Amidst the slow moving, Groundhog Day-esque NFL off season, we (or at least most of us) find ourselves waking up to the same daily, monotonous lock-down routines. Our timelines are filled with highlights and reruns of seasons past and by this point the majority of us are likely sick to death of mock drafts and watching Pats fans sulk over Brady’s departure.
So in an attempt to lighten things up and write something completely different I thought what better opportunity to stir the pot and get people talking than to release a definitive 32 team stadium power ranking.
Well, 31 stadiums actually but you know what I meant!
The list is comprised of all the stadiums which teams called home last season so for the Raiders, Rams and Chargers their new homes will be sent to the honourable mentions list which you can find at the end of this article.
This might spark a few arguments and disagreements, and I hope it does for the sake of having something new to talk about. Don’t like where your teams stadium has ranked? Tweet me @MichaelLavery98 and I’ll be more than happy to tell you why you’re wrong.
So, without further ado…
Dignity Health Sports Park
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Team: Los Angeles Chargers
When your home stadium has a reputation for hosting more visiting supporters than home supporters then it’s no wonder “The Dig” is bottom of the pile. A converted soccer stadium, it holds the lowest capacity in the league and was home to the Chargers for 2 years before the move into So-Fi stadium this September alongside the Rams.
Even when watching games from the stadium on TV it cast an empty and hallow feeling to it – devoid of true atmosphere and energy it was an easy choice to be number 31 on the list.
TIAA Bank Field
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
It may be a shock to many that this stadium fell so low in the rankings, but I have my reasons. It’s going to take a lot more than an in ground swimming pool and designated dog zone to convince me that this stadium should be higher on the list.
When it’s no secret that the owner of the stadium and team has spoken publicly about his interests in moving the team – and has already surrendered two home games this year, that’s problematic. TIAA Bank Field will see only six games this year. Six games! Perhaps not the fault of the stadium in itself but enough for me to shove it down here at 30 out of the way.
I know I might lose a few people at this point but hear me out. A stadium that has split loyalties just isn’t fun.
The neutral decor and the absence of that truly historical feel that a stadium needs really does no favours for MetLife. Shared by the Jets and the Giants it’s safe to say that over these past couple of years the standard of play in MetLife hasn’t exactly helped the stadium’s reputation.
Too often we are greeted with the mundane grey seats on our screens as opposed to vivid or passionate blue or green fan bases. Yes it’s a large stadium and capacity does play a factor but so does character and history and that’s where MetLife is lacking.
Location: Washington, D.C
Team: Washington Redskins
Another lifeless cauldron of disappointment, and this one I’m not sorry for.
FedEx field which hosts the Redskins has been a playground for visiting teams in recent years. The home side won only one single game here last season and perhaps were at a disadvantage due to lack of a home crowd. The colour scheme of the seats is perhaps the most positive aspect of this stadium and that alone tells you all you need to know as to why it fell to number 28.
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Team: San Francisco 49ers
When one half of your stadium looks like it belongs in the central business district of a major city there can be no complaints that it falls so low in the rankings.
Despite being the home of the 49ers, Levi’s Stadium is located 40 miles outside San Francisco – a considerable distance away. Despite being one of the newer venues to open its doors, Levi’s Stadium has a lot of ground to make up before it gets talked about in the same sentence as the 49ers previous stadium, Candlestick Park.
Location: Nashville, TN
Team: Tennessee Titans
The list now enters a brief stretch of stadiums in which I had true difficulty ranking. A lot follow the same architectural concepts and are difficult to separate from one and other. The Titans proudly boast one of the more loyal fan bases in the league and so it is a familiar sight to see the stadium full.
On field performances this past year will no doubt help the cause of filling Nissan Stadium in the years to come. Located in the centre of Nashville, Nissan stadium really is a pride piece for the locals.
Bank of America Stadium
Location: Charlotte, NC
Team: Carolina Panthers
Sat affront the scenic Charlotte Skyline, the Bank of America Stadium is a respectable candidate for stadium with the best view or backdrop.
Home of the Panthers, it had been the beneficiary of the electric atmosphere provided by Cam Newton for the past eight years. Having undergone a recent $404 million dollar renovation the stadium will soon be moving further up these rankings as Panthers fans build home field advantage around new head coach, Matt Rhule.
Lincoln Financial Field
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Team: Philadelphia Eagles
The Link! We all know how passionate the Eagles fan base is and this stadium is a second home and religious shrine to the fans of the men in midnight green. Perhaps unfortunate not to be further up the list but I just couldn’t justify placing it above anyone else yet to come. The stands of this ground have seen it all, from disastrous seasons to the magical Superbowl run of the 2017 season.
The famous chant “E-A-G-L-E-S…. EAGLES!” echoes through the stadium and the city in away unlike any other chant for any other team does.
Los Angeles Coliseum
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Team: Los Angeles Rams
One of the oldest stadiums on this list. The Coliseum has been the temporary home of the Rams since 2015 before they join the Chargers in So-Fi Stadium in September. A little lower than most people would have expected and I come with my reasons.
The joint-usage between the Rams and the USC Football team often leaves the pitch in an unrecognisable state. College and professional hash marks scar the field along with discoloured endzones putting a dampener on an otherwise impressive bowl stadium. Another stadium in which visiting fans are able to have their voices heard loud and clear – maybe it’s just an LA thing?
- New Era Field
Location: Buffalo, NY
Team: Buffalo Bills
Home to the Bills Mafia! One of the more personal stadiums in the NFL, New Era Field formerly known as Ralph Wilson Stadium is perhaps better known for the antics which take place in the parking lots and bars in the surrounding area. The entire NFL community knows the relationship between tables and the Bills. Despite not having it in their name, the Bills are the only team actually from New York and are often the forgotten member of the three (Jets and Giants). With Josh Allen at the helm I don’t think they’ll be forgotten much longer.
First Energy Stadium
Location: Cleveland, OH
Team: Cleveland Browns
If ever a stadium epitomised the home of disappointment then here we are. Browns fans have endured some of the worst years in professional sport more so than any other fan base, but they have been comforted sitting in a nice stadium whilst being so let down.
The Dawg Pound is home to some of the most loyal supporters in the world, despite having only one win in two years prior to this season they showed up in numbers all season long. With a star studded line up and a new, competent coaching staff now in the building, perhaps now is the time for joy to be brought to “The Land”.
- Paul Brown Stadium
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Team: Cincinnati Bengals
I must admit, the first draft of this article had the Paul Brown stadium somewhere in the late twenties and before long I came to my senses and fixed my mistake. One quick search for photos and you can immediately see that this place is a beauty. Backed onto the Ohio River, the backdrop provides an idyllic and picturesque setting. Despite the on field product not living up to the same standards as its surroundings “The Jungle” will hope for better days to come with the #1 overall pick this year.
Location: Detroit, MI
Team: Detroit Lions
We had to crack into the top 20 before getting our first indoor stadium. After all it is somewhat of an unwritten rule that indoor stadiums are the preference of both fans and players. Ford Field is the home of the Lions and is almost part of the furniture around homes on Thanksgiving TV’s when the Bears and the Lions have their annual contest.
Treated to years of mediocrity and disappointment on the field, it’s no wonder the Lions’ stadium fell on just the wrong side of .500 on this list.
University of Phoenix Stadium
Location: Glendale, AZ
Team: Arizona Cardinals
Indoor or outdoor? You can have your cake AND eat it at the Cardinals stadium in Glendale. The first retractable grass surface in the NFL, combined with a retractable roof proves that this stadium is prepared for all eventualities.
Out in the desert as it’s commonly referred to, the sizeable stadium has its fair share of historic moments enshrined within the confines. Remember when the Seahawks should have ran the ball in SB49? Or that classic overtime thriller between the Packers and Cardinals in the playoffs of the 2015 season? From Superbowls to super shows, this arena has it all.
Lucas Oil Stadium
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Team: Indianapolis Colts
The combine, the helmet catch. Luck and no Luck. Manning and no Manning. Lucas Oil Stadium has seen it all. Each year hundreds of NFL hopeful college players take to the turf for the annual combine in the hope of catching the eye of team’s front offices and scouts. Donning huge windows on each end of the stadium, the city skyline peers through from afar. One of the most aesthetically pleasing stadiums from the inside despite looking like somewhat of a factory from the outside.
Location: Houston, TX
Team: Houston Texans
Continuing the run of domed stadiums is the NRG Stadium in Texas. A large and commanding arena it is often filled with passionate and loud Texan fans who are not shy in letting their voices heard. Home of the infamous 28-3 Superbowl 51 meltdown, this stadium is no stranger to comebacks and most notably in this year’s Wildcard game between the Bills and Texans. Despite its sheer size it is not a rare sight to see Texans DE J.J Watt throwing the ball a couple tiers deep in his pregame warm ups.
M&T Bank Stadium
Location: Baltimore, MD
Team: Baltimore Ravens
Graced previously by the likes of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed this famous arena has no shortage of history. A new era is dawning in Baltimore with Lamar Jackson leading the Ravens to one of the most spectacular regular seasons in NFL history.
Although being similar in its build to those above it on the list I gave it the edge based on both its historical pedigree and technological advances. In the 2019 season the Ravens debuted their new augmented reality feature on national television which saw the team’s mascot fly around the stadium in a jaw dropping display.
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
The second Pennsylvania based stadium and surprisingly the second of our stadiums to be located on the banks of the Ohio River. What a boat journey that would be! Home to the Steelers, Heinz Field boasts some of the best views both in stadium and out.
With some of the most decorated rafters in all of pro football, the six time Superbowl champions have an area to be proud of. Easily recognisable are the spiral walkways at each corner of the stadium and the black and gold of the Steelers. Dressed head to toe in terrible towels this is one of the more iconic locations in the league today.
Hard Rock Stadium
Location: Miami, FL
Team: Miami Dolphins
Before the grandeur of Superbowl 54, I would have seeded Hard Rock Stadium much lower in the rankings but after watching the spectacle it was able to host it shot up a considerable amount. Benefiting from a recent makeover, the Dolphins home field is one of the best in the NFL.
Adding a roof and large spires as corner posts, there is a four-poster bed feel to this impressive arena and with three first round picks this year, hopefully the Dolphins can construct a roster fit for a king.
Empower Field at Mile High
Location: Denver, CO
Team: Denver Broncos
One of the most unique stadiums in the league. Not because of its size or its shape but because of its location. Located at one mile above sea level its thin air and altitude allows for some of the more exciting games in football. The ball travels further in the air, field goals are longer and fatigue is a real threat to teams who aren’t used to the altitude.
It provides a unique element to home field advantage that cannot be replicated anywhere else in America and for years show cased us the Brady v Manning battles that we grew to know and love.
Location: Foxborough, MA
Team: New England Patriots
One of the most challenging and daunting arenas to visit for opposing teams in the NFL. Gillette stadium has been a feared but more importantly, respected home to the most successful dynasty in the history of the league.
With six Superbowl titles and 16 divisional titles (divisions since 2002 realignment) the credit for dominance on the field can be shared with the tremendous home field advantage they have. Through the wind and rain, the sleet and the snow, Brady and Belichick have ruled the NFL for close to two decades from their castle in Foxborough and with new horizons dawning in New England, is it time for Jarrett Stidham to take his place on the throne?
Raymond James Stadium
Location: Tampa, FL
Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sometimes a picture says a thousand words, and in the case of Raymond James Stadium the attached image does exactly that. Any stadium, anywhere in the world and in any league that comes with a pirate ship at one end of it deserves to be in every top 10 list ever. Despite the Bucs fans being treated to below average levels of on field play, the tides are turning. The arrival of Tom Brady will pack out RJS for all 8 home games this season and hopefully create a raucous atmosphere for the long deprived Bucs fans.
Location: Oakland, CA
Team: Oakland Raiders (Now the Las Vegas Raiders)
Having the Coliseum this high will definitely split opinions but for me it’s too historic of a venue not to have this high.
When the Raiders left town at the end of the 2019 season, the doors closed behind them on the last ever dual purpose surface in the NFL. Yes some venues are still used for soccer games time and again, but no other venue has the historic look of a baseball infield dominating its gridiron. The famous black hole was one of the most daunting supporters sections in all of sports and something Raiders fans prided themselves to be a part of. A piece of history has left the NFL with this classic venue being closed.
Location: Kansas City, MO
Team: Kansas City Chiefs
Long-time rival of the Seahawks and CenturyLink field for the title of the loudest stadium in the NFL, Arrowhead is the home to the current Superbowl Champion Chiefs. There is not much to say on Arrowhead if truth be told, its ability to get loud in a hurry has cemented its place at number eight on the list. A brash and in your face crowd will make it tough for any team coming to play against the Chiefs.
US Bank Stadium
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Team: Minnesota Vikings
One of the best looking arenas in the world, never mind just in America.
It has witnessed a lot in its short life so far, most notably the “Minnesota Miracle” in 2018. A large portion of the ceiling is glass providing the most amazing backdrop of the city. Perhaps a little hard done by not to be higher on the list but those above it have truly earned their stripes to be in the spots they have. A couple years down the line and a bit more history built up and this will be further up everyone’s rankings.
Location: Chicago, IL
Team: Chicago Bears
One of the oldest and most historic sites in the National Football League. This stadium, which is home to the Bears, is 96 years old. Of course in that time it has been renovated and modernised but the legend of Soldier Field is ever-present in the story of the NFL. To qualify as a Hall of Famer, the question is often ask, “Can the story of football be told without them?” Well I too believe this is the case for Soldier Field and that the story of the NFL cannot be told without it.
Location: New Orleans, LA
Team: New Orleans Saints
If ever a stadium meant more to a city than the Superdome and NOLA. Used as a refuge shelter during the horrors of hurricane Katrina it became more than just a stadium to the city. When Drew Brees arrived in town he turned the franchise and the city around, making the Superdome one of the most difficult places to play in the whole league.
Despite being infamously known for its Superbowl 47 blackout, in which the game was delayed due to a power shortage, the Superdome has an entire host of memorable moments including the “rebirth of New Orleans” when Steve Gleason blocked a punt against the Falcons, sending the Superdome into a hysteric frenzy.
Location: Seattle, WA
Team: Seattle Seahawks
Perhaps a touch of bias on my behalf to have Seattle so high on the list, but just look at beauty of CenturyLink field in the photo above. With the “Hawks Nest” being carved out of the north side of the stadium. For a while known as the loudest stadium in the NFL, the credits can be given in part to the stadiums architecture which was designed specifically to generate as much noise as possible when the home fans are cheering. Responsible for the most false starts by opposing teams in a single season, the 12th man relishes in their reputation of being loud and disruptive.
Location: Atlanta, GA
Team: Atlanta Falcons
Brand new. Modern. High tech and just outright amazing.
With a 360 degree screen in the ceiling and a jigsaw puzzle style roof this new stadium has it all. Shared with Atlanta United this 71,000 seater stadium is the newest in the NFL and shoots straight into the top five of the power rankings. I know I’ve quoted history and teams as reasons for stadiums’ positions in these rankings but when a stadium is as glorious, modern and just nice to look at as this is, then it’s a given it should be ranked so highly.
Location: Green Bay, WI
Team: Green Bay Packers
Perhaps the most historic stadium in the entire league, Lambeau Field has been around since the beginning. Nicknamed the “Frozen Tundra” from its days in which they played games like the Ice Bowl at -26 Celsius, Lambeau boasts a complete wealth of NFL history. When Vince Lombardi led the Packers to the first ever Superbowl, they paved the way for excellence across the league and sat a standard that was soon followed by everyone else. A tough place to visit in the winter but nobody braves it better than the Cheese heads.
Location: Arlington, TX
Team: Dallas Cowboys
And the top ranked stadium in the entire league is… The House that Jerry built. The granddaddy of them all.
With jumbotrons larger than most people’s houses, and a Roman Coliseum style feel to it, AT&T stadium is the flagship stadium of “America’s Team”. The stadium sheer size and enormity can be both daunting and humbling for players and coaches alike and more often than not we are treated to side line clips of players at break neck angles trying to catch the replay of the last play on the field. From a fan experience perspective I can only imagine that watching a game here is nothing short of spectacular, with tunnel access and end zone booths, Jerry really considered it all when he built this place.
Location: Inglewood, CA
Teams: Los Angeles Rams / Los Angeles Chargers
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Team: Las Vegas Raiders
Location: London, England
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Location: London, England
Location: Mexico City, Mexico