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The current NFL season is at its midway point and while some teams have accepted their fate of mediocrity, others have begun looking towards the playoffs. Since every year 12 teams qualify for the playoffs, we’ve decided to list our 12 best NFL stadiums, regardless of their teams’ football prowess. Enjoy!
Home to the Green Bay Packers, this Wisconsin stadium is the most iconic in the league. While Chicago’s Soldier Field is technically older, Lambeau is the oldest continually used football stadium in the world, opening in 1957. Even though it’s known for its ‘frozen tundra’, fans aren’t deterred from showing up in hoards, some even shirtless. When it comes to legendary stadiums in the United States, Lambeau is up there with Fenway and Wrigley Field.
Mile High Stadium
A stadium that makes the list for its iconic name in the NFL lore is Mile High. While the Denver Bronco’s stadium is now officially known as Sports Authority Field at Mile High, locals will undoubtedly refer to it by its shorter title. However, Sports Authority has since gone out of business, and despite advances, the Broncos have refused naming rights offers from local Colorado marijuana companies.
Probably the best thing about the Detroit Lions these days is Ford Field. While the team may be consistently underwhelming, fans can distract themselves from the poor play by indulging in some of the best stadium food in the league, most of which is provided by local Detroit favorites.
Mercedes Benz Stadium
Not to be mistaken with New Orleans’s Mercedes Benz Superdome (sorry Saints fans, it’s not quite as cool), Atlanta’s new field has become a quick favorite around the league. The sheer architecture of the place is incredible — the retractable roof opens like a flower blooming, while the acoustics are some of the best in the league, making it a potentially rowdy scene.
The Kansas City Chief’s Arrowhead Stadium makes the list because of its fans. The passionate fan base creates one of the most raucous home field advantages in all of sports. In 2014, the fans here broke the record for the loudest crowd ever at 142.2 decibels. To put that in perspective the threshold for experiencing pain from noise is 125 decibels.
Controversial because of its location in Santa Clara, California, a full 45-miles from the San Francisco 49ers namesake, this stadium, which opened in 2014, is one of the most progressive. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Levi’s, of course, has to have its own app, theirs just happens to be super cool because it can have people deliver food to any seat in the stadium. Levi’s has also made environmental strides to become the greenest stadium in the NFL.
Raymond James Stadium
Why Raymond James Stadium? Because there is a 100-foot long pirate ship inside the stadium! Nobody can really compete with that. Not only does Buccaneer Cove look awesome but also any time the home team scores, Tampa’s favorite pirate ship fires its cannons. Fans have also been known to proudly sing “Yo Ho” from time to time.
US Bank Stadium
Home of the Minnesota Vikings and last year’s Super Bowl, this 2016 architecturally-imposing building has quickly become one of the most recognizable in the league. With 40,000 tons of glass put to use, sharp angular rooflines, and decorated with black stone, US Bank Stadium is a marvel.
Century Link Field
Although it has an open design, the main concourses at Century Link Field are covered with a creative shell-shaped roof that amplifies noise and protects fans from the Seattle rain. The Seahawks’ stadium can get so rowdy that once during a 2011 playoff game, the crowd was apparently responsible for a 1.0 earthquake. Now that the team is seemingly dropping in the standings it will be interesting to see how true the Seattle fans are, since many around the league accuse them of bandwagoning.
Home of the Dallas Cowboys, historically the most obnoxious team in the league (sorry but c’mon), their stadium is undeniably amazing. Costing $1.15 billion to build the stadium now features a 175-foot video screen above the field and a legitimate art gallery. The building has a near-complete dome roof over the stands, which holds over 105,000 people, but does have a hole in the middle, said to be there so that God can watch the Cowboys play.
Home of recent history’s most successful team, the New England Patriots, going to a game at Gillette means the level of competition will always be high considering visiting teams are hungry to knock the Pats off their throne. Although Gillette is not in Boston, but rather is located in Foxborough, a neighbor to the middle of nowhere, the team helped build Patriot Place surrounding the stadium. This area now has tons of shopping, restaurants, a bowling alley, and a hotel for entertainment before and after the game.
This article may have just lost all credibility to football fans, but hear us out. The temporary home of the Los Angeles Chargers is a unique experience amongst the league. First of all, StubHub, originally built as a soccer stadium, only holds some 27,000, a number that is significantly lower than all other stadiums. Because of this proximity to the field, the game experience is much more intimate.
A weird thing about StubHub is that probably only about 25% of the home crowd will actually root for the home team. Next time the Chargers play, look around — visiting jerseys are sure to outnumber Chargers jersey. This phenomenon is because the Chargers recently moved to LA, a city of transplants. So going as an opposing fan is a sure way to make friends from your home city or state.