NFL Stadiums Nearing the End of Their Seasons?
After the Steelers vs. 49ers game last night, we see once again the benefits of modern stadiums. Because of a blown transformer, the game was delayed once and stalled once again in the middle of play because of a power outage through the whole stadium.
In the lightless spasms, not only was the game held up, but the crowd was given the perfect opportunity to become rowdy. Though the age of Candlestick Park is likely not the sole culprit, the stadium blunder betrays the need to evaluate the age and potential longevity of NFL stadiums. Let's take a look the five oldest stadiums in the league.
5. Qualcomm Stadium
Qualcomm Stadium, home to the San Diego Chargers, is the fifth-oldest stadium still in use in the NFL. With a seating capacity of over 70,000, Qualcomm is still in respectable shape, especially considering that it was built in 1967.
Still, there's little hope for attracting a Super Bowl to San Diego without a more modern stadium. Unfortunately, as of yet the city is struggling to raise the funds.
4. O.Co Coliseum
Next in line for most elderly stadium is the O.Co Coliseum in Oakland. Though renovated in the mid-1990s, the Coliseum still shows its age. It hosts both the Oakland Raiders and the Oakland Athletics, and this dual-sport wear-and-tear has taken its toll on the stadium.
According to football.ballparks.com, the Coliseum cost only $25 million to build back in 1966, while the 1996 renovations cost over $200 million.
3. Candlestick Park
The third-oldest stadium still in use in the NFL is Candlestick Park in San Francisco. As we saw in Week 15's Monday Night Football game, the technology at Candlestick might not be up to par with the rest of the league. Transformers blew, casting the whole stadium into darkness mid-game. Twice.
Opened in 1960, Candlestick's 50th birthday seems to have put it over the hill.
2. Lambeau Field
One of the most iconic stadiums in the country and possibly in the world, Lambeau Field has lasted as long as it has partly because of its storied tradition, and in part because of its fairly regular upgrades.
The stadium was expanded in the mid-1960s and underwent an extensive, nearly-$300 million upgrade in 2003. Despite being the second-oldest stadium in football, the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field is unlikely to be turned in for a more modern stadium simply because of Green Bay's loyalty to Packer lore.
1. Soldier Field
The oldest and perhaps most beloved stadium still in use in the NFL is that of the Chicago Bears.
Hosting professional football games since 1924, Soldier Field is more than 30 years the elder of Lambeau. Though closed for more than a $600 million renovation in the 2002-2003 season, Soldier Field has seen more than 80 years of high-quality, Chicago-brand football. Home to some of the sports all-time legends, and positioned idyllically on the Lake Michigan shore, Soldier Field, like Lambeau, is too highly renowned to see it abandoned for a newer, high-tech stadium.