The 5 Oldest Stadiums in the NFL
Eight teams originally formed the NFL in 1920. Now, the league is close to celebrating its centennial year. Some teams continue to use their veteran stadiums. Oakland County Coliseum, built in 1966, will serve as the Raiders’ home for one more year before they move to Las Vegas. So, we chose to leave it off our list of the five oldest NFL stadiums still in use. Here are the other oldies, but goodies.
5. Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 1975
Home to the New Orleans Saints since August 3, 1975, the Superdome has hosted seven Super Bowls and will do it again in 2024. New Orleans businessman, David Dixon, first brainstormed this stadium in hopes of attracting a team to Louisiana. And it worked.
Originally called the Louisiana Superdome, the facility stands 27 stories high and covers 13 acres. Throughout the years, the 76,468-seat Superdome has seen some renovations — upgraded restaurants and more seats and concession stands — per an agreement to keep the Saints there through 2025. In 2011, Mercedes-Benz purchased the naming rights.
The Superdome served another meaningful purpose in 2005. It sheltered 30,000 local residents after Hurricane Katrina, even though it sustained $185.4 million in damage, which temporarily displaced the Saints.
4. New Era Field, 1973
The Buffalo Bills date back to 1960 when Ralph Wilson was awarded an AFL expansion team. The team played in Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium, which accommodated 47,000 fans. But in 1970, when the Bills joined the NFL, they needed a larger stadium.
Not receiving support for a new dome stadium in Buffalo, Wilson garnered interest in nearby Orchard Park and completed the new stadium in 1973. Originally called Rich Stadium, the team eventually renamed it the Ralph Wilson Stadium.
In 2012, New York State, Erie County, and the team agreed on a 10-year renewal lease of the 71,870-seat stadium. This lasts until 2023. Stadium improvements included updated bathrooms and concessions, a new team store, and a new 5,400-square-foot HD video scoreboard, all completed by 2014.
In 2016, New Era Cap Company purchased naming rights to the stadium. With the lease expiration coming within a few years, current Bills’ owner, Pegula Sports & Entertainment, has hired a consulting firm to help find a new location and stadium design.
3. Arrowhead Stadium, 1972
Home to the Kansas City Chiefs, Arrowhead Stadium was designed and built solely with football in mind. Originally developed with an Astroturf field, grass replaced the artificial surface in 1994. Other improvements came with a large renovation in 2010. A Founders Plaza was designed in honor of former owner, Lamar Hunt. The club level was refurbished as well as the restaurants and concession stands.
Premium seats were added along with luxury suites, and a new press box, lowering the overall seating capacity to 76,416. Arrowhead Stadium is considered to have the best tailgating parties in the NFL and is also one of the loudest stadiums in the league. Bring your earplugs.
2. Lambeau Field, 1957
Some consider it too old, but Lambeau Stadium is the fourth largest NFL stadium and beloved by its Green Bay Packers fans. Originally opened in 1957 as City Stadium, the arena’s size was increased to hold 38,000 fans in 1961. Following the death of Packers Founder E. L. Lambeau, the stadium became “Lambeau Field.” The field now seats 80,735 after expansions.
Between 2001 and 2003, the team spent $130 million on the largest renovations. This includes additional club seating and luxury suites, the Titletown atrium, a Packers Hall of Fame, and team store. Green Bay got a new locker room and administrative offices. Two HD video scoreboards were also added.
1. Soldier Field, 1924
Like the NFL itself, Soldier Field is closing in on its 100th year in use. It became home to the Chicago Bears in 1971. Soldier Field was mostly rebuilt at the turn of the 21st Century. So, is it truly the oldest stadium? Yes. It’s in the exact location of the original and retains the original historic Greek columns.
In 2015, a new, three-times-larger video scoreboard was added. Soldier Field also erected a 250-foot granite-wall sculpture that memorializes the men and women who have served in the armed forces. The stadium isn’t known for being large. In fact, Soldier Field now seats 61,500 fans, the third smallest NFL stadium.