As the NFL grew in popularity over the last 50 years, there was both a public and private push to provide the sport football-only stadiums that can maximize the viewing pleasure of those in attendance.
Once upon a time NFL games were played in baseball ballparks. No longer. There have been 24 new stadiums built for NFL teams since 1992. Los Angeles is building No. 25 and Las Vegas No. 26.
With the baseball season underway, we at the Talk of Fame Network thought it would be an opportune time to revisit some of those old ballparks. And that’s the topic of our weekly poll — what was the best baseball venue for football? We offer up eight options, including some of baseball’s most iconic buildings:
Briggs Stadium/Lions. The Lions moved out of this venerable old building in 1975 and left the winning behind. The Lions played at Briggs – later renamed Tiger – Stadium for 36 seasons before moving into the suburbs (Pontiac). Detroit won three NFL titles calling this 56,000-seat ballpark home, including three in the 1950s. Since leaving Briggs Stadium, the Lions have appeared in only one NFC title game – and it was on the road.
Fenway Park/Patriots. The Patriots played six seasons at Fenway Park before moving into the suburbs (Foxboro) in 1969. The Boston Patriots never played a home playoff game at Fenway. It would be difficult succeeding in today’s NFL with a seating capacity of only 38,000.
Memorial Stadium/Colts. The Colts played in Memorial Stadium for 31 years before owner Bob Irsay packed up the moving vans and left for Indianapolis. This building was the site of some of the greatest football ever played by Hall-of-Famers Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry, Lenny Moore, Jim Parker and Gino Marchetti. The Colts won three NFL championships calling Memorial home.
The Met/Vikings. The Vikings called Metropolitan Stadium home for 30 years before moving out of the suburbs (Bloomington) and into downtown. Bud Grant became a Hall-of-Fame coach at the Met and made the Vikings post-season regulars. That gave Minnesota a distinct homefield advantage because Januarys at the Met may have been the coldest place on earth. The seating capacity was in the 40,000s, and the Vikings won three of their four NFC titles in games played there.
Municipal Stadium/Browns. The Browns won all seven of their championships at Municipal – four in the old All-America Football Conference in the 1940s and three in the NFL in the 1950s. Municipal was cavernous with a seating capacity in excess of 80,000 and staged NFL pre-season doubleheaders in the 1960s.
RFK/Washington. The Redskins played at RFK for 36 seasons before leaving for the suburbs (Landover) in 1997. A cozy place with a seating capacity of only 56,000, RFK gave the Redskins one of the best homefield advantages in the NFL. The Redskins have won three NFL titles in the last 72 years – all at RFK.
Wrigley Field/Bears. The Bears spent 50 years at Wrigley Field before moving downtown to play at Soldier Field in 1971. The Bears won six NFL titles with Wrigley as their home, the last one coming in 1963. Mike Ditka played on that team and would later coach the Bears to a Super Bowl title. Like Fenway, the seating capacity was in the 30,000s.
Yankee Stadium/Giants. The site of “The Greatest Game Ever Played” – the 1958 NFL championship game that gave the NFL both its first nationally-televised title game and the first overtime game. It is widely regarded as the game that sold America on football. The Giants played at Yankee Stadium for 19 seasons before moving across the Hudson River into New Jersey.