Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson
Denver Broncos (Invesco Field at Mile High, capacity 76,125)
This is a very nice stadium that is now its ninth season of operation. It is a big, luxurious building that offers a pleasant game-day experience.
The problem is it is almost too pleasant. The place replaced the gritty, old Mile High Stadium. The old joint was short on luxury, but it was a rocking house of horrors for opposing teams. The Broncos have lost their home edge in the new house, where the noise level never seems to hit the raucous days of old Mile High. This is a great building, but it doesn’t have the charm of the old Mile High.
Wow factor: 2 wows (out of 5)
Kansas City Chiefs (Arrowhead Stadium, capacity 79,400)
This stadium is one of the coolest in the league when the Chiefs get things going. The stadium, which is getting a facelift, is a sea of red on game day. There isn’t a bad seat in the house and they almost hover over the field.
It is one of the few charming stadiums left in the league. The facelift is necessary, but this is a very simple place that creates energy.
Wow factor: 3 wows
Oakland Raiders (The Oakland Coliseum, capacity 68,800)
The stadium itself is old and outdated. There are few frills provided by this old cookie-cutter stadium. But it works for the Raiders, although they would love to get a new stadium.
Fans don’t go to Raiders games to be lavished in the state-of-the-art amenities. They go to have a Halloween party. And this stadium is a perfect party house for a few hours.
Another issue players have to deal with in Oakland, at least for the first month or so of the season, is the infield dirt used by the Oakland A’s. The Raiders are one of three NFL teams (along with Miami and Minnesota) that still shares a venue with a baseball team. That’s an added wrinkle of dissatisfaction to this stadium.
Wow factor: 1 wow
San Diego Chargers (Qualcomm Stadium, 71,500)
Arguably the three worst stadiums in the NFL are in California. Like Oakland, there are few luxuries available at this old stadium. The Chargers are trying to find a new home.
And the Chargers need to do it quickly. Still, the atmosphere is decent when the Chargers are winning. The big, circular building can get loud when things are going well. But this stadium just doesn’t fit beautiful San Diego. The place that calls itself “America’s Finest City” has one old, stale stadium.
Wow factor: 1 wow