Saturday, December 9, 2023

NFL stadium rankings: All 30 NFL venues from best to worst

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Three years ago, 31 NFL writers at The Athletic got together to rank the best and worst NFL stadiums. The process started by gathering each writer’s five best and five worst stadiums. While compiling the results, we ranked all 31 venues from best to worst.

The NFL is now down to 30 stadiums for its 32 teams, with the New York Giants and New York Jets sharing MetLife Stadium in New Jersey and the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers sharing SoFi Stadium in southern California.

To update the rankings, 30 of The Athletic’s NFL writers again ranked their top five and bottom five in order. At the time of the previous ranking, SoFi Stadium and Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas were not included. They opened in 2020.

So, here are the updated rankings.

Note: Every reporter who participated in this survey has not been to every stadium.

1. U.S. Bank Stadium

Team: Minnesota Vikings

Seating capacity: 66,000

Google review: 4.7 stars

This wasn’t even close. Half of the voters placed it No. 1 in their rankings. It also topped our list three years ago. Although it’s an indoor venue, half of the roof is transparent and the wall behind the end zone facing downtown Minneapolis is glass, allowing in a considerable amount of natural light. It opened in 2016, making it one of the league’s newest stadiums. It also helps that the Vikings do an excellent job with their pregame and in-game presentation.

“I cannot think of another way to say this: U.S. Bank Stadium feels natural,” Vikings reporter Alec Lewis wrote. “And for a domed building, that is an incredible feat. Maybe it’s the natural light that drifts in from the front end of the stadium through crystal glass. Or, maybe it’s particular dimensions that make the inside feel right — not like a gigantic warehouse, and not like a claustrophobic cave. The history of the franchise and the Skol chants and the fake snow all contribute to the overall experience. But the stadium, in general, is the perfect representation of what an indoor arena should look and feel like on a Sunday.”

2. SoFi Stadium

Teams: Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers

Seating capacity: 70,000

Google review: 4.5 stars

Similar to U.S. Bank Stadium, this venue also has a transparent roof, allowing for an outdoor feel in an indoor stadium. It received seven first-place votes. It’s not a surprise to see one of the NFL’s newest stadiums rank so highly. One of its best features is the double-sided video board that hangs from the ceiling, circling around the entire field.

“I hate indoor football stadiums, but I grudgingly understand why they are preferred/necessary for NFL teams,” Falcons reporter Josh Kendall wrote. “SoFi manages to ‘feel’ like an outdoor stadium while still offering the benefits of being indoors. Throw in the bells, whistles and the fact that you can walk to one end of the concourse and see the Forum (I mean, it’s the Forum) makes SoFi a winner.”

3. Lambeau Field

Team: Green Bay Packers

Seating capacity: 81,441

Google review: 4.8 stars

It jumped up one spot from the previous rankings, landing No. 1 overall on six ballots. Lambeau has been home to the Packers since 1957. If watching a game outside in cold weather is a problem, this place might not be for you. But if you like history, it would be difficult to find a better spot to watch a game. They’ve done an excellent job of upgrading the stadium over the years while still providing a historic feel.

“The walk into Lambeau Field is unlike any other in the NFL,” Patriots reporter Chad Graff wrote. “The hearty locals here who own houses so close to the stadium it feels like you could throw a football there will often offer brats and beer to passers-by. Once inside, the deep bowl of rows is inspiring. It’s cohesive and packed with tradition without feeling run down. Visiting here should be a bucket list item for any NFL fan.”

Green Bay’s Keisean Nixon does the Lambeau Leap after returning a kickoff for a touchdown last season against the Vikings. (Dan Powers / USA Today)

4. AT&T Stadium

Team: Dallas Cowboys

Seating capacity: 80,000

Google review: 4.7 stars

Falling one spot from our previous ranking, AT&T Stadium is clearly still one of the best venues in all of sports. The retractable roof isn’t open much but when the doors and roof are open for a Sunday night or Monday night game, it’s difficult to find a better place to watch a game. The big screen above the field continues to be one of a kind. While some appreciate it, others complain that it distracts from watching the actual game on the field. AT&T Stadium opened in 2009 but still compares well to all of the newer stadiums. It landed in the top five on 19 ballots.

“Jerry Jones created a palace with a football field at the center of it all,” NFL reporter Jeff Howe wrote. “It’s spacious, clean, has great sight lines and was clearly built to last a long time.”

5. Lumen Field

Team: Seattle Seahawks

Seating capacity: 67,000

Google review: 4.6 stars

One of the top attractions is that it’s one of the loudest stadiums in sports. The outdoor venue has been home to the Seahawks since it opened in 2002. It was second on our previous list. This time around, it was in the top five on 18 ballots.

6. GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium

Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Seating capacity: 76,416

Google review: 4.7 stars

It would be tough to find a better game-day atmosphere. The tailgating scene is outstanding and the crowd noise during games is among the best in the league. The venue has aged well considering the Chiefs have been playing there since 1972.

7. Allegiant Stadium

Team: Las Vegas Raiders

Seating capacity: 65,000

Google review: 4.7 stars

This one (opened in 2020) was tough to rank because unlike SoFi Stadium, only one team plays there and the Raiders have not yet hosted the Super Bowl, which they do this season. Because of this, it had the smallest number of reporters who have attended a game there.

“In many ways, it’s not really a football stadium,” Raiders reporter Vic Tafur wrote. “The Las Vegas night club in the one end zone with waitresses and bottle service still gets double takes every time — but the best part of Allegiant Stadium is that it plays like one. There are great sight lines for most of the 65,000 seats and the crowd — full of home and visiting, buffet- and slot-machine searching fans — gets very loud. You can get lost in the game, unlike Sofi Stadium, in which you’re always wondering if you are actually in a spaceship. And the food sold at the game is next level, from a brisket mac and cheese bowl to poke nachos.”

8. Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Team: Atlanta Falcons

Seating capacity: 71,000

Google review: 4.7 stars

It’s a little surprising that this place doesn’t get more love. It landed in the top five on 12 ballots, ranking fifth on seven. It’s important to note that there is a clear drop-off in the voting after this spot. These top eight stadiums have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Mercedes-Benz Stadium is one of the NFL’s newest venues, opening in 2017. It has a retractable roof and a ring-shaped video board above the field.

9. Empower Field at Mile High

Team: Denver Broncos

Seating capacity: 76,125

Google review: 4.6 stars

This is where the middle of the pack begins. The Broncos’ home since 2001 has held up well. It’s still one of the better stadiums to watch a game. It was voted top five on three ballots.

10. Acrisure Stadium

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Seating capacity: 68,400

Google review: 4.7 stars

This outdoor stadium, formerly known as Heinz Field, has been the Steelers’ home since 2001. It has a great location, downtown on the Ohio River. It also ranked 10th in our previous survey.

Steelers fans wave their Terrible Towels last season against the Ravens. (Charles LeClaire / USA Today)

11. M&T Bank Stadium

Team: Baltimore Ravens

Seating capacity: 71,008

Google review: 4.7 stars

This outdoor venue that has been home to the Ravens since 1998 climbed five spots since our last ranking, landing in the top five on three ballots.

12. Levi’s Stadium

Team: San Francisco 49ers

Seating capacity: 68,500

Google review: 4.4 stars

It’s one of the league’s newer stadiums, opening in 2014, but there isn’t much about it that stands out. It also ranked 12th three years ago.

13. Lucas Oil Stadium

Team: Indianapolis Colts

Seating capacity: 70,000

Google review: 4.7 stars

This is exactly where Lucas Oil landed on our previous ranking. It has a retractable roof but it is only open about 25 percent of the time.

“Arguably the best thing about Lucas Oil Stadium is its location,” Colts reporter James Boyd wrote. “The Colts’ home venue is centrally located in downtown Indianapolis, making it an easy place to get to as an Indy-area resident or out-of-state visitor. Once you’re downtown, everything from hotels to parking to food options are within walking distance of LOS. As for the stadium itself, it’s not state-of-the-art but far from outdated. It’s fairly easy to navigate and spectators usually have a good view of the action whether they’re sitting at the 50-yard line or in the nosebleeds. There’s also the retractable roof that ensures a well-kept playing surface and a cozy environment for fans when the winter months roll around.”

14. Ford Field

Team: Detroit Lions

Seating capacity: 65,000

Google review: 4.6 stars

The indoor stadium with turf field has been home to the Lions since 2002. The most unique feature is that it incorporates an old Detroit brick warehouse into its design.

15. Lincoln Financial Field

Team: Philadelphia Eagles

Seating capacity: 67,594

Google review: 4.6 stars

The home of the Eagles since 2003 fell six spots from our previous ranking.

“This season is the 20th anniversary of Lincoln Financial Field, so what was once considered state-of-the-art is now considered more industry standard,” Eagles reporter Zach Berman wrote. “That makes the ranking reasonable enough when considering some of the new facilities that opened in recent years and the sentimental value attached to some of the iconic venues. The Eagles have made upgrades to the stadium in recent years and it’s still a fun place for fans to watch a game — if you’re wearing green, that is. Its proximity to major highways make it an easy stadium for commuters, and the surrounding parking lots provide a robust tailgate scene.”



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16. NRG Stadium

Team: Houston Texans

Seating capacity: 72,220

Google review: 4.6 stars

Opening in 2002, it’s the NFL’s oldest stadium with a retractable roof. This ranking is right about where it was three years ago.

17. State Farm Stadium

Team: Arizona Cardinals

Seating capacity: 63,400

Google review: 4.6 stars

The home of the Cardinals since 2006 fell eight spots from the last ranking. It landed on two ballots as one of the worst five stadiums in the league. State Farm Stadium has hosted three Super Bowls, including February’s game between the Chiefs and Eagles.

18. Nissan Stadium

Team: Tennessee Titans

Seating capacity: 69,143

Google review: 4.5 stars

The Titans home since 1999 finishes up what should be considered the middle of the three tiers of NFL stadiums. Tennessee is expected to break ground on a new stadium next year with the plans of playing in the new venue in 2027.

19. Cleveland Browns Stadium

Team: Cleveland Browns

Seating capacity: 67,431

Google review: 4.5 stars

The Browns’ outdoor home since 1999 climbed four spots after being 23rd a few years ago.

20. Raymond James Stadium

Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Seating capacity: 75,000

Google review: 4.5 stars

This 25-year-old outdoor venue fell five spots in the ranking after landing on multiple ballots for worst-five stadiums in the league.

21. Gillette Stadium

Team: New England Patriots

Seating capacity: 65,878

Google review: 4.6 stars

The Patriots have won five Super Bowls since this became their home in 2002. Somewhat surprisingly, four ballots had it ranked as one of the NFL’s worst stadiums.

22. Bank of America Stadium

Team: Carolina Panthers

Seating capacity: 74,867

Google review: 4.6 stars

The Panthers’ home since 1996 ranks in the exact same spot as our last ranking.



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23. Soldier Field

Team: Chicago Bears

Seating capacity: 61,500

Google review: 4.5 stars

This is the most significant change from three years ago when the home of the Bears ranked seventh overall. Six ballots had it ranked as one of the four worst stadiums in the league.

“The drop could be related to the fact that the Bears could be leaving Soldier Field in the near future,” Bears reporter Adam Jahns wrote. “The Bears closed on the massive Arlington Park property in suburban Arlington Heights, though tax-related issues have resulted in a reopened search for a new site for a stadium. New team president Kevin Warren has taken the lead on the process. Or the drop suggests that enough fans, tourists and media members have finally experienced Chicago traffic at its worst to shift the votes. A city that’s known for its outstanding food doesn’t really showcase it at Soldier Field, either.”

24. Highmark Stadium

Team: Buffalo Bills

Seating capacity: 71,608

Google review: 4.5 stars

The Bills’ home since 1973 ranks in the same spot it did three years ago. Construction is taking place on a $1.5 billion stadium that is expected to be finished by 2026.

25. MetLife Stadium

Teams: New York Giants, New York Jets

Seating capacity: 82,500

Google review: 4.5 stars

Despite it not being old, 13 ballots had it ranked as one of the five worst stadiums in the league.

“When MetLife was completed in 2010 it cost $1.6 billion,” Jets reporter Zack Rosenblatt wrote. “The money was not particularly well spent. It’s a boring stadium — which is something universally agreed on by both Giants and Jets fans, a rarity — both in look and feel. The food is poor. And it’s always a disaster exiting the stadium, especially for fans — and that gets even worse after concerts. There’s a mall nearby but otherwise it’s not exactly an exciting area, especially as the home base for two teams that are supposed to represent New York City.”

26. Caesars Superdome

Team: New Orleans Saints

Seating capacity: 73,000

Google review: 4.6 stars

It cracked the top 15 a few years ago, but it dropped significantly after ranking in the bottom three in the league on eight ballots. It has hosted a record seven Super Bowls and will get its eighth in 2025.

“The Caesars Superdome gets to host Super Bowls because it’s in New Orleans, not because of the facility,” Larry Holder wrote. “It’s one of the older venues to house an NFL franchise having opened its doors in 1975. The Dome atmosphere can pack a punch when the Saints are rolling. But the building certainly feels old with zero chance of a new facility anytime soon. Plus you’d expect better cuisine inside the Dome for a city known for its dining (although it’s known for excellent Bloody Marys). That said, the Dome is on the back nine of a significant renovation that should be complete by the time the Dome hosts Super Bowl LIX on Feb. 9, 2025.”

27. Paycor Stadium

Team: Cincinnati Bengals

Seating capacity: 65,515

Google review: 4.4 stars

The 23-year-old stadium cracked the bottom five on 13 ballots, finishing in the same spot as 2020.

28. Hard Rock Stadium

Team: Miami Dolphins

Seating capacity: 65,326

Google review: 4.6 stars

Half of the ballots had the Dolphins’ home since 1987 in the bottom five in the NFL.



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29. TIAA Bank Field

Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

Seating capacity: 67,838

Google review: 4.5 stars

Even though these last two fall in the bottom tier, they technically could be in a fourth tier by themselves. Twenty-three ballots had TIAA Bank Field in the bottom five. And 17 of them had the Jaguars’ home in the second-from-last spot.

“Venues that are in the downtown area of a city are usually great,” 49ers reporter Matt Barrows wrote. “So are stadiums on a river. TIAA Bank Field is both, though you’d never know it. It has the generic feel of a stadium that’s been plunked down in the suburbs.”

30. FedEx Field

Team: Washington Commanders

Seating capacity: 62,000

Google review: 4.0 stars

No surprises here. In a dominant last-place finish, the home of Washington’s NFL team since 1997 again finishes last. Twenty-seven ballots had FedEx Field in the bottom five. Twenty-five of those ballots had FedEx Field ranked as the NFL’s worst stadium.

“It’s old but not revered,” Commanders reporter Ben Standig wrote. “The basic amenities are outdated for this 21st-century world. With the locals choosing to stay away in recent years amid the losing/non-contending and ownership embarrassment, cheers from hordes of visiting fans often dominate the atmosphere. Of course, they’ll be trapped in brutal traffic on the way out. Suckers. And, yes, the rails break, pipes burst and parking ain’t cheap. At least everyone knows a new stadium is a must. Hold your nose for the next five to eight years in the interim, and hope that winning games becomes the best distraction.”

(Illustration: John Bradford / The Athletic; Kirby Lee, Allen J. Schaben, Aaron P. Bauer-Griffin, Ronald Martinez, Raymond Boyd, Steph Chambers:  Getty Images)

The Football 100, the definitive ranking of the NFL’s best 100 players of all time, goes on sale this fall. Pre-order it here.

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