with the food, because Empower Field at Mile High delivers the kind of options and taste fans dream of for a great experience. Of course, seeing the Rocky Mountains in the distance adds another layer of beauty that makes this place jump out. If you’re an NFL fan looking for a unique and relaxing experience, this is a place to visit.

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8. State Farm Stadium – Arizona Cardinals

State Farm Stadium
Glendale, AZ, USA; State Farm Stadium during an NFL football game between the Oakland Raiders and the Arizona Cardinals. The Raiders defeated the Cardinals 33-26. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Since opening, State Farm Stadium has hosted two Super Bowls and will welcome Super Bowl LVII in 2023. Putting a stadium in the Arizona heat can lead to a miserable experience for fans, but this place does a great job of keeping everything cool. It’s not as in the middle of nowhere as it was before, with new restaurants opening around it, but it would have been perfect if this structure was closer to downtown. Fortunately, the experience and amenities inside make up for what’s outside.

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7. GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City Chiefs

Arrowhead Stadium
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

A classic stadium built for the fan’s experience and still caters to everyone nearly 50 years later. Frankly, a huge part of what makes Arrowhead Stadium wonderful is the tailgating. From the aromas in the air to the hospitality from the fans, everyone needs to come here at least once. Once you step inside, be prepared for a raucous environment that will shake the ground beneath you and create lasting memories.

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6. Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis Colts

Lucas Oil Stadium
Indianapolis, IN, USA; The linebackers going through their workout drills during the 2019 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

This might be one of the most underrated stadiums in sports. If you want to know why the NFL Combine is held in Indianapolis each year, it’s because Lucas Oil Stadium delivers the perfect experience. In the heart of downtown, restaurants nearby, space to walk around, convenient parking, an outstanding tailgating experience and everything inside is beautiful. There’s nothing else you could ask for, except better quarterback play.

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Ranking NFL stadiums: CenturyLink Field
Seattle, WA, USA; CenturyLink Field and the downtown Seattle skyline during the playing of the national anthem before the NFL game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Seattle Seahawks. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

RANKING NFL STADIUMS TOP-FIVE The 12th Man is what Lumen Field, formerly known as CenturyLink Field, is most known for and it’s understandable. Being a part of that unmatched atmosphere makes you feel like you’re a part of something, namely causing headaches for the opposing team. There are other aspects to love, though, like the wealth of food options, the available public transportation and incredible views from every seat in the house. We can’t wait to see how wild the atmosphere will become with fans back in attendance.

4. Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta Falcons

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This place is simply a thing of beauty. It opened in 2017 and immediately became one of the best arenas in the country. While a few down years has led to the overall atmosphere taking a slight hit, everything about the stadium is incredible. The food and drinks are insanely cheap, the services inside are tremendous, the views from around MBS are breathtaking and the technology shows what the future holds. Yet, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium just missing top-three status in our NFL rankings.

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3. Lambeau Field – Green Bay Packers

Lambeau Field
Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Lambeau Field prior to the NFC Divisional Round playoff football game between the Seattle Seahawks an Green Bay Packers. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

RANKING NFL STADIUMS TOP-THREE: Downtown stadiums are preferred, but you’ve got to love that Lambeau Field basically is the town in Green Bay. The city revolves around this place and for good reason. If you’re visiting, you practically step into a time machine when you step through Lambeau Field’s gates and sit on the metal bleachers. Of course, it wouldn’t be Lambeau Field without the tailgating and the passionate fan base. If anyone ever suggested replacing Lambeau Field, they would never be allowed to visit Wisconsin again. Even if they trade Aaron Rodgers, this remains a must-see stadium.

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2. U.S. Bank Stadium – Minnesota Vikings

U.S. Bank Stadium
Minneapolis, MN, USA; U.S. Bank Stadium prior to a game against the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings. Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

When you step into U.S. Bank Stadium, it feels like you’re jumping 10 years into the future. Creating a translucent roof could be setting the new trend for every future stadium, creating views that can’t be beat in big cities. This place was designed in breathtaking fashion, it keeps everyone comfortable no matter the weather outside, the food options are great and everything about the experience of this place is tremendous.

1. AT&T Stadium – Dallas Cowboys

Ranking NFL stadiums: AT&T Stadium
Arlington, TX, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) in the pocket to pass in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

RANKING NFL STADIUMS #1: A case could be made for either of the top four stadiums to claim the No. 1 spot, but we give the edge to the Cowboys. AT&T Stadium can often be flooded with visiting fans, showing out support for their teams and turning a road test into a home game. This building is already a decade old, but it still offers all the perks the new ones have. Of course, it has America’s Team and there’s just something different about watching football in Texas. Now, if only the team could live up to the standards of the NFL stadium it plays in.

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