It doesn't portray the storied past of a Soldier Field or Candlestick Park.
It doesn't boast Dallas' hi-tech amenities or flamboyance, contrary to what you'd expect from the Big Apple. All MetLife Stadium has to offer is the "Where's Waldo?" effect of Fireman Ed, frozen-blue Victor Cruz aficionados, and turning of the New York tides as the Giants most recently upended the Jets on Christmas Eve.
Admittedly, this is the only current NFL stadium I've been to - I also visited the old Giants Stadium back when the Jets and Packers were each vying for playoff positioning late in 2002, and I witnessed the ant-like shoulder injury of Donald Driver with a cheesy frown on my face.
There are always cases where "less is more" (or at least enough), and when it comes to football home games, the Meadowlands is suprisingly and pleasantly one of them. It's the cold gridiron environment which both encapsulates and postpones the upstate media that makes it a fine destination for Super Bowl XLVIII and the sport's sincerest followers.
Of course, as a New Yorker imprisoned in New Jersey, I am biased in my partiality, but I can simultaneously dream about the wonders of the other 30 stadiums.
The criteria should comprise more than just aesthetics. It's about the intangible atmosphere - the influence a residence and its fans has on the team's success and vice versa. It's about the architectural history combined with present-day stability that enforces the league's varying reputations. Real estate is surely more than fancy powder-blue blazers.
In an era where most of what is obsolete is being imploded up until this moment, here is a poor locked-out fan's guide to ranking the NFL stadiums:
30. Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (Minnesota Vikings)
After further deliberation, the devotion of Ragnar and Minnesotans isn't as overrated as once...okay, the Vikings will have a new home somewhere
by 2016, so I don't need to pretend there's any value in their faulty fiberglass fabric roof.
29. Edward Jones Dome (St. Louis Rams)
Oh, my apologies for the typo - "Wembley Stadium".
The Missouri convention center is equally (if that) a lure for the NCAA, and there is considerable aspiration on the Rams part to escape the lease. At least they had two NFC Championships.
28. EverBank Field (Jacksonville Jaguars)
The best feature is the tarp they use to cover the empty blacked out seats, as few seem to care about the second-smallest market while the Jaguars threaten to leave.
The 78,125 in attendance for Super Bowl XXXIX (New England over Philadelphia) exceeded any recorded regular season contest so far, even if they would open all of the empty seats.
27. Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego Chargers)
Why can't a California fire burn down a voided, outmodeled, ineffective Qualcomm Stadium and release the Super Chargers from their monetary debts to the city?
26. Sun Life Stadium (Miami Dolphins)
Several attempts were made (renaming, tossing the Marlins overboard, etc.) to validate Sun Life as an enticing football site, but the truth remains that since its inception in 1987, the Dolphins are 5-3 in playoff home games with zero
rings. Leave the Floridian draw for the Orange Bowl.
25. Georgia Dome (Atlanta Falcons)
There have been issues with the outdated top of the dome
, tornado insurance, an overall feeling of cleanliness...the Falcons cannot soar without a retractable roof.
24. Cleveland Browns Stadium (Cleveland Browns)
The Browns lost their first game in this self-righteous venue to Pittsburgh 43-0, it's the lone NFL stadium to never host postseason action, and there's no public parking!
There are actually a few redeeming qualities: the Dawg Pound, heated Kentucky bluegrass, relation to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Drew Carey...no public parking!
23. Ford Field (Detroit Lions)
As a franchise, the Lions also haven't participated in a January home game, although Ford Field granted aboriginal Jerome Bettis with his Lomardi Trophy. Nonetheless, as we already know, the city of Detroit and its skylight for FieldTurf are giving up.
22. LP Field (Tennessee Titans)
So, to be honest, when trying to recall all the names of the stadiums, this was one of the two that temporarily slipped my mind, which is fitting since LP Field was nameless well into construction.
Despite the Music City Miracle and selling out from 1999 on, the statistics and Tifsport Bermuda Sod don't rank as memorably for the common fan outside of Nashville.
21. Bank of America Stadium (Carolina Panthers)
This was the other one I failed to remember. I opened an account with Bank of America in May and I'm generally content, but the NFL venue that sparked the outbreak of Personal Seat Licenses and modernization of various other stadiums has proven to be too ahead of its time.
20. Raymond James Stadium (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Whether or not the NFL can thrive in Florida, one thing is for certain: the Bucs possess a 103-foot pirate ship with confetti cannons. We've entered the red zone.
19. Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati Bengals)
How is it that the home of the mighty Bungles, who (unlike their inferior Ohio counterparts) could not maintain their grass in spite of five miles of pipes, is the sole football stadium to ever land on "America's favorite 150 buildings and structures"? Welcome to the jungle...
18. University of Phoenix Stadium (Arizona Cardinals)
Converse to ignorant belief and false advertising, this isn't a college campus. Features include the first fully retractable grass, opening walls that serve as an extension into daylight, and exceedingly necessary air-conditioning. Still, it's better known as the site for the Fiesta Bowl.
17. Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia Eagles)
Between swaying on pedestrian bridges and uprisings over bans on tailgating and cheesesteaks, you just have to adore Philly fans.
16. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland Raiders)
Also regarded as the O.co Coliseum/the Oakland Coliseum/the Coliseum, the Black Hole is enduring an identity crisis. The awkward low-seated illusionary football-baseball conversions are offset by the Silver and Black Pride and its supporting role in Angels in the Outfield
15. FedEx Field (Washington Redskins)
The third-largest seating capacity in the league has been sold out by a non-premium bay of pigs since its1997 inauguration, but it's only garnered one postseason. It should be renamed "Daniel Snyder Field".
14. Candlestick Park (San Francisco 49ers)
Built in 1960 for the baseball Giants, the Niners eventually managed to steal it away and pillage the gold, but that came with strong Bay winds, power outages, and cross-town preseason rivalry shootings. The host of the Beatles' final performance together sure is beautifully notorious, though.
13. Ralph Wilson Stadium (Buffalo Bills)
This tenured (and updated) AstroTurf is highly underrated as a source of cold and windy winter football. If any of their four Super Bowl losses were played out in Ralph Wilson Stadium, we wouldn't be talking about a lowly No. 13 ranking, or Toronto.
12. Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis Colts)
The downtown site of Super Bowl XLVI and the Combine is a less-expensive version of Cowboys Stadium with little flash and the NFL's greatest retractable roof, window walls, and kinetic architecture for quicker conversions...yeah, there's a little flash.
11. Cowboys Stadium (Dallas Cowboys)
Shrek - "Do you think he's maybe compensating for something?"
10. Reliant Stadium (Houston Texans)
It may still be perceived as the new house on the block, but the first regular-season contest in Reliant Stadium was a Texans 19-10 victory over Dallas. The league's foremost retractable roof is teamed with natural grass, it survived Hurricane Ike, playoff mainstay status appears to be on the horizon, and the venue additionally sports the rodeo!
9. Gillette Stadium (New England Patriots)
It definitely isn't the same snow-filled Foxboro with icy benches, but from the Tuck Rule to SpyGate, a 70-13 record (9-2 in the postseason) and the second-biggest video monitor speak for themselves.
8. Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Denver Broncos)
An Incomplete pass' sad trombone. The booing of absent fans in a sellout crowd since 2001 (preserving a streak that stems from the parent Mile High of 1970).
If only the stadium was either at least 15 years older, or never let Tim Tebow descend back down to sea level.
7. Heinz Field (Pittsburgh Steelers)
With attendance numbers similar to those of Denver, this 12,000-ton steel curtain of Terrible Towels has most notably been able to admirably sustain its natural grass and the presence of Three Rivers Stadium, amidst the countless concussion controversies and the 2007 3-0 mudfest against Miami.
6. CenturyLink Field (Seattle Seahawks)
The field formerly known as Qwest has established a legacy based upon the birth of the false-start inducing 12th Man, and significant playoff triumphs over Tony Romo and Drew Brees. Is that a Marshawn Lynch earthquake lurking in the distance, or rain on the artificial parade?
5. M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore Ravens)
Neighbors with the Orioles of Camden Yards in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, Ravens fans beat you with their stadium's undeniable beauty and energy.
4. Soldier Field (Chicago Bears)
From the depths of the Fog Bowl and through the Monsters of the Midway's 1985 Championship campaign, the tiniest field in the NFL has outlived its age and the [successful] pleas to remove its landmark label. Soldier Field is even more than a breathing memorial in the archives of this league.
3. Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City Chiefs)
When the Chiefs are good, the home of the CHIEFS is GOOD! 1972's Arrowhead has been a pioneer for all of the complex renovations we crave today, and it's still held firm in Missouri, no less.
2. Mercedes-Benz Superdome (New Orleans Saints)
Aside from Mardi Grass acting as popular Super Bowl hosts, the Saints hardly had anything to march about before or during Hurrican Katrina. Not only did the worl'd largest fixed dome survive the physical damage, but it healed a community back to brilliant health as the country's strongest home field advantage arguably ever observed, and it would take an invaluable stadium in itself to top it...
1. Lambeau Field (Green Bay Packers)
Located on Lombardi Avenue, the Frozen Tundra is the posterchild for NFL venues. The Packers have suffered postseason mortality as of late (a 2-4 home record after the franchise's 11-0 start), but the Lambeau Leap will never lose luster and the Cheeseheads shall barely rot.
All experiences and opinions are welcome, either via comment below or by inviting me to the 2012 regular season game nearest you.