Rating the stadiums: Team-by-team glance

September, 17, 2009
9/17/09
12:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com staff


Dallas owner Jerry Jones' $1.2 billion football palace in Arlington, Texas, is the gold standard for NFL stadiums. ESPN.com's NFL Blog Network team evaluates all league stadiums, rating each from five wows to zero wows.

NFC ratings: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

5 WOWS
TEAM STADIUM (CAPACITY) COMMENT
Cowboys Stadium (80,000) The drive-up appeal is what sets this stadium apart. It's breathtakingly big and then you walk inside and see the video board. Lots of architectural flourishes. (Matt Mosley)
Lambeau Field (72,928) What a superior mix of history, atmosphere and amenities. You've got the Packers Hall of Fame, round-the-clock tours and the impressive atrium. (Kevin Seifert)
Lucas Oil Stadium (63,000) Lucas Oil Stadium has an exceptionally airy feeling for a retractable roof stadium even when everything is closed. The roof parts side to side rather than end to end, and a gigantic window facing the city also opens. (Paul Kuharsky)
Heinz Field (65,050) Heinz Field opened in 2001 and has quickly become one the toughest venues for visiting teams. The stadium is currently most famous for its Terrible Towel-waving fans. (James Walker)
4.5 WOWS
Reliant Stadium (71,054) When the retractable roof is closed, it can be awfully loud in there. Ticket-buyers just need more to cheer about. (Paul Kuharsky)
Gillette Stadium (68,756) The stadium anchors a 1.3 million-square-foot retail and entertainment district that includes the same types of stores you'd see at your local mall and restaurants for any palate. (Tim Graham)
4 WOWS
University of Phoenix Stadium (63,400) The Cardinals got it right when they finally put the scorching hot metal bleachers of Sun Devil Stadium behind them. They found a way to build a domed stadium without giving up natural grass or natural light. (Mike Sando)
M&T Bank Stadium (71,008) It's the only place in the NFL where you can see top-flight, pregame dancing from future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, whose moves gets the crowd amped every time. (James Walker)
Lincoln Financial Field (67,594) It's a million times nicer than the Vet, but it certainly doesn't seem as loud. The Eagles opened the Linc in 2003 and they did a nice job of building a modern structure that still has sort of an old-school feel. (Matt Mosley)
Qwest Field (67,000) This architecturally spectacular stadium fits nicely into downtown Seattle while providing skyline views, massive concourses and no real shortcomings. (Mike Sando)
Raymond James Stadium (65,857) The stadium's crown jewel is a pirate ship in the end zone that is one of the most identifying characteristics in the league. (Pat Yasinskas)
3 WOWS
Ralph Wilson Stadium (73,079) What makes the Ralph Wilson Stadium experience are the people. The parking lots are jammed with semipro tailgaters who wake up on Sunday hell-bent on having a good time whether the Bills win or not. (Tim Graham)
Bank of America Stadium (73,504) Ideally located in Uptown Charlotte, which is really downtown, this stadium is the hub of center city on game days. (Pat Yasinskas)
Soldier Field (61,500) For a game-day experience, nothing beats a Sunday morning spent tailgating by the lake and heading over to the stadium for a noon kickoff. (Kevin Seifert)
Arrowhead Stadium (79,400) This stadium is one of the coolest in the league when the Chiefs get things going. The stadium, which is getting a facelift, is a sea of red on game day. (Bill Williamson)
Louisiana Superdome (72,003) The tailgates here are as good as any in the league. Games are a social event in New Orleans and the dome has been sold out for every game since the Saints returned in 2006. (Pat Yasinskas)
FedEx Field (91,704) With 90,000 folks in the building, it can be pretty loud. The stadium almost feels like a NASCAR destination at times. (Matt Mosley)
2 WOWS
Paul Brown Stadium (65,353) The crowd atmosphere in "The Jungle" can be tricky. When the team is rolling, it can be a tough place to play with a loud crowd. (James Walker)
Browns Stadium (73,200) The infamous Dawgpound and Browns fans are not on top of the visiting team and thus not intimidating as it once was. (James Walker)
Invesco Field at Mile High (76,125) The Broncos have lost their home edge in the new house, where the noise level never seems to hit the raucous days of old Mile High. This is a great building, but it doesn't have the charm of the old Mile High. (Bill Williamson)
Ford Field (65,000) Ford Field is a beautiful downtown stadium with wide, comfortable concourses. But unfortunately for the Lions, it's as quiet of an indoor stadium as you'll come by in this league. (Kevin Seifert)
Giants Stadium (80,242) Giants Stadium is a dinosaur. Like other ballparks built in the 1970s, it was constructed for function, not for the creature comforts that generate so much added revenue these days. (Tim Graham)
Giants Stadium (80,242) It does not have all the luxury suites that you see in newer stadiums and it's pretty basic looking. Pretty tough place to play, but the Giants and Jets were due for a beautiful new place. (Matt Mosley)
Candlestick Park (70,207) The place is a dump by rising NFL standards, right down to the faded puke-orange seats. But the 'Stick has history on its side and there's a charm to the place, even while navigating the cramped concourses and craning to see the field from Section 19. (Mike Sando)
LP Field (69,143) The best thing about LP Field is location. Fans can park or party in the heart of downtown, then walk over one of a couple bridges in 10 minutes and get to the game. (Paul Kuharsky)
1.5 WOWS
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium (67,164) It's a pretty straightforward building with no discernible bells and whistles, which is why it would be better if it had more neighborhood surroundings. (Paul Kuharsky)
1 WOW
Georgia Dome (71,228) Despite lots of renovations, the Falcons are making noise about their desire for a new stadium. (Pat Yasinskas)
Land Shark Stadium (75,540) Land Shark is dull. There's not much life on game days. It's located in the middle of nowhere. (Tim Graham)
The Oakland Coliseum (68,800) Fans don't go to Raiders games to be lavished in the state-of-the-art amenities. They go to have a Halloween party. And this stadium is a perfect party house for a few hours. (Bill Williamson)
Qualcomm Stadium (71,500) The atmosphere is decent when the Chargers are winning. The big, circular building can get loud when things are going well in San Diego. (Bill Williamson)
0 WOWS
Metrodome (64,121) Unless you like using troughs in the men's bathrooms, or standing in line to walk through the concourse, or walking over 30 people to get to your middle seat, you're not going to love the Metrodome. (Kevin Seifert)
Edward Jones Dome (66,965) The $30 million in offseason upgrades to the nearly 15-year-old facility do not change the bottom line. The place lacks distinct flavor. It's a big building with seats. Nothing about it screams St. Louis. (Mike Sando)

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