Last week, we gave you the NFL’s 12 best stadiums. This week, we go from “beautiful” and “unique” to “bland” and “generic.” Since this list is sort of depressing, we chopped it down to just eight. Also, that meant 33 percent less work. We’ll count ‘em down this time, starting with the eighth-worst stadium in the league and finishing with the NFL’s biggest loser.
8. Ralph Wilson Stadium
Home team: Bills
Year built: 1973
You don’t really want to include “The Ralph” because it’s almost like you’re piling on. The team sucks, the city is in rough shape, and now we’re dissing the stadium, too? Sorry, because while the fan experience, the prices and the tailgating in Orchard Park are great, the actual venue is pretty weak. It’s small in terms of square footage, which makes it uncomfortable because they somehow jam over 73,000 people into it. And because it was built poorly, wind runs through it like a field in Saskatchewan.
7. Georgia Dome
Home team: Falcons
Year built: 1992
It’s actually sickening that less than 20 years after playing their first game in the Georgia Dome, the Falcons are looking for a new venue. The amount of money wasted on these massive, ugly blocks of concrete is disgusting. Give it extra points for recent renovations and its notably large size, but at the end of the day, the Georgia Dome simply lacks character.
6. Sun Life Stadium
Home team: Dolphins
Year built: 1987
There’s a good chance the Super Bowl never comes back to this venue, because it’s simply worn down. It also holds the negative distinction of being one of just two remaining stadiums that has a baseball field blending in with the football field. Kudos to the builders for at least giving it uniquely orange seats to separate it from the others, but when those seats are filled it looks identical to about a handful of similarly generic stadiums.
5. Edward Jones Dome
Home team: Rams
Year built: 1995
The worst part is that this stadium has no excuses. It can’t blame its era. Two venues on our “best stadiums” list were built within four years of this one, but Edward Jones Dome has a remarkably stale, neutral, antiseptic atmosphere. New scoreboards and video screens have helped resurrect its aesthetic appearance, but that doesn’t change that there’s really nothing original or unique about this stereotypical and unimaginative dome.
4. Candlestick Park
Home team: 49ers
Year built: 1960
Not gonna lie, I personally kind of like Candlestick, and I can’t explain why. It gives me this rustic, sort of homey feel, at least through my television set. But really, it sucks. It’s a terrible looking stadium, which was originally built for baseball. It’s dilapidated and cold and awkwardly shaped. Only Lambeau Field and Soldier Field are older, but those football stadiums appear to be in much better condition.
3. Oakland Alameda County Coliseum
Home team: Raiders
Year built: 1966
No love for the Bay Area — its two NFL venues are a combined 96 years old. The home of the Raiders changes names too much, and it’s also dirty and cold and dark, which sort of makes sense in Oakland. The worst part of the whole venue? The 10,000-seat upper-level addition built in 1996, which is covered with a tarp throughout the baseball season and kills the view fans used to have of Oakland hills. The new seating area — called “Mount Davis” — has further ruined what was already a pretty crappy stadium.
2. Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Home team: Vikings
Year built: 1982
As is the case with most of these stadiums, it was simply built at a bad time. Venues that opened a decade later have much longer shelf lives because they were created with more of an emphasis on luxury boxes and amenities. The Metrodome has character, but not much else. And it changes names too often. Oh, and nice roof.
1. Qualcomm Stadium
Home team: Chargers
Year built: 1967
What does it say about California’s economy that all three of the state’s NFL venues made the list? Qualcomm is as bland as they come. Am I looking at the home of the Dolphins or the home of the Chargers? What’s the difference? The Padres have already bailed, leaving the Chargers to solely occupy the 44-year-old relic. The league has told the city that the Super Bowl will never return to San Diego unless they build a new venue. With Los Angeles waiting, there’s a decent chance that never happens.