Yesterday, National Football Post ranked the 31 NFL stadiums (remember the Giants and the Jets play at the same venue, folks… come on, get it together). They were selected taking five factors into account. Those would be architecture, history, weather, fans, and location. Here's their top 5:
- Lambeau Field (Green Bay Packers)
- Cowboys Stadium (Dallas Cowboys)
- Qwest Field (Seattle Seahawks)
- Heinz Field (Pittshburgh Steelers)
- Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia Eagles)
And here is what they said about the Linc:
This place doesn’t feature the same hostility or 700 level chaos that could be found at Veterans Stadium back in the days of Buddy Ryan and Randall Cunningham, but trust me, that doesn’t mean Lincoln Financial Field is a friendly environment for visiting teams.
I’ve sat in the last row at the Linc and get tell you first hand that this place doesn’t have a bad seat in the house. In addition, fans are treated (I use that term loosely) to scenic views of the Philly skyline out of the west end zone.
The true beauty of Lincoln Financial Field comes before kickoff, as this venue is part of a Philadelphia sports complex that is also home to Citizens Bank Park (Phillies) and the Wells Fargo Center (Flyers, Sixers). With all of the parking available, fans have the luxury of tailgating with their 69,000 closest friends prior to game time.
Bonus: Matt Bowen was heckled by an old lady at the Linc while on crutches when he played there with the Rams back in his glory days.
Just a quick thought before I delve more into this… I would love to find that old lady and give her a big hug, maybe buy her breakfast at a mediocre diner. That probably helped us with the "fans" part of this whole thing.
You can't argue with the architectural aspect of the Linc. As NFP mentions, it's a beautiful stadium in the middle of the Philadelphia sports complex in South Philly. The stadium is still relatively new as it's less than a decade old. And apparently, architecture was really taken into consideration here if the Dallas Cowboys have the second-best stadium in the league. I wonder if they voted pre-Super Bowl week?
From a historical standpoint, it's definitely in the process of building that part of the resume, but still a far cry from top-ranked Lambeau Field. The Linc did host the first Tuesday Night Football game in 64 years. That really didn't go so well, but hey…. history, right? The Eagles also defeated the Falcons in the 2004 season to advance to their first Super Bowl in a quarter-century. So… they're working on it. Just give it time.
In terms of weather, Pennsylvania is a typical Northeastern state that sees a little bit of everything. You can argue that it brings out a little bit of the crazy in us. Just visit a WIP tent before any home game.
I wonder, though, if the Linc dropped in the rankings because of the Eagles-Vikings cancellation in December. If Andrea Kramer was in on the voting, I bet it did. And here's why… poor girl:
Fans and location don't even merit real discussion. At the risk of sounding like a complete homer, which I am, Philadelphia is one of the best sports cities in the world and the fan base is probably the most unique and passionate that you'll find anywhere.
So, there you have it. Fifth. Right about where the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers ranks. I guess that would be consistent with how Joe Banner perceives the Steelers and the Eagles… neck and neck. He was interviewed by WIP's Howard Eskin and Ike Reese on Wednesday. Get ready to vomit.
Via Tim McManus of Philly Sports Daily:
“I think that making the playoffs nine out of 11 years and appearing in a championship game is a successful run, which is different from saying we’ve achieved all of our goals,” said Banner in an interview on WIP. “And I think the Steelers have obviously had a big period of success — it includes, by the way, less playoff appearances and less championship game appearances, and more Super Bowl appearances.
“And I understand we would trade, as I know the fans would, some of the playoff appearances for some of the Super Bowl appearances. But I think an objective person looking at the two franchises would [say] that both franchises have had an extended period of success.”
This is where we're all supposed to laugh and say, "hey, funny joke". But he's serious, and he actually believes the words that come out of his mouth. It must be nice to sit down for two months and ponder how exactly you're going to spin some of the team's biggest disappointments into something positive.
No Eagles fan will tell you that the team has been a complete failure over the past decade, but they will tell you that the Eagles inability to win the big game has been absolutely, unequivically frustrating.
So, when discussing the team's successes and failures, it wouldn't be conducive to put your team in the same sentence with the Steelers, who have won six Super Bowls. I understand that number is only slightly higher than the Eagles number… which is zero, by the way. (Don't look too deep for the sarcasm there) But when you know what your fan base wants, when you know what they are dying for, Banner's comments are no less insulting that a blindsided slap in the face.
And for the record, these fans wouldn't trade for "some of the playoff appearances for some of the Super Bowl appearances"…
…they would trade for all of them.
These appearances, these interviews are supposed to help the team connect with the fans and guide them to understand the direction and the motives of the team. Yet all that fans see at the end of the day are new, creative ways fostered by the team brass to irritate the fan base and push them away.
And you wonder why 3.3 million people (and counting) are going across the street. Don't think too hard. Instead, you can spend that extra time painting the town red for the next six months.
H/T Jerry Margiotti