While NFL players and coaches compete to be the best team on the field, many NFL owners spend their time trying to make their stadium the best in the league. Teams that have built new stadiums in recent years to actively try to one-up each other and build the greatest stadium fans have ever seen. Meanwhile, teams with slightly older stadiums work to renovate and upgrade them any way they can.
Of course, not every stadium in the NFL is a brand new, world-class facility. Some can be considered among the top sports venues in the world while others are lagging far behind. In fact, there’s a sizable difference between the top stadiums in the NFL and the bottom of the barrel. To show you what we mean, here’s a look at all 31 NFL stadiums from worst to best.
31. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (Raiders)
The good news is that the Coliseum won’t be home to football for much longer, as the Raiders are planning to move to Las Vegas. But for the time being, it’s the worst stadium in the NFL.
The biggest problem is that it’s built primarily for baseball, and so the infield has to be covered up and seats at the 50-yard line aren’t that close to the field because they are positioned behind home plate when the field is set up for baseball. Also, while it has one of the highest seating capacities in the big leagues, it has one of the lowest in the NFL. Naturally, you can see why the Raiders are eager to move out of town.
30. FedEx Field (Redskins)
FedEx Field has one of the highest seating capacities in the NFL, but the Redskins often have a hard time coming anywhere close to a capacity crowd. In fact, they have one of the worst home-field advantages in football because there are so many empty seats.
Part of the problem is that the stadium isn’t actually in Washington. The Washington Nationals, Wizards, Capitals, and DC United all play their home games inside the District of Columbia, but the Redskins don’t. Getting to FedEx Field takes a long time, and once fans get there, the cost of tickets and parking are on the high side compared to the rest of the NFL. On the plus side, it’s not as old and dilapidated as ole RFK Stadium, although if pressed, most Redskins fans would probably prefer to go back there rather than stay at FedEx Field.
29. Dignity Health Sports Park (Chargers)
In fairness, the Chargers will only spend a few years playing a Dignity Health Sports Park, which is best known by its former name, the StubHub Center. In 2020, the team will have a new stadium that will be shared with the Rams. In the meantime, they have to put up with a lackluster home field.
With a capacity around 27,000, it’s by far the smallest NFL stadium. The issue is that the stadium was built specifically for soccer. Nobody ever planned on an NFL team needing to use it as their home base. This fact has become quite obvious, and it’s a big reason why the Chargers have struggled to draw fans since moving to Los Angeles.
28. New Era Field (Bills)
The Bills are trying to get a new stadium built, but for now, they’re stuck in one of the oldest and least impressive stadiums in the NFL. Even with some updates, the stadium isn’t in great shape. It’s also located in Orchard Park, which is at least a 20-minute drive from downtown Buffalo, and that’s when traffic isn’t a problem.
In addition to being old, Bills fans often have to suffer through terrible cold and wind during games the second half of the season. Quarterbacks and kickers aren’t too fond of the conditions either. Lastly, some believe the stadium is haunted because it was built so close to a cemetery, and the team’s fortune of the years would appear to back that up.
27. Hard Rock Stadium (Dolphins)
One thing Hard Rock Stadium has working in its favor is a lot of history. It’s been the longtime home of both the Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes, as well as the Marlins until 2011. There’s also been plenty of memorable bowl games. It’s also had over half a dozen names since opening in 1987
However, there’s not much more that’s notable about Hard Rock Stadium other than its names and its tenants. Most fans are shielded from the Florida heat, but even front-row seats aren’t that close to the field, which hurts the atmosphere and any home-field advantage. Also, the stadium itself is nowhere near downtown Miami, which also hurts the game-day atmosphere.
26. FirstEnergy Stadium (Browns)
Many have called FirstEnergy Stadium the “Factory of Sadness,” which I’ve actually seen written on the walls of a bathroom inside the stadium. It’s considered one of the worst home fields in the NFL, although that has a lot more to do with the Browns being terrible than the stadium or its fans. After all, the Dawg Pound still brings the noise and the ruckus on a regular basis.
The location of FirstEnergy Stadium is not too bad. It’s right next to Lake Erie and close to the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame and other downtown Cleveland attractions. But the stadium itself is outdated and gets cold in the fall with winds coming off the lake. On the bright side, tickets to see the lowly Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium are usually cheap.
25. TIAA Bank Field (Jaguars)
The Jaguars have spent their entire history in the stadium that’s now called TIAA Bank Field. That means it’s a little on the old side, which hurts its standing compared to some new stadiums.
That being said, there are some unique amenities, including swimming pools on the north deck of the stadium. It’s also hard to find a bad seat in the house, so fans always have a good view of the field. Unfortunately, there’s little protection from the sun, which can be a problem in Florida. Of course, the TIAA Bank Field is in a good spot, right near the St. John’s River and downtown Jacksonville, so some definite trade-offs come with visiting this stadium.
24. Paul Brown Stadium (Bengals)
In terms of architecture, Paul Brown Stadium is one of the nicest sports facilities you’ll ever see. It’s actually won awards for design, which is rare for stadiums. Fans inside the stadium are also privy to nice views of downtown Cincinnati and the Ohio River.
The problem is that fans don’t go to stadiums to enjoy the architecture. If you take that away, Paul Brown Stadium is solid but unspectacular. The location is good, but it’s nearly two decades old, and so there’s little about Paul Brown Stadium (outside the architecture and views) that distinguishes it from other NFL stadiums.
23. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Rams)
Until the Rams move into their shared stadium with the Chargers in 2020, they are stuck at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on the campus of USC. Obviously, it’s hard to argue against the history of a stadium that’s stood for nearly a century. To be in a stadium that has hosted two Olympics and will one day host a third is certainly unique.
However, the Coliseum still loses points for lacking modern amenities. Traveling to the stadium and parking before games aren’t much fun, although food trucks that set up shop near the stadium help make up for it not being in a downtown location. However, fans were a little scarce until the Rams were suddenly a dominant and exciting team in 2018, which says something about the stadium itself.
22. Nissan Stadium (Titans)
Located a hop, skip, and a jump away from glorious downtown Nashville, Nissan Stadium is in a prime location compared to other NFL stadiums. That’s part of what makes it an ideal place for visiting fans, as they can enjoy the city and check out a game at the same time. In fact, Titans fans have been criticized for allowing visiting fans to take over their field.
Of course, other than its location, nothing stands out too much about Nissan Stadium. It received some modern updates in 2012 to help keep up with the Joneses. But it’s average at best in most categories and overall a rather mediocre stadium.
21. Soldier Field (Bears)
When the Rams stop playing in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Soldier Field will go back to being the oldest stadium in the NFL. That history makes it an enticing place to visit, although it’s still considered one of the most disliked stadiums by fans. Even a renovation to the interior in 2002 feels a little outdated now. Those renovations also cost the stadium historic landmark status.
To be fair, it’s hard to beat Soldier Field’s location; it’s in the heart of Chicago, so it’s easy to get to and enjoy other parts of the city on game days. However, the stadium is old and small, and tickets are among the most expensive in the NFL, so it’s not necessarily worthwhile to visit for some fans.
20. Gillette Stadium (Patriots)
It’s hard to find too many negatives in a stadium that’s always sold out and provides a great home-field advantage, largely because the home team is always one of the best in the NFL. The atmosphere is always top-notch, which can make any stadium a great place to watch a game.
However, take away all of that winning and Gillette Stadium is far from perfect. For starters, all of that winning and those sold-out games mean that tickets are expensive and hard to get. Also, while the team did a great job of creating and building up Patriot Place so there are some food and entertainment options near Gillette Stadium, it’s still located quite a ways outside of Boston, where most Patriots fans live. There’s also not that much going on in terms of amenities at the stadium that make it stand out from some of the new facilities around the NFL.
19. Levi’s Stadium (49ers)
For one of the newest stadiums in the NFL, Levi’s Stadium has a fair amount of flaws. For starters, it’s nowhere near San Francisco, forcing most fans who live by the Bay to make a long drive. Also, while most fans get seats in the lower level of the stadium, they are directly in the sun, which can get hot in Northern California, at least until sunset. Ticket prices are also among the most expensive in the NFL, so the crowd tends to be more corporate. It doesn’t help that luxury boxes are on the side of the stadium that stays out of the sun.
Despite a number of flaws, the stadium has been designed in an environmentally friendly way. It even has solar panels. It’s also possible for fans to order food on the stadium’s app and have it delivered to their seat, so clearly, Levi’s Stadium isn’t all bad.
18. Raymond James Stadium (Buccaneers)
How you feel about Raymond James Stadiums depends largely on how you feel about giant replica pirate ships. It’s not exactly a playground, but fans can get their picture taken in front of the ship when they visit Raymond James Stadium. There’s also a whole song and dance revolving around the ship when the Buccaneers score.
However, outside of the ship, this is a rather ordinary stadium. It’s not particularly close to downtown Tampa, so unless you enjoy tailgating, there’s nothing to do pre-game around the stadium. The Bucs also share Raymond James with the University of South Florida. To be fair, renovations performed in 2016 have helped it stay ahead of some other stadiums, but outside of the unique pirate ship, there’s nothing all that special about Tampa’s home field.
17. Lincoln Financial Field (Eagles)
There’s almost nothing about Lincoln Financial Field that feels fancy or high-end, but that’s part of what makes it perfect for the city of Philadelphia. Obviously, there are plenty of luxury boxes, but most fans will be in regular seats, likely braving the elements depending on the time of year.
The stadium opened in 2003, but the Eagles have done their part to keep it updated. There are some nice amenities, including vegetarian food options and enhanced Wifi inside the stadium. Also, Lincoln Financial Field has often been one of the most energy-efficient stadiums in the NFL. Overall, there’s a lot to like about a visit to “The Linc,” even if it’s not the best stadium in the NFL.
16. Ford Field (Lions)
Weather is never an issue at Ford Field, which is great whenever you’re in Detroit. There are also skylights that allow the field and concourse to receive plenty of sunlight without it becoming a factor during games. Those are all important features and reasons why Ford Field has hosted a Super Bowl and multiple Final Fours.
Contrary to the Pontiac Silverdome, where the Lions played before moving into Ford Field in 2002, the stadium is located in downtown Detroit, which is ideal in this day and age. Unless you’re a stickler for watching games outside, it’s hard to find too many glaring flaws with Ford Field, especially after $100 million worth of renovation sin 2017.
15. M&T Bank Stadium (Ravens)
Despite dating all the way back to 1998 and hosting every home game the Ravens have ever played, M&T Bank Stadium remains one of the nicest places to watch an NFL game. The atmosphere is always energetic, especially if you’re cool with the team’s marching band, but the Baltimore fans are almost always kind and well-behaved.
M&T Bank Stadium may not blow anyone away with modern amenities, but it has enough to get a passing grade in that department, especially for an older stadium. It’s also close enough to the city’s downtown area and famous Inner Harbor for fans to enjoy other parts of the city on game day. Outside of the purple seats, visitors shouldn’t have too many complaints about M&T Bank Stadium.
14. Bank of America Stadium (Panthers)
While a little on the old side, having hosted the Panthers since 1996, Bank of America Stadium has stood up well over time. It has an old-school bowl shape that makes for good sightlines. The stadium is also located in the heart of uptown Charlotte (what most cities would call downtown), giving fans in certain sections of the stadium a nice view of the city’s skyline.
Throughout much of its history, Bank of America Stadium was ahead of the curve compared to other venues. When other stadiums began to catch up, the Panthers made a commitment to making renovations and upgrades, keeping it as up to date as possible. On top of that, the Panthers have one of the best home records in football during their time in the league, so the stadium has been friendly to the home team over the years.
13. Mercedes-Benz Superdome (Saints)
The fact that the Superdome is still standing and being used is something worth recognizing. The building first opened in 1975 and had to withstand the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, becoming a symbol for the way the entire city of New Orleans persevered through the storm.
Admittedly, the Superdome is old and far from perfect. Some have even described it as a “basement.” But it’s been renovated enough times to give it a somewhat modern feel inside. It’s also one of the last true dome stadiums in any sport, which means it bottles up the noise and creates an incredible atmosphere during games. Why else would it have hosted seven Super Bowls and five Final Fours, and counting
12. State Farm Stadium (Cardinals)
The former University of Phoenix Stadium is far more than the home of the Cardinals. It has hosted Super Bowls, Pro Bowls, College Football Playoff games, the Final Four, and so much more. It’s an elite sporting venue, which is why it’s used to host so many big events. It also has one of the most unique grass fields in sports, as it can be easily removed when it’s not needed.
However, one of the few downsides to State Farm Stadium is that it’s located in the middle of nowhere. It’s located in Glendale, Arizona, but not even in the heart of Glendale. It’s also well outside the Phoenix city limits. The good news is that parking is relatively cheap compared to other places, but even with that little perk, the location of State Farm Stadium is far from ideal.
11. MetLife Stadium (Jets/Giants)
To be frank, MetLife Stadium is kind of a big deal, literally. It has the highest seating capacity in the NFL, so it definitely earns points for that. Even more impressive, in 2009, the EPA named it the greenest NFL stadium, which is saying something for a facility so large.
The downside is its location, as it’s in the same spot as the old Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, meaning New York teams are playing their games in northeast Jersey. Fans can get there, but there’s nothing else close to the stadium. However, MetLife Stadium earns big points for being built solely for football, and the fact that the NFL chose it to host a Super Bowl despite it being in a cold climate, says a lot.
10. Heinz Field (Steelers)
There’s a fine line between an old stadium and an old-school stadium, and Heinz Field plays jump rope with that line in the most beautiful of ways. The actual stadium is a little old, but it feels more historic than anything else when you visit the Great Hall, which will tell you just about everything you need to know about the history of the Steelers.
The weather can sometimes be less than ideal in this open-air stadium in a cold city. However, almost every Steelers game at Heinz Field is a sellout, and the towel-waving fans typically create a great environment for watching a game. Also, most seats will offer some view of the Ohio River and the Pittsburgh skyline, which is a nice perk for a somewhat older stadium.
9. Arrowhead Stadium (Chiefs)
If you want noise, it doesn’t get much better than Arrowhead Stadium. To be fair, there’s some stiff competition in that department, but the folks in Kansas City know how to get rowdy, putting Arrowhead in the Guinness Book of World Records as the loudest outdoor stadium in the world. Also, if you can go during the right time of year, the weather is picture-perfect.
The downside, of course, is that the stadium is old, going on 50 years since it opened. The renovations performed a few years ago didn’t do much to improve the experience for the average fan. However, the atmosphere is tough to beat and ticket prices are usually manageable.
8. Lambeau Field (Packers)
You’ve heard the stories and seen it on TV, but there’s no substitute for visiting Lambeau Field in person. To be fair, the stadium opened in 1957 and doesn’t have many of the modern amenities that most NFL stadiums offer fans. Tickets are also quite expensive, especially when you consider the lack of amenities. Plus, there’s not exactly a vibrant downtown area around the stadium.
But the history the stadium offers and the passion Packers fans bring to every game makes up for a lot of what’s missing. In other words, this is a stadium that has immense character. Also, for what it’s worth, the beer selection at Lambeau Field is something to behold. That’s worth a lot, right?
7. Lucas Oil Stadium (Colts)
When the Colts moved from the RCA Dome to Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008, it was like night and day. It features both massive windows and a retractable roof, welcoming in sunlight but being climate controlled when necessary.
The location of Lucas Oil Stadium is nearly perfect as well. Indianapolis doesn’t have a huge downtown area, but the stadium is at the center of it. It’s in close proximity to the city’s other sports arenas and most of the top attractions Indianapolis has to offer, giving Lucas Oil Stadium everything a modern stadium should have.
6. Broncos Stadium at Mile High (Broncos)
It’s almost impossible to replicate or surpass the atmosphere at Broncos Stadium, which most people still call Mile High Stadium. The Broncos have actually sold out every game since 1970 regardless of the stadium, and only on rare occasions are there tickets that have been sold that go unused. Even when it’s freezing and snowing, the stands are packed with enthusiastic fans.
The stadium isn’t exactly in the middle of downtown the way Coors Field is, but it’s close enough to the heart of the city. There were also considerable renovations in 2013 to help modernize the stadium. Finally, the food and drink selection, especially when it comes to craft beer, is one of the best in the NFL.
5. NRG Stadium (Texans)
NRG Stadium has hosted the Texans for their entire existence, dating back to 2002, and has been an important trendsetter by being the first NFL stadium to have a retractable roof. In a place that gets as hot as Houston, that’s a major bonus for fans. When the weather is cool enough for the roof to open, particularly at night, it’s hard to find a more gorgeous stadium from the inside. Even with the roof closed, the stadium offers incredibly transparency and natural lighting.
For a stadium that’s starting to age a little, it’s sometimes hard to tell. The Texans have done their best to keep NRG Stadium looking and feeling like a modern stadium, which is why it recently hosted a Super Bowl and has hosted multiple Final Fours in its history.
4. US Bank Stadium (Vikings)
The new home of the Vikings is one of the best-designed and gorgeous stadiums in the NFL, and that’s just from the outside. Inside, the glass walls and transparent roof almost make it look like a cathedral. With the sun shining in, the sight from inside US Bank Stadium is almost breathtaking.
However, the aesthetics of the stadium are just the icing on the cake. The amenities inside are incredible, including a virtual-reality experience that helps fans better understand what it’s like being an NFL player. It also doesn’t hurt that the stadium is in downtown Minneapolis, offers nice views of the Twin Cities skyline, and has some of the cheapest parking options in the NFL. In other words, it makes for a great fan experience whether the Vikings win or lose.
3. Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Falcons)
Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta gets a huge edge by being the newest NFL stadium. It features the largest 360-degree HD video board in the world, incredibly fast Wifi speed for everyone in the building, and roughly 2,500 TVs, so fans shouldn’t miss a snap when they leave their seats.
Even from the outside, the stadium looks amazing and the essence of modern sports arenas. It’s located adjacent to downtown Atlanta and has a retractable roof, making it a huge upgrade over the old Georgia Dome. Most importantly, Mercedes-Benz Stadium offers some of the cheapest concession prices of any pro sports arena, which is strong evidence that this place puts fans first.
2. CenturyLink Field (Seahawks)
It didn’t take long after opening in 2002 for CenturyLink Field to gain the reputation as one of the toughest places to play for road teams. The fans are boisterous and the sound is deafening at times. The stadium even registered seismic activity following a touchdown by the Seahawks in January 2011; now that’s some serious noise.
In addition to the atmosphere, CenturyLink Field is just a beautiful place to watch a game. The open north end of the stadium gives guests a brilliant view of downtown Seattle. The wide concourses also provide magnificent views of the surrounding area, including the bay that sits just west of the stadium. For a wide variety of reasons, it’s one of the truly special venues in the NFL.
1. AT&T Stadium (Cowboys)
When you walk into AT&T Stadium, the word palace comes to mind. It’s a palace designed for football. You’ve probably heard about the video board that’s 60 yards long; in fact, many fans buy tickets based around where they’re sitting in relation to the video board. There are an additional 3,000 slightly smaller TVs placed around the stadium as well.
But there’s more to Jerry World than a lot of screens. You may actually want to take a tour of the stadium on a non-game day if you want to see everything, including the luxury suite used by Jerry Jones himself. There’s even an art gallery with paintings, sculptures, and other masterpieces. It’s safe to say, other stadiums don’t have that. Naturally, tickets and parking are crazy expensive, but if you have the excess cash to spend, it’s worth it to see the be-all and end-all of NFL stadiums in person.