Power ranking the NFL stadiums
NFL stadiums are considered a place of worship to many people on Sundays. But not all places of worship are created equal.
Here we will be ranking all 31 current NFL stadiums based on these simple categories:
Year opened, capacity, home-field advantage (how much the crowd and stadium impact the home team at the game), historical impact (has the stadium had an effect on history) and, lastly, design (is there anything remarkable about the stadium that adds to it).
Based on those factors, this is how the current stadiums stack up.
Let us know what you think. Was your favorite stadium too low or too high? Leave us a comment.
Tenant(s): Miami Dolphins
Year Opened: 1987
Home-field advantage: Sun Life Stadium has not provided much of a home-field advantage for the Dolphins this year. They are 1-6 at home and 6-1 on the road.
Historical impact: Although this stadium, formerly named Joe Robbie Stadium, has not had that great a history for the Dolphins, it has hosted five Super Bowls.
Design: The design is really outdated at Sun Life. The field is a long distance from the stands because it is a multi-use stadium used for baseball and football.
Deciding Factor: The fact that there is almost no home-field advantage and that the NFL has said they will not return to Miami for a Super Bowl until upgrades are made makes this stadium the worst stadium in the NFL. It also doesn't help that its two primary tenants, the Dolphins and the Florida Marlins, both want out of the stadium.
Tenant(s): Minnesota Vikings
Year Opened: 1982
Home-field advantage: The Metrodome is a home-field advantage, but there are plenty of other stadiums that have better advantages.
Historical impact: The Metrodome is home to a number of NFL records including the longest run from scrimmage in NFL history (Tony Dorsett, 99 yards), the longest return in NFL history (Antonio Cromartie's 109-yard missed field goal return), the longest pass in NFL history (Gus Frerotte to Bernard Berrian for 99 yards) and the single-game rushing record (Adrian Peterson's 296 yards).
Design: The design of the Metrodome is a huge problem. The inflatable roof proved to be an unsafe problem for the Vikings this year when it collapsed under the weight of excessive snow.
Deciding Factor: The outdated design and the unsafe roof hurts what is otherwise one of the most historically great venues. But historical doesn't mean it is a nice place.
Tenant(s): Oakland Raiders
Year Opened: 1966
Home-field advantage: The Raiders do actually have a home-field advantage despite being in one of the worst stadiums in the NFL.
Historical impact: The Oakland Coliseum is historically old and that is really the only thing that makes it historical.
Design: The design for the stadium is dated and concrete. It's no wonder the Raiders moved to LA for a time—this stadium is extremely substandard. The one thing I don't understand is why they moved back.
Deciding Factor: The only reason this stadium isn't ranked last is the Black Hole. As an opposing fan or team, I would never want to go to Oakland to play against that team or those fans.
Tenant(s): San Francisco 49ers
Year Opened: 1960
Home-field advantage: The only home-field advantage here is provided by the swirling winds.
Historical impact: Candlestick has had a number of historical events there, but most of them happened in baseball because it was originally designed as a baseball field.
Design: Because Candlestick was originally built as the home of the San Francisco Giants, it has a little bit of a goofy design for a football field. The shape of the stadium is odd.
Deciding Factor: The location of this stadium is pretty incredible, right on the water in the southern part of San Francisco. That is the only reason this stadium isn't ranked lower. The 49ers fans aren't as passionate because the team stinks and the stadium needs serious updating.
Tenant(s): Washington Redskins
Year Opened: 1997
Home-field advantage: With the largest capacity in the NFL, one would think that FedEx Field would have a good home-field advantage. The only problem is that the Redskins haven't been very competitive in recent years. Also, FedEx is in Landover, Maryland, and not Washington D.C.
Historical impact: Since the stadium isn't very old, there haven't been a whole lot of historical things to happen in this stadium.
Design: The design isn't terrible, and the fact that the stadium is only 13 years old means it isn't too outdated. But the location hurts a lot.
Deciding Factor: The reason this one drops so far is due to the fact that most Redskins fans have more of a preference towards RFK Stadium. Throw in the point that the Redskins owner is looking to build a new stadium in Washington D.C., and it looks like this stadium isn't long for the NFL.
Tenant(s): St. Louis Rams
Year Opened: 1995
Home-field advantage: The Rams are another team that doesn't have much of a home-field advantage. The Rams do play well at home, but it has little to do with crowd noise and playing conditions.
Historical impact: The Edward Jones Dome has been the host of a number of great sporting events including the 2005 NCAA Final Four, but there hasn't really been anything of note that this stadium has been responsible for.
Design: The design of the stadium, at least on the exterior, is pretty cool. However, the Rams are one of the many teams in the NFL looking for new facilities.
Deciding Factor: The exterior may be cool, but any time an NFL team is looking for a new stadium, it spells trouble for the existing one.
Tenant(s): San Diego Chargers
Year Opened: 1967
Home-field advantage: San Diego doesn't really get much of a home-field advantage while playing in Qualcomm. The fans do come out to the games with some regularity, but there isn't much intimidation factor coming into San Diego.
Historical impact: The stadium formerly known as Jack Murphy Stadium has hosted three Super Bowls, and to this day hosts many college bowl games.
Design: The design is actually fairly cool, however the stadium is very old and outdated.
Deciding Factor: The Chargers are another team that is looking for a new stadium. For that reason alone, Qualcomm deserves to be ranked really low.
Tenant(s): Jacksonville Jaguars
Year Opened: 1995
Home-field advantage: The Jags get no home-field advantage at EverBank mostly because of the lack of fan support in Jacksonville. Jags home games have been subject to blackouts many times during their stay at EverBank because of low turnout at games.
Historical impact: EverBank has hosted a Super Bowl and it hosts the Gator Bowl, but other than that, there hasn't been much history in this building.
Design: The design is solid. However, because the capacity can go up to 85,000, tarps have been used to block off seats. It might be too big for the Jags to handle.
Deciding Factor: Anywhere that is as new as this stadium, yet fails to bring out Jacksonville residents, deserves to be ranked low.
Tenant(s): Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Year Opened: 1998
Home-field advantage: The home-field advantage at Raymond James isn't nearly as much of a home-field advantage as it could be. Any building with a pirate ship in it should be intimidating.
Historical impact: The "Ray Jay" has hosted two Super Bowls, but the Buccaneers have not had much success since winning a Super Bowl in 2002.
Design: The design of the Ray Jay isn't terrible, but like I said, any building that boasts a pirate ship with working cannons needs to be a little bit more intimidating.
Deciding Factor: Although Ray Jay boasts the best turf in the NFL, I just can't justify moving it higher than this.
Tenant(s): Buffalo Bills
Year Opened: 1973
Home-field advantage: Any home-field advantage provided by Ralph Wilson Stadium is because of the cold weather in Buffalo, New York—not necessarily because of the stadium.
Historical impact: The Bills have been struggling to make an impact in the NFL since making four straight Super Bowls in the 1990s. There haven't been many big games in Buffalo.
Design: Nothing too special in the design; it is pretty much just a standard stadium.
Deciding Factor: The Bills are yet another team that is looking for a new stadium. Hopefully they can stay in Buffalo, where they have a passionate fan base, but they need a stadium to be proud of.
Tenant(s): Atlanta Falcons
Year Opened: 1992
Home-field advantage: The Falcons get a bit of a home-field advantage, but it could be better. I do expect Atlanta to build a good home-field advantage if they continue to be among the best teams in the NFC.
Historical impact:The Georgia Dome has hosted two Super Bowls and has been the host of many other sporting events.
Design: At one point, the Georgia Dome was the largest domed structure in the world until 1999, when the Millennium Dome in London was completed
Deciding Factor: Any time a dome has been subject to weather-related damage, I think it doesn't deserve to be very high at all.
Tenant(s): Chicago Bears
Year Opened: 1924
Home-field advantage: The Bears' home-field advantage stems from the weather. While the Chicago fans love the Bears, the stadium has the smallest capacity in the NFL, meaning there isn't a substantial amount of crowd noise.
Historical impact: Soldier Field is by far the oldest stadium in the NFL, however, the building was renovated in 2003 to update the existing facilities.
Design: Reaction to the renovation was very mixed. The New York Times ranked it as one of the five best new sports facilities, but a Chicago Tribune architecture critic called the stadium the "Eyesore on the Lake Shore."
Deciding Factor: A small stadium and a local reporter disliking the design makes this stadium one of the lower ranked.
Tenant(s): Cleveland Browns
Year Opened: 1999
Home-field advantage: While the Browns haven't had much success since the opening of Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Dawg Pound is still a tough group to play in front of.
Historical impact: The Browns haven't had many historical games since they were resurrected in 1999.
Design: The design is a re-imagining of the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium, which is always an enjoyable feature.
Deciding Factor: Nothing too special about this stadium, but the lack of success for the Browns has hurt the ranking of the stadium.
Tenant(s): Detroit Lions
Year Opened: 2002
Home-field advantage: The Lions have been among the worst NFL franchises in recent history. They recently were the first team in history to go winless in a season. Therefore, I would not be able to say the Lions have any home-field advantage.
Historical impact: The most historical thing to happen at Ford Field didn't have anything to do with the Lions. Just a few short weeks ago, Brett Favre's start streak was ended in a Vikings home game against the NY Giants played at Ford Field.
Design: The design of the stadium is nice. It's a new stadium with all the amenities of a new stadium.
Deciding Factor: The fact that the home team has had no success at Ford Field is a huge detraction for me in ranking this stadium very high.
Tenant(s): Cincinnati Bengals
Year Opened: 2000
Home-field advantage: The Bengals are another team that has not had a lot of recent success in the NFL and as a result, the home-field advantage for Paul Brown has been almost non-existent.
Historical impact: For a stadium named for the NFL visionary Paul Brown, there hasn't been much history in this stadium. No Super Bowls, very small amount of playoff games and no real notable moments.
Design: The design of Paul Brown is nothing too special, however, the fact that it was voted to a list of "America's favorite 150 buildings and structures," according to a Harris Interactive survey, helps a lot. It was also the only NFL stadium to make the list.
Deciding Factor: Like Ford Field, the thing that keeps Paul Brown in the lower half of the stadium is the lack of real great moments associated with the stadium.
Tenant(s): New York Giants. New York Jets
Year Opened: 2010
Home-field advantage: The weather was always a great home-field advantage at the Meadowlands, but now that they have a new stadium, the weather and especially wind are nowhere close to being a factor like before. Neither the Jets nor the Giants had real great success this year at home, but it is only Season 1 at the stadium.
Historical impact: With this being the first season at the New Meadowlands, there hasn't been much history in the building.
Design: The design at the New Meadowlands is great, however, the stadium has no character. I mean, I know it is hard to fill a stadium with team colors when two teams share the stadium, but it is an extremely boring stadium.
Deciding Factor: This stadium could turn into one of the historically great venues, but as of right now, it is nothing too special based on the lack of success by both teams.
Tenant(s): Tennessee Titans
Year Opened: 1999
Home-field advantage: The Titans opened LP Field with 16 straight wins before finally dropping a game to the Baltimore Ravens in November 2000.
Historical impact: The most historical game at LP was the Music City Miracle from the 2000 playoffs. The game saw the hometown Titans beat the Buffalo Bills. Both franchises have gone in opposite directions since the game.
Design: The design is nothing too special, but the colored seats give the stadium character.
Deciding Factor: The character of the stadium and the home-field advantage work in favor of LP, but it is still nothing too special.
Tenant(s): Philadelphia Eagles
Year Opened: 2003
Home-field advantage: Any Philadelphia stadium has great home-field advantage because of the hostile Philly crowds. Lincoln Financial also is subject to inclement weather that can work in favor of this Eagles team.
Historical impact: Lincoln Financial has hosted quite a few playoff games and some pretty big regular season games, but the stadium has not had a team win a championship from the stadium yet.
Design: The design is actually great, maybe a little similar to other stadiums, but overall it is a very solid design.
Deciding Factor: The thing that really knocks this one back is a few controversies. When the stadium first opened, fans were not allowed to bring hoagies or cheesesteaks into the game. How is that possible that you couldn't bring cheesesteaks into a building in Philly? Then in 2007, the Eagles tried to put restrictions on tailgating.
Tenant(s): Baltimore Ravens
Year Opened: 1998
Home-field advantage: The Ravens have been great at home. They have gone 6-1 at home this year.
Historical impact: M&T Bank Stadium may have played host to numerous playoff games and big rivalry games, but honestly, none are really all that memorable.
Design: The design is a good one. It has everything needed for a newer stadium, but it is another stadium without much character.
Deciding Factor: The fact that the stadium is just a sort of cookie-cutter stadium hurts it from being much higher, and to be honest, I think Baltimore needs a stadium to match its persona.
Tenant(s): New Orleans Saints
Year Opened: 1975
Home-field advantage: The Superdome provides a great home-field advantage for the Saints, especially after Hurricane Katrina forced people from their homes and the Superdome was converted to a shelter for displaced citizens of New Orleans.
Historical impact:The Superdome is one of the great historical buildings in the NFL. It has played host to six Super Bowls with one more already slated for 2013. However, the most historical moment for the Superdome is the aftermath of Katrina. The fact that the Superdome has become a beacon for the city is really an awesome thing.
Design: I have never been a huge fan of domed stadiums, but the exterior of the Superdome is pretty cool. It certainly makes up for an ugly interior.
Deciding Factor: The Superdome has a lot going for it, but the one thing holding it back from being one of the greatest NFL venues is its advanced age. If it were a little bit more updated, it would be ranked higher.
Tenant(s): Carolina Panthers
Year Opened: 1996
Home-field advantage: The Panthers haven't been winning anywhere this year, home or road, but Bank of America Stadium has been good to the Panthers in the past.
Historical impact: This stadium has not had a ton of real historical moments, but the Panthers have won two of three home playoff games there.
Design: This design is actually what draws me to it. The outer facade is really interesting and distinct. The inside of the stadium has character.
Deciding Factor: Ultimately, the thing that brings this stadium up is the design, because the history and home-field advantage are not that great.
Tenant(s): Kansas City Chiefs
Year Opened: 1972
Home-field advantage: Arrowhead Stadium has one of the best home-field advantages in all of football. The crowd noise makes it so that even when the Chiefs are bad, playing in Arrowhead is a daunting task.
Historical impact: This stadium has been host to many historical moments. It has hosted a Pro Bowl as well as many playoff games. While the Chiefs haven't had any championship seasons while in Arrowhead, they have still won many games there.
Design: The design is nothing too special; it has been designed to have a loud atmosphere and that makes the design all the better.
Deciding Factor: The fact that Arrowhead Stadium is one of the historically great stadiums in the NFL makes it all the more desirable a place to watch a game.
Tenant(s): Houston Texans
Year Opened: 2002
Home-field advantage: Houston has had some difficulty putting a winning product on the field since they came into the league in 2002. The Texans have not won that many games at home, but I am not sure if that is because of Reliant Stadium or just because they need a new coach.
Historical impact: Houston has not yet held a playoff game, but Reliant has been host to a Super Bowl.
Design: The design of Reliant is incredible. It is one of the best new stadiums in the NFL and it is hard to believe it is nearly 10 years old.
Deciding Factor: The reason this one gets ranked so high is because of the design. It is that great.
Tenant(s): Indianapolis Colts
Year Opened: 2008
Home-field advantage: Indianapolis crowds are usually great ones. They are loud and proud of their Colts.
Historical impact: Not a ton of history in the new building, but with Peyton Manning at the helm of the home team, there is sure to be some great history to come.
Design: The design on this stadium is amazing. It has a retractable roof as well as a movable glass wall. Both things make this one of the most distinguishable stadiums.
Deciding Factor: This stadium has a ton going for it; the only thing keeping it back is the fact that health code violations have been reported at the stadium's restaurants, including mouse droppings and live mice, contaminated food, food at improper temperatures and repeated usage of disposable containers.
Tenant(s): New England Patriots
Year Opened: 2002
Home-field advantage: Gillette has a great home-field advantage. The Patriots have an astounding 65-13 record at home since it opened in 2002.
Historical impact: While the stadium isn't old enough to have a ton of historical moments, the Patriots have won quite a few playoff games in Gillette.
Design: Gillette does have a great design. While it might be a little cookie cutter-ish, it has enough character to make it distinct.
Deciding Factor: This stadium has it all—home-field advantage, some great historical games and a solid design. The only thing keeping it back is the fact that the stadiums above it are just a little better.
Tenant(s): Pittsburgh Stadium
Year Opened: 2001
Home-field advantage: The Steelers have a decent home-field advantage while playing at Heinz. The thing that makes the Steelers not quite as good at home is the fact that the capacity isn't that high.
Historical impact: There have been a number of great games at Heinz, including some playoff games and a few great games against Baltimore.
Design: The design of this stadium is pretty great. It is right on one of the rivers in Pittsburgh and it has quite a bit of character.
Deciding Factor: Anytime there is a stadium with bottles of ketchup that pour onto the screen when the team gets into the red zone, it is a great thing.
Tenant(s): Green Bay Packers
Year Opened: 1957
Home-field advantage: Lambeau is one of the historically great home stadiums in NFL history. The Packers always seem to do better at home, even when they are not a good team.
Historical impact: This is one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL and it has had just about every historical name in NFL history play in it. It is the top of the ladder when it comes to historical venues.
Design: The design is actually fantastic, despite its advanced age.
Deciding Factor: As someone who frequents the Rose Bowl, I am always more partial to bowl-style stadiums.
Tenant(s): Seattle Seahawks
Year Opened: 2002
Home-field advantage: Qwest has one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL. The crowd noise alone makes opposing teams struggle every week.
Historical impact: The Seahawks have hosted a number of playoff games, but there haven't been a ton of real historical or memorable moments.
Design: The design of Qwest Field is awesome. It has one of the most distinctive looks in sports and it is one of the few venues that I would really desire to travel to.
Deciding Factor: The atmosphere in Seattle is reason alone to move this stadium this high. The crowd noise and home-field advantage teamed with an incredible design make this one stadium that will be around for a long time.
Tenant(s): Arizona Cardinals
Year Opened: 2006
Home-field advantage: The home-field advantage in Arizona isn't great because the stadium is not in Phoenix, it is actually in nearby Glendale.
Historical impact: University of Phoenix Stadium has hosted a Super Bowl already in its young life, but aside from that, there haven't been very many great moments.
Design: The design of this one is one of the best in the NFL. The playing surface is actually real grass that gets rolled out of the stadium to get sun. How cool is that?
Deciding Factor: The only thing holding this stadium back is the low capacity. If the capacity was up, and the crowd was a good one, this could be the best stadium.
Tenant(s): Denver Broncos
Year Opened: 2001
Home-field advantage: The Broncos have a few things working in their favor during home games. The crowd is great, the capacity is huge, the weather can be troubling, but above all, the altitude can be a killer. Those things combined make Denver a tough place to play.
Historical impact: While it doesn't have the moments as the old Mile High, the two stadiums seem to have a great deal of overlap in the feel.
Design: The design of Invesco is one of my favorite designs in all of sports. Not only is it open air in a city that struggles with weather, but it also has amazing character: the Broncos logo in the upper deck and, of course, the white Bronco on top of the score board.
Deciding Factor: This stadium has lasting power. It looks like it will be one of those stadiums that will stick around forever and will host some really great moments. Hopefully, the Broncos can live up to those lofty expectations.
Tenant(s): Dallas Cowboys
Year Opened: 2009
Capacity: 80,000 (expandable to 110,000)
Home-field advantage: Anywhere the Cowboys play in the state of Texas, they have a home-field advantage. The fact that they have this incredible stadium to host games in makes it a true home-field advantage.
Historical impact: The historical impact of Cowboys Stadium will be shown when the next stadium is built. Obviously, there haven't been a ton of moments for the Cowboys yet, but the design of the stadium will have a huge impact on the future of stadiums.
Design: The design of Cowboys Stadium is second to none. It has done everything possible to make the fan experience better than anything imagined.
Deciding Factor: This stadium is absolutely incredible. The huge video screen is one of the marvels of the world.