When a NFL fan goes to watch their favorite team in person, they want to feel like a part of the team. There’s a reason Seahawks’ fans are known as the “12th Man”. Some stadiums are perfect for fans to yell and scream at the top of their lungs, disrupting the rhythm of the enemy. Other stadiums don’t offer the same reward. Some are out of the way and nearly impossible to get to while others look like they haven’t been renovated in 100 years. These are the best and worst stadiums for fans to experience the rush of the NFL!
BEST – Lambeau Field (Packers)
Not only are the Green Bay Packers one of the most storied franchises in the history of the NFL, but they also play in one of the league’s most iconic stadiums. Lambeau Field originally opened in 1957, and in 2019 has a maximum capacity of 81,435.
Fans at Lambeau are relentless when it comes to creating a home-field advantage. That, along with the frigid cold of Wisconsin, make this stadium a nightmare for everyone except Packers’ fans.
WORST – Dignity Health Sports Park (Chargers)
When the Chargers moved from San Diego to Los Angeles, they somehow managed to end up in a downgraded stadium that only holds 27,000. Built for soccer, Dignity Health Sports Park is not only small, but it’s not easy for fans to get to.
Because of this, Chargers’ games end up feeling more like away games for the team than home games. The good news is that in 2020 the Chargers will officially move into their shiny new shared stadium with the Rams.
BEST – Century Link Field (Seahawks)
When the Seahawks are playing winning football, few places are more exciting for a fan to be than Century Link Field. ‘Hawks fans are loud, and regularly disrupt the timing of opposing offenses. This is why their fans are known as the “12th Man”.
On top of the fan experience, Century Link Field is also architecturally stunning, with amazing views of downtown Seattle. Of course, when you’re at the game the only views you’re paying attention to are players dominating on the field.
WORST – Alameda County Coliseum (Raiders)
The Oakland Raiders are the last team in the NFL to share their stadium with a baseball team. By 2020, they’ll move out of their current coliseum into a shiny new home in Las Vegas. For now, they play in one of the worst stadiums in the league.
The “Black Hole” can get loud and the fans are loyal, but this not an ideal place to watch a game. Essentially a cement bowl, the Alameda County Coliseum lacks modern amenities that fans crave and, as you can see, is an eyesore to look at.
BEST – Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Falcons)
Opened in 2017, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the home of the Atlanta Falcons, and one of the most exciting stadiums ever built. On top of being an architectural beauty, the 71,000 seat stadium as innovative as it gets regarding the fan experience.
Before opening up, Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank proclaimed that hot dogs would cost two dollars, and beer would cost four. Since then he’s stuck to his word, and even dropped the prices of hots in 2019 to $1.50!
WORST – FedEx Field (Redskins)
The Washington Redskins opened FedEx Field in 1997, and now just over 20 years later, are already trying to move. The stadium itself is unspectacular, hard to get to, and lacks unique amenities.
When the team finally moves into a new stadium, it won’t be hard to impress fans. The team might not improve, but it will be hard to complain about high ticket prices at a brand new hot ticket venue.
BEST – U.S. Bank Stadium (Vikings)
Another new stadium, this time in Minnesota, and it couldn’t have come at a better moment for the franchise. After opening its doors in 2016, the Vikings became an NFL powerhouse, ensuring that all 66,000 seats would be filled.
Like Century Link Field, U.S. Bank Stadium features gorgeous views of downtown Minnesota. The dome roof is also retractable if the autumn winds decide to cooperate, too. Of course, when it stays closed, the fans sound extra loud to the opposition.
WORST – New Era Field (Bills)
More outdated than anything, New Era Field is a relic of an older NFL era. Built from cement, the stadium opened in 1973 and holds 71,000 screaming fans. For many, the tailgate outside is more exciting, though.
Inside, especially once winter hits, temperatures become frigid, making fans uninterested in going to games unless the team is winning. In more recent years, there have been rumors that the Bills were looking to leave Buffalo entirely, but so far nothing has happened.
BEST – Heinz Field (Steelers)
When the Steelers are winning at home, which they usually are, few stadium experiences are better than Heinz Field. Fans are so loud that opposing offenses usually have to rely on a silent snap count to start plays.
As for the stadium itself – it’s a state of the art facility with fantastic views. It’s just hard to focus on the views when the action on the field demands so much attention!
WORST – Paul Brown Stadium (Bengals)
When the Bengals are good, Paul Brown Stadium can be a fun place to watch a game. When they aren’t, which seems to happen more often than not, the stands sit empty, freezing over in the cold Cincinnati winter.
The stadium, which was opened in 2000, holds 66,000 fans and has decent views. Like Buffalo, though, it’s known more for the tailgating in the parking lot than the game being played on the field.
BEST – Gillette Stadium (Patriots)
The only problem we can think of with Gillette Stadium is that it can be hard for fans to get to. When your team has won six Super Bowls since the stadium opened in 2002, however, fans find a way.
New England always has a packed house thanks to what might be the greatest run in modern sports history. As long as Tom Brady is under center, fans will show up and they will be as loud as possible.
WORST – Levi’s Stadium (49ers)
Fan wish they could love Levi’s Stadium. It’s the most high tech stadium the NFL has ever seen and it looks amazing. Unfortunately, it’s located 40 miles south of San Francisco and reflects the heat of the sun onto the crowd.
If the 49ers had a better track record in recent years, it’s possible we could overlook these problems. The truth is, we don’t even know the last time San Francisco had a packed house.
BEST – MetLife Stadium (Jets/Giants)
The only stadium on this list shared by two teams, MetLife Stadium is the beautiful home of the New York Jets and New York Giants. Created and designed with the quick changeover in mind, there’s not a bad seat in the house.
If there is anything to complain about with MetLife, it’s the co-partnership between the two teams, making it hard to get a real home-field advantage. At the end of the day, who does the stadium really belong to?
WORST – Hard Rock Stadium (Dolphins)
While Hard Rock Stadium seems to improve every year, it’s still not up to par with the best in the league. Opened in 1987 as a multi-purpose stadium, several renovation projects have turned the Dolphins home into exactly that – a home.
One of the biggest knocks on the stadium is its vulnerability to weather. Florida heat and humidity can be brutal, so having an open-air stadium can make for an uncomfortable fan experience.
BEST – AT&T Stadium (Cowboys)
Opened in 2009 with a maximum capacity of 100,000 fans, AT&T Stadium cost over one billion dollars, and it’s easy to see why. The massive home of the Cowboys is packed with features an amenities.
When the Cowboys make the playoffs, not many stadiums get louder. Without question, this is a must-visit stadium for any sports or music fans. Just imagine watching The Rolling Stones play here!
WORST – Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Another stadium that carries the Mercedes-Benz moniker, this one is the home of the Saints and has been in business since 1975. As one of the NFL’s older stadiums, it’s also one of the least interesting.
The good news is that with Drew Brees under center, Saints fans don’t seem to care about the condition of the stadium the game is being played. They show up, and they get loud!
BEST – Arrowhead Stadium (Chiefs)
The best home-field advantage in the NFL belongs to the Kansas City Chiefs. No fans in the league are louder. No wonder the Chiefs are perennially in playoff contention. Having Patrick Mahomes as their quarterback helps, too!
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Arrowhead Stadium is just how old it is. Opened in 1972, it’s barely showing signs of age and is still considered a premier football destination for fans to watch games.
WORST – Ford Field (Lions)
If the Detroit Lions could find sustained success, it’s possible that Ford Field would a better place to enjoy a football game. As it stands, there’s nothing that sets the stadium apart from others, and space is limited in the parking lot for tailgating.
With a maximum capacity of 65,000, Ford Field somehow feels larger, especially with empty seats. Outside, despite limited space, the venue has helped rejuvenate the surrounding downtown Detroit area.
BEST – Lincoln Financial Field (Eagles)
Opened in 2003, Lincoln Financial wasn’t properly showcased until Doug Pedersen came to town and led the Eagles franchise to its first Super Bowl title. Of course, the fans always packed the stadium, now they just have that extra decibel of pride they’ve been seeking for so long.
The stadium itself has plenty of room for tailgating, is easy to get to, and is packed with amenities. The only reason you might not want to go is if you’re a visiting fan. Home fans can be brutal here!
WORST – Bank Of America Stadium (Panthers)
Just over 20-years-old, Bank of America Stadium used to be one of the best venues in the NFL. As the home of the Carolina Panthers, years of renovations have largely failed to keep it feeling like a modern facility.
With the team under new ownership, it is now the responsibility of David Tepper to either secure funding for a massive renovation, or develop a new state of the art stadium to be built nearby.