We have seen a wave of new NFL stadiums built in recent years and will welcome two new architectural masterpieces this season. The question is, which NFL stadiums are the best heading into the 2020 NFL season?
We’re excited to see Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas and SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles make their debuts this year. While we might have to wait to see how the new NFL stadiums look, let’s rank the best NFL stadiums entering the 2020 season.
28. FedEx Field – Washington football team
We’re not exactly sure why any person would go to FedEx Field, unless they want to torture themselves and waste money. Even getting to this place is an incredible hassle, with fans forced to sit through ridiculous traffic just to get inside and then experience the same frustrations when leaving in the third quarter. The experience getting to FedEx Field is miserable, tickets and food are ridiculously expensive and the stadium itself looks bad. This team would do everyone a favor by finally picking a new team name and finding a new place.
27. MetLife Stadium – New York Giants and New York Jets
Feral cats might be the only living things that love MetLife Stadium. Home to 300-plus cats, the New York Giants and New York Jets also share this building. It’s a journey just for fans to make it out to New Jersey. Once they get inside, after forking out hundreds of dollars, they see a dull stadium without substance. Sadly, since it was built in 2007 and cost nearly $2 billion, MetLife Stadium is sticking around for decades.
26. TIAA Bank Field – Jacksonville Jaguars
The stadium has gone through plenty of names since it opened in 1995 and this one might not stick for long. Everyone knows about the pool and a designated dog area, which is great for those with money or a dog. For everyone else, it’s just not a great experience. Given how much this team loves playing in London, the negative sentiment toward the stadium seems to be shared by many.
25. Paul Brown Stadium – Cincinnati Bengals
After two decades, Paul Brown Stadium is well past its prime. There are some nice things about it, like the view of downtown, but it has a lot of faults. Notably, fans are made to feel like they’re on an aircraft carrier by having to go up and down levels to move across the stadium. Unfortunately, this place will likely be around for another two decades.
24. New Era Field – Buffalo Bills
Credit to Bills Mafia for making the stadium entertaining. When you look at the videos of fans parting, it looks like a wonderful place to be. Blame that on the beer goggles, because this 46-year-old building is an aging dinosaur. The weather makes this place miserable and there’s nothing around it to make things better. This fan base deserves a new stadium.
23. Hard Rock Stadium – Miami Dolphins
Renovations in recent years keep this spot from being much lower on the list. While it is a frequent host of the Super Bowl, that can be largely credited to the location. Hard Rock Stadium will stick around, especially thanks to its history. But Miami would love something modern and calls for it might happen if the Dolphins can become a contender.
22. FirstEnergy Stadium – Cleveland Browns
This stadium provides plenty of energy, especially when the Browns are watchable. But there isn’t much else going for this place. It’s located in a decent spot, but that also leads to chilling winds coming off Lake Erie. FirstEnergy Stadium would benefit from a few renovations, but even more so a better product on the field.
21. Raymond James Stadium – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers have a pirate ship that everyone loves, after that there isn’t a whole lot to like about Raymond James Stadium. It can be pricey, likely even more so now that Tom Brady is in town, and the food options inside aren’t particularly attractive. Much like some other stadiums on this list, it’s also not located downtown and the surrounding area isn’t loaded with dining options.
20. Levi’s Stadium – San Francisco 49ers
It’s inexcusable that a stadium opened just a few years ago is this mediocre. Of course, it doesn’t help that they built it in Santa Clara to make the travel experience worse for fans. Did we mention that they spent over $1 billion on this place and failed to protect fans from the glaring sun? If you can look past the inconvenient location, the sun in your eyes and the costly tickets, everything else is really nice.
19. Bank of America Stadium – Carolina Panthers
BoA isn’t one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL, but it would greatly benefit from being demolished. It’s an old-school structure and the team has kept it in decent condition through minor upgrades, but it’s time for this place to go. Fortunately with owner David Tepper in charge, we expect something nice in a few years.
18. Nissan Stadium – Tennessee Titans
The perfect example of an average, aging stadium in a perfect environment. It’s a wonderful place for visiting fans on a Sunday, but Nissan Stadium gets boring fast for those who see it multiple times each season. If ranked off location alone, this would be a top-10 spot in the NFL.
17. Gillette Stadium – New England Patriots
The dynasty effect is responsible for Gillette’s reputation. It meets the very definition of generic and the traffic around the stadium is a living nightmare. Fans are saved by the team, because the places inside and around the stadium fall far short of what you’d expect from this team. Something tells us this place will become more miserable once the losing starts.
16. Soldier Field – Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears reclaim their crown with the oldest stadium in the NFL. Everyone loves the history and the experience from the seat is great, but that’s where this wonderful feeling ends. Between the headaches caused finding a bathroom, getting out of the parking lot and moving around, it’s not great. Simply put, given Soldier Field’s reputation, it’s one of the most overrated stadiums in sports.
15. M&T Bank Stadium – Baltimore Ravens
When you step inside M&T Bank Stadium on game day, the atmosphere can be intoxicating. The stadium is on the old side, but the team also spent $120 million on renovations in 2019. Fans can enjoy the experience once they get inside and there are some nice places to explore outside M&T Bank.
14. Heinz Field – Pittsburgh Steelers
On its reputation alone, Heinz Field finds itself ranked as one of the NFL’s best stadiums. Once you look past the mystique of this place, it looks like many other older stadiums on this list. Renovations and expansions have brought some nice touches and the views from outside the stadium are a plus. This isn’t a bad home for football, it’s just not as great as some make it seem.
13. Ford Field – Detroit Lions
If you can take advantage of a great downtown scene, it needs to be done. Fortunately, the Lions are in the heart of the city and conveniently located next to Comerica Park and some great dining options. Ford Field might even rank higher if the team was better and the atmosphere was louder, but this is still an above-average stadium.
12. NRG Stadium – Houston Texans
It’s starting to get expensive to watch a game at NRG Stadium, but there are some nice aspects about this place as it nears it enters its 18th season. There are plenty of places to eat at following a game, it’s a spacious environment and you’ve got the big screens to look up at. NRG Stadium is similar to the team that plays in it, very good.
11. Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia Eagles
As long as you’re not Santa Claus, “The Linc” is a wonderful place to enjoy an NFL game. Opened in 2003, Lincoln Financial Field represents the city of Philadelphia perfectly. While it might not be one of the most beautiful places on earth, the food is excellent, the ambiance is classic and the fans make it a tremendous experience.
10. Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans Saints
The Superdome will always be an iconic symbol in New Orleans, both for its history with the team and the city itself. While it’s on the older site, having first opened in 1975, the fans and the dome create an experience unlike anyplace else. There are definitely some tight spots and the concourses could vastly benefit from an upgrade. Fortunately, a $450 million renovation is coming. Once the improvements are made, if the Saints are good, this could be a top-five stadium once again.
9. Empower Field at Mile High – Denver Broncos
We’re going to start with the food, because Empower Field at Mile High delivers the kind of options and taste fans dream of for a great experience. Of course, seeing the Rocky Mountains in the distance adds another layer of beauty that makes this place jump out. If you’re an NFL fan looking for a unique and relaxing experience, this is a place to visit.
8. State Farm Stadium – Arizona Cardinals
Since opening, State Farm Stadium has hosted two Super Bowls and will welcome Super Bowl LVII in 2023. Putting a stadium in the Arizona heat can lead to a miserable experience for fans, but this place does a great job of keeping everything cool. It’s not as in the middle of nowhere as it was before, with new restaurants opening around it, but it would have been perfect if this structure was closer to downtown. Fortunately, the experience and amenities inside make up for what’s outside.
7. Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City Chiefs
A classic stadium built for the fan’s experience and still caters to everyone nearly 50 years later. Frankly, a huge part of what makes Arrowhead Stadium wonderful is the tailgating. From the aromas in the air to the hospitality from the fans, everyone needs to come here at least once. Once you step inside, be prepared for a raucous environment that will shake the ground beneath you and create lasting memories.
6. Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis Colts
This might be one of the most underrated stadiums in sports. If you want to know why the NFL Combine is held in Indianapolis each year, it’s because Lucas Oil Stadium delivers the perfect experience. In the heart of downtown, restaurants nearby, space to walk around, convenient parking, an outstanding tailgating experience and everything inside is beautiful. There’s nothing else you could ask for.
5. CenturyLink Field – Seattle Seahawks
The 12th Man is what CenturyLink Field is most known for and it’s understandable. Being a part of that unmatched atmosphere makes you feel like you’re a part of something, namely causing headaches for the opposing team. There are other aspects to love, though, like the wealth of food options, the available public transportation and incredible views from every seat in the house.
4. Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta Falcons
This place is simply a thing of beauty. It opened in 2017 and immediately became one of the best best arenas in the country. While a few down years has led to the overall atmosphere taking a slight hit, everything about the stadium is incredible. The food and drinks are insanely cheap, the services inside are tremendous, the views from around MBS are breathtaking and the technology shows what the future holds.
3. Lambeau Field – Green Bay Packers
Downtown stadiums are preferred, but you’ve got to love that Lambeau Field basically is the town in Green Bay. The city revolves around this place and for good reason. If you’re visiting, you practically step into a time machine when you step through Lambeau Field’s gates and sit on the metal bleachers. Of course, it wouldn’t be Lambeau Field without the tailgating and the passionate fan base. If anyone ever suggested replacing Lambeau Field, they would never be allowed to visit Wisconsin again.
2. U.S. Bank Stadium – Minnesota Vikings
When you step into U.S. Bank Stadium, it feels like you’re jumping 10 years into the future. Creating a translucent roof could be setting the new trend for every future stadium, creating views that can’t be beat in big cities. This place was designed in breathtaking fashion, it keeps everyone comfortable no matter the weather outside, the food options are great and everything about the experience of this place is tremendous.
1. AT&T Stadium – Dallas Cowboys
A case could be made for either of the top four stadiums to claim the No. 1 spot, but we give the edge to the Cowboys. AT&T Stadium can often be flooded with visiting fans, showing out support for their teams and turning a road test into a home game. This building is already a decade old, but it still offers all the perks the new ones have. Of course, it has America’s Team and there’s just something different about watching football in Texas.
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Author: Matt Johnson