January 11, 2012
NFL stadiums can be hostile in two different ways; against the opposing team's fans and against the opposing team via volume. They often go hand in hand in this league. I have compiled a list of five NFL Stadiums that will make you wish you left your visiting team's jersey at home.
5. Arrowhead Stadium - Kansas City Chiefs
It's no secret that Arrowhead's parking lots are home to the best tailgates league-wide. That should tell you something. The fans are A) passionate/excited and B) drunk. Arrowhead's 80,000+ sea of red seats are occupied by 80,000+ red jerseys ready to literally pounce on Broncos and Raiders fans. Win or lose, this place is electric and deafening 8 days per year.
4. Gillette Stadium - New England Patriots
Bills and Jets fans- you have been warned. Boston sports fans are almost as brutal as Philadelphia sports fans. Actually, you could root for the Cleveland Browns and you're still going to get an ear full at Gillette Stadium. At a glance, you will notice the stadium is shaped similar to another hostile NFL stadium; CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Is it the dimensions of the stadium that makes the noise level so deafening? Maybe. I'm not a scientist. But this venue is as loud as any other NFL Stadium out there. A major US city with a dominant ball club is never a good thing for visiting team's or their fans because you can guarantee there will not be an empty seat on game day.
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 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 team in the NFL?
Heinz Field is a spectacle on the Allegheny River and is rabid when it comes to crowd volume. 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, this NFL stadium is guaranteed to be full for every game.
2. Lambeau Field - Green Bay Packers
No other NFL stadium can even come close to Lambeau in terms of history or fanfare. You have a greater chance of dating a Kardashian than becoming a Packers season ticket holder. In fact, season tickets are often handed down from generation to generation and never even hit the market. Thank goodness for the secondary market websites like StubHub, EBay and Craigslist.
Packers games are not just football games but all-day events. Every Packers fan should put visiting this NFL stadium on their bucket list. The fact that the majority of the seating are bleachers is irrelevant because fans are on their feet for the entire game.
1. Lincoln Financial Field - Philadelphia Eagles
A friend of mine who is an avid Eagles fan insists that this NFL stadium has a "prison" for drunk or violent fans on game day. Need I say more? While I have no proof that such a place exists, GQ Magazine recently voted Philadelphia sports fans as the worst in the United States. The article states that Philadelphia fans once booed Santa Claus and cheered when Michael Irvin suffered his career ending neck injury. Ouch. That's pretty harsh. In fact, if you watch the movie 'Invincible', you will be able to see an accurate portrayal of Philadelphia Eagles fans.
Their passion, however, is the reason their baseball Phillies have been able to succeed over the years. Good luck getting tickets to the Citizens Bank ballpark. Only should thick-skinned fans of any team venture into this nightmare of a stadium.
There are a few other NFL stadiums that deserve an honorable mention. The 'Black Hole' in Oakland's Alameda 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 Jets and Giants and aren't overly welcoming to visitors by any means. They say 'Century Link Field', home of the Seahawks is the loudest 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.