Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

Best 10 and Worst 3 NFL Stadiums

Posted on May 17, 2018 by Martin Banks

Going to an NFL game is an adventure. It’s exciting to see a professional sports team play live in front of you. The only downside is you pay lots of money for the tickets and parking — and then you get gouged on food prices. But it’s all worth it because you enjoy the atmosphere, the energy and the stadium where the game is played.

What about the stadiums themselves, though? Some stadiums are brand new, and others have been open for decades. You may love or hate a certain stadium for reasons that are hard to describe. Some just have that certain atmosphere you can’t find anywhere else. Others are architectural masterpieces and full of high-tech inventions.

Some stadiums are clearly better than others, however. Here’s a look at 10 of the best and three of the worst you’ll find.

The Best

These are 10 of the best stadiums you’ll find:

10. Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City Chiefs


Arrowhead Stadium has been in operation since 1972 and has football-shaped scoreboards. The team has not won a Super Bowl since 1970, but they have been competitive in recent years. This is an open-air stadium, so dress accordingly.

The fans are dedicated and intense, and the BBQ is among the best you’ll find anywhere. There is even a gourmet macaroni and cheese bar — you won’t find that at any other stadium.

9. Raymond James Stadium – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Want to get your pirate on? This is the place to do it. Enjoy the game dressed as a pirate on Buccaneer Cove. Ride the 103-foot pirate ship and watch the game — or just enjoy being a pirate.

Cannons fire when the Buccaneers score a touchdown, too, adding to the pirate theme. The seats are roomy and comfortable, and the dining is elegant. There are also great tailgating opportunities. It’s perfect party atmosphere for a team that hasn’t been relevant for over ten years.

8. M&T Bank Stadium – Baltimore Ravens


Before going to the game, take in the RavensWalk, a stretch of food, drink and live music. Baltimore didn’t have a team for 13 years, so fans are especially excited about their Super Bowl champion Ravens. The stadium has updated lighting, scoreboards and other renovations. The field is real grass, too, which is something you don’t often find anymore.

Tailgating is lively and rowdy, so be prepared. You can get traditional sports food, but there is also some distinctively Maryland fare, like crab pretzels.

7. Ford Field – Detroit Lions

The Lions are a historically bad football team, but they built themselves a beautiful, new stadium which opened in 2002. Many teams are building new stadiums to attract more fans and make more money. They have never been to a Super Bowl, but Ford Field hosted one in 2006. Every seat has a great view, and executive suites are available.

You have lots of food options at Ford Field. Detroiters love their Coney dogs, but you can also get Arabic food, BBQ and deli sandwiches.

6. Lambeau Field – Green Bay Packers


Everyone loves Lambeau Field. It was built in 1957, and although it has been renovated, its original structure still remains. Lambeau Field is also the longest continually operating stadium in the NFL.

Lambeau has a friendly hometown atmosphere you don’t often find in other sports towns. The fans own the team, and they are quite proud of their Packers. The only problem is that the stadium is not covered, so a game in December can be bone-chilling. Packer fans like it that way, though.

5. Heinz Field – Pittsburgh Steelers

The 12,000-ton steel reinforced stadium reflects the toughness of the Steelers and their fans. It’s a smaller stadium by today’s comparison. It has a maximum capacity of 68,400, but the towel-waving Steeler fans are vocal and loyal, and they will always cheer on their team.

Check out The Great Hall, a museum of sorts for football memorabilia and Steelers history. There is also the Gateway Clipper Riverboat nearby where you can “tailgate” on the water.

4. CenturyLink Field – Seattle Seahawks


CenturyLink Field has a shell-shaped roof which makes it the noisiest stadium in the NFL. Opposing teams often have a hard time hearing their signals. The stadium opened in 2002 when the Seahawks were, at the very least, not competitive. Fast forward to today, and they have been to three Super Bowls, winning one of them.

The stadium contains huge concourses that offer a variety of food selections and gourmet coffee shops. It’s not the best place to tailgate, though. Stadium rules and regulations have pretty much ended the practice.

3. MetLife Stadium – New York Giants

The New York Giants and the New York Jets call MetLife Stadium home. It opened in 2010 and can be customized to reflect which home team is playing. It’s the most expensive stadium ever built, costing $1.6 billion, and so far, it’s the only stadium to host two teams.

It’s a coliseum-style, bowl-shaped stadium with massive LED screens that can be seen from anywhere you are seated. MetLife stadium is family-friendly and offers a variety of events and services.

2. Gillette Stadium – New England Patriots

Gillette is an amazing stadium and host to arguably the best team in the NFL. It opened in 2002 and is surrounded by Patriot Place, a million plus square foot shopping district. You can find great restaurants, hotels and family-friendly activities.

The stadium has many food and drink choices and a variety of seating and viewing options. It’s rarely disappointing being a Patriots fan.

1. AT&T Stadium – Dallas Cowboys


They make everything big in Texas, and the home of the Cowboys is no exception. At a cost of 1.5 billion dollars, AT&T Stadium boasts a retractable roof and a 175-foot television screen. The stadium holds the NFL record for attendance — 105,121 showed up on opening day. There are high-priced suites, standing-room-only sections and food and drink for all tastes. If you don’t care for football, you can enjoy an onsite art gallery.


The Worst

Then, there are some stadiums that are pretty bad. Here are three of them:

3. Sun Life Stadium – Miami Dolphins

The home of the Miami Dolphins is a crumbling, inferior mess. The Marlins have a better stadium than the Dolphins. The stadium seats over 75,000 people and is tight, crowded and uncomfortable. Renovations are underway.

2. Soldier Field – Chicago Bears

I will never get over how ugly they made Soldier Field

The Chicago Bears have the second smallest field in the NFL, seating fewer than 62,000 people. It was ugly to begin with, and renovations haven’t made it any better.

1. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum – Oakland Raiders

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When your team leaves you for a new stadium in a different state, you can safely assume you are the worst. The Oakland Raiders are relocating to Las Vegas in a brand new stadium and leaving Oakland to clean up the mess.

The stadium was built in 1966, and it’s shared with the Oakland Athletics baseball team — converting it from a football to a baseball field costs $250,000 each time they have to do it. At least they will save their money now.

What about the other stadiums not listed here? There are about 15 or so that aren’t so bad. They may not be considered “great” — but that, of course, depends somewhat on the visitor and the experience they had, too.

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