There are no NFL stadiums that seat less than 60,000 people in capacity. However, there are none that seat more than 90,000 people. In college football, 15 venues boast a larger capacity than Metlife Stadium, the NFL's largest stadium (home of the Jets/Giants). Why such a difference? The NFL is more popular than the NCAA, right? Not exactly.
Many more people have ties to college football programs (boosters, parents, students, alumni). Additionally, most college football stadiums have bleacher seating as opposed to the individual seating you will find in NFL stadiums. As a result, more people can cram into a row with very little room for comfort.
Bigger doesn't always mean better. I have compiled a list of the ten largest NFL stadiums from across the nation. Some boast winning teams, some boast losers. Regardless, these immaculate structures help create the ultimate fan experience for America's new favorite pastime.
10. Green Bay Packers - Lambeau Field. 73,128.
Not only is Lambeau Field the oldest NFL stadium but it is also the most historic. Hey, you can play in an old venue and not have accomplished anything. Formerly City Stadium, the NFL's smallest city transforms into a chaotic world of football fanfare on 8 Sundays per year. Not quiet as high as Mile High Stadium, Lambeau sits 640 feet above sea level. Only Fenway Park and Wrigley Field have been occupied by a professional franchise longer than Lambeau Field. If you are a Packers fan and have never been to Lambeau, well, I guess you really aren't a Packers fan.
9. Cleveland Browns - Cleveland Browns Stadium. 73,200.
Located in the heart of downtown Cleveland with plenty of dining options, the new Browns stadium was erected to resemble the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium. The stadium still boasts the infamous Dawg Pound in the south endzone; a string of bleacher sections. Obviously, not a ton of history here compared to other NFL stadiums but to Browns fans, it's home.
8. Carolina Panthers - Bank of America Stadium. 73,778.
Charlotte, North Carolina is considered the number 2 city for banking in the United States. Hence, you have Bank of America Stadium. Formerly Ericcson Stadium, the venue has been the lone home to the Panthers since their inception into the NFL in 1996. Although only 15 years old, it is the 11th oldest NFL stadium. Like many other NFL stadiums, it has been kept in excellent condition with a number of renovations and facelifts. With North Carolina's mild winters, Charlotte is an excellent place to watch professional football no matter the month of the year.
7. Miami Dolphins - Sun Life Stadium. 75,192.
Home to the Dolphins since 1987, the venue doesn't give either the Marlins or Dolphins much of a home field advantage despite it's large size. There are plenty of transplanted fans of other NFL franchises in Florida so not every one roots for the hometown Dolphins. Five Super Bowls have been played here, only because the league tries to avoid inclement weather for the annual game at all costs. The naming rights have been changed several times which is a cause for plenty of confusion among sports fans.
6. Denver Broncos - Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. 76,125.
Formerly Invesco Field at Mile High, the surrounding area makes this venue one of the most scenic NFL stadiums out there. The rolling Rocky Mountains in the distance are absolutely beautiful. Is considered to be in a prime location in the city of Denver with easy access both to and from your destination (sits along Interstate 25). The best means of transportation to the stadium would be the RTD light rail station which sits adjacent to the venue. Invesco cannot match the old Mile High in terms of history but this place is well on it's way.
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Arrowhead Stadium. 76,416.
Arrowhead Stadium has continuously been touted as the loudest NFL stadium. If you have seen the Chiefs play on television, you cannot help but to note the sea of red jerseys from top to bottom. Sits right next door to Kaufmann Stadium, home of Major League Baseball's Kansas City Royals. Both neighboring venues underwent renovations beginning in 2007 to help improve the structure and appearance. If you plan on attending a football game at Arrowhead in the future, be sure to make time for tailgating, they do it up nice in Kansas City and the smell of BBQ in the parking lots is mouth watering.
4. New Orleans Saints - The Mercedes-Benz Superdome. 76,468.
By 2013, this particular NFL stadium will have hosted 7 Super Bowls. And for good reason. The Superdome is in the heart of downtown and is in close proximity to the French Quarter, the city's cultural hub. When opposing team's fans see the Saints on their schedule, best believe a trip to NOLA is in the works. The ball club does a lot for the city in terms of tourism. The stadium was also a place of refuge for Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005 so the place isn' t lacking in character nor history.
3. Dallas Cowboys - Cowboys Stadium. 80,000.
They say everything is bigger in Texas. Although the Cowboys Stadium is listed as the third largest in the NFL, it can be occupied by more than 100,000 fans thanks to the party pass areas in the endzones. It is the Taj Mahal of NFL stadiums and while it may be considered a little over the top, that doesn't change the fact that it is a prime place for watching professional football. Speaking of over the top, would "Jerry" have it any other way? Getting tickets to a Cowboys game here is expensive and you already knew that. But that only reflects demand, everyone and their brother is a Cowboys fan. No matter where you sit in the venue, you won't miss a play with the oversized scoreboard in center field that extends between both 20 yard lines.
2. Washington Redskins - FedEx Field. 82,000.
Still a relatively new venue, this is one NFL stadium that has actually subtracted from it's capacity. Once standing at 91,000 seats, the upper ends of the upper deck were taken out to create a better fan experience. Not sure what their season ticket statistics looked like but I'm sure it led to some pissed off fans when they found out their tickets were being discontinued. Fedex Field offers plenty of parking but the location of the stadium is pretty poor. Landover is a suburb of DC and is a 25 minute drive from downtown. On top of that, the product playing on the field hasn't done too well these last few years either.
1. New York Giants & Jets - Metlife Stadium. 82,570.
The Giants and Jets were both in need of a new home and this place is state of the art. Located right next door to the old Meadowlands Stadium, you could literally see how the new stadium dwarfed the old. The stadium is extremely close to the transit systems and also has plenty of parking. The main disadvantage would be not only the cost of attending the game but the lack of identity. How could you personalize a stadium shared by two rival teams? The interior of this place is well, plain. The best feature maybe the our large jumbo screens in all four corners of the field. This place lost a lot of color when Fireman Ed retired from the stands.
There are 21 other NFL stadiums to visit throughout the United States. Just because you are the biggest, doesn't mean you are the best. Take my word for it.