NFL stadiums can be hostile in two different ways; hostile against the opposing team's fans and hostile against the opposing team via crowd volume. The two often go hand in hand. We have compiled a list of five NFL Stadiums that will make you wish you were back in your home stadium.
5. Arrowhead Stadium - Kansas City Chiefs
It's no secret that Arrowhead Stadium's parking lots are home to arguably the best tailgates in all of the NFL. The smell of BBQ and beer decorates the air. Serious tailgating, though, often means heavy alcohol consumption by the home crowd. Arrowhead Stadium's 80,000+ sea of red seats are occupied by 80,000+ red jerseys ready to literally pounce on Denver Broncos or Oakland Raiders fans. Win or lose, this place is electric and deafening 8 days each season. In regards to rabidness, Arrowhead Stadium couldn't be more different than the tame Kauffman Stadium next door, home of the Kansas City Royals.
4. Gillette Stadium - New England Patriots
Buffalo Bills and New York Jets fans; you have been warned. Actually, you could root for the Cleveland Browns and you're still going to get an ear full at Gillette Stadium. Boston sports fans are almost as brutal as Philadelphia sports fans. At a glance, you will notice the stadium is shaped similar to another notoriously hostile NFL stadium; CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Is it the dimensions of the stadium that makes the noise level so deafening? Maybe. I'm no engineer or scientist. But this venue is as loud as any other venue in the NFL. A major US city like Boston with a dominant ball club is never a good thing for visiting team's or their fans. You can guarantee there will not be an empty seat on game day. The stereotype that New England Patriots fans are bandwagon fans doesn't make them any less intimidating.
3. Heinz Field - Pittsburgh Steelers
No professional franchise represents a city's identity the way the Steelers do Pittsburgh. Hard-nosed, blue collar, loyal. You always hear the phrase that Pittsburgh Steelers fans travel well. I don't think that is true, I just think the Steelers have fans all across the United States. And what would you expect when you have more Super Bowl titles than any other organization in the NFL?
Heinz Field is a spectacle on the Allegheny River and is rabid when it comes to crowd volume. It's an extremely tough place to play for special teams units down on the field due to the proximity to the water. I have never heard of Steelers fans as being extremely hostile towards other fans but there are always the exceptions. Obtaining Steelers tickets is always a chore since Heinz Field is one of the smallest NFL stadiums and is guaranteed to be full for every game. Season ticket holder hopefuls are placed on wait-lists annually.
2. Lambeau Field - Green Bay Packers
No other NFL stadium can even come close to Lambeau Field in terms of history or fanfare. Well, maybe Soldier Field if you consider all that it's been through in regards to reconstruction. But you'll never hear a Green Bay fan say that. You almost have a greater chance of dating a Kardashian than becoming a Green Bay Packers season ticket holder. In fact, Packers season tickets are often handed down from generation to generation and never even hit the ticket market. Thank goodness for the secondary market websites like Stubhub, EBay and Craigslist.
Green Bay Packers games are not just football games but all-day events. Every Packers fan should put visiting this shrine on their bucket list, especially if you like beer, brats and cheese curds. The fact that the majority of the seating are bleachers is indeed old school but also insignificant because fans are on their feet for the entire game.
1. Lincoln Financial Field - Philadelphia Eagles
A friend of mine who is an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan insists that Lincoln Financial Field actually has a "game day prison" for drunk or violent fans inside the stadium. Need I say more? While I have no proof that such a place exists, GQ Magazine recently voted Philadelphia sports fans as the worst fan base in the United States. The article states that Philadelphia fans once booed Santa Claus and cheered when Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys suffered his career ending neck injury. Ouch. That's pretty harsh. In fact, if you watch the movie 'Invincible' starring Mark Wahlberg, you will be able to see an accurate portrayal of Philadelphia Eagles fans.
Their passion, however, is a small reason the Philadelphia Phillies have been able to succeed over the years. Only should thick-skinned fans of any team venture into this nightmare of a stadium.
There are a few other NFL stadiums that deserve at least an honorable mention. The 'Black Hole' in Oakland's O.co Coliseum is no cake walk. The venue as a whole has been rather tame since 2002. Metlife Stadium in New York also houses some rowdy fans who cheer loud for their New York Jets and New York Giants and aren't overly welcoming to visitors by any means. They say CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks is the loudest stadium but that may simple be because of the way the stadium is designed. No matter where you are in the United States or who your team is, attending an NFL game is a great way to spend your Sunday. Or Monday Night. Or sometimes Thursday Night.
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