When we started watching the Hall of Fame game, it dawned on me that my son and I would go on our Epic Field Trip. We had grand plans about everything we would do when we traveled the United States to see all 30 NFL stadiums in one season.
We left my wife and daughter on August 9th. We drove 1160 miles in two days to Augusta, Maine. We were full of energy and excited to see Acadia, our first of what we expected to be many National Parks. We then even decided to drive three additional hours so we could run between New Hampshire and Vermont. All before seeing our first NFL game in Foxborough on August 12th.
Gillette Stadium (New England Patriots) set expectations high as we continued through the East Coast preseason. We made our way to M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore Ravens), Lincoln Field (Philadelphia Eagles), FedEx Field (Washington Football Team), Heinz Field (Pittsburgh Steelers), FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland Browns), MetLife Stadium (New York Jets), Highmark Stadium (Buffalo Bills), and Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati Bengals) by August 29th.
We took a break back at our new home in St. Louis to regroup with our growing family. We added a puppy on September 1st. We had a big West Coast road trip planned but realizing we were spending too much time away, we decided to add some flights to our travel plans.
We flew into Los Angeles to see the Rams’ first home game with fans in SoFi Stadium. Then, we were in Las Vegas enjoying a crazy finish at Allegiant Stadium’s first home game the next day.
For week 2, we came back home and kept it local with a day trip to Indianapolis to see the Rams beat the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Then we headed up to Green Bay to see the Packers’ home opener in Lambeau. Our first taste of hard rain.
Week 3, we drove up to Minneapolis for the Vikings’ home opener to hear skol chats fill U.S. Bank Stadium as the Vikings outlasted the Seahawks.
Finally, in week 4, we went back to our previous home state of Colorado. Even though we have been to Mile High before, we felt the need to include it to say we went to every stadium in one season. A ticket I was thankfully able to get at half off before the season started. Unfortunately, the undefeated Broncos got beaten by Lamar and the Ravens.
The Best So Far?
If we are talking about pure stadium awesomeness, SoFi takes the cake.
When a stadium costs 5 to 6 BILLION dollars and is less than two years old, it gets a significant head start on the competition. Thankfully, this stadium is no Hindenburg. The only real negative of the stadium is the surrounding landscape. It is only a few miles from the Los Angeles Airport but in the wrong direction. There is still construction around it, and it is in the middle of a concrete desert. However, once you see the pond in front of the stadium, you are transported into the not-so-distant future. It will be exciting to see how the community around the stadium develops.
There are trees, and open spaces abound. You never feel like you are entering the stadium, just that you are visiting a lovely park that you could freely leave if you wanted. It is a unique indoor/outdoor feeling. There is most definitely a roof, but it does not feel like there is one. Then there is the 80 million pixels oval jumbotron in the middle of the stadium that makes you feel like you’re in a spaceship. Our seats were in the upper level, and it provided an exceptional viewing experience. You could easily see the entire field and then lift your eyes to see the replays. Sure my Bears got stomped by a Super Bowl contender, but it was an experience I won’t forget.
The Worst So Far?
We spent almost a week in the Washington, D.C., area. The National Mall had many unique things to see, and we enjoyed the city. FedEx Field, however, is an embarrassment in our nation’s capital.
I can say that it did not surprise me to hear the news that part of FedEx Field was falling apart. When we walked around the outside of the park, we saw it rusting and looking to be in horrible condition for a stadium only 25 years old.
There were not any unique aspects or open spaces. The fan experience was terrible for the first game back in over a year. It was dark, and it felt like no one was excited to be there.
The team has no identity, and neither does the stadium. Their owner, Dan Snyder, has said he is looking for a new stadium for 2027. I’m excited to watch whether or not FedEx Field will collapse by then.
Only 15 More To Go
We plan to be done by Week 15. Hopefully, we don’t have to use any of the remaining weeks, but they’re there if something happens.