Check out The Athletic’s 2023 anonymous NFL player poll with honest opinions of the best and worst stadiums to play in, the turf versus grass debate, officiating and more.
NFL stadiums have long been a hot topic among fans, but how do players in the league rank the venues when anonymously polled? The Athletic’s beat writers surveyed 85 players over the past month to get their takes on that topic and others.
Arrowhead Stadium — home of the Kansas City Chiefs — had the highest percentage of players (17.9 percent) vote it as the best NFL stadium among the 84 players who responded to the question. The Minnesota Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium (13.7 percent), the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers’ SoFi Stadium (8.9 percent), the Green Bay Packers’ Lambeau Field and the Seattle Seahawks’ Lumen Field (both 8.3 percent) followed in the rankings for best stadium.
“That place is electric,” one player said about Arrowhead. “That’s one of the coolest places to play. In my opinion, the loudest in the NFL.”
The venue has hosted five straight AFC Championship Games and is the NFL’s third-oldest stadium, opening in 1972.
U.S. Bank Stadium — a seven-year-old venue — was also lauded by players despite being an indoor stadium with turf.
“That place was f—ing loud,” a player said.
One player commented on Lambeau Field: “The fans and the atmosphere are the best in the league.”
A player who chose Seattle’s Lumen Field said, “If it was grass — whoo! — it would be perfect,” while another added: “It almost feels like you’re in a bird’s nest. Gotham City.”
Players also sounded off on the league’s worst venues to play in, with the New York Jets and Giants’ MetLife Stadium outranking the others (18.4 percent) in that category. The Washington Commanders’ FedEx Field (13.9 percent) and Buffalo Bills’ Highmark Stadium (12.7 percent) were the other top vote-getters for the worst stadium to play in.
Regarding MetLife Stadium, a player said that the “turf sucks and the whole place is lame.” Another agreed about the turf, adding that the “fans are horrible. Everything about that place is horrible.”
Discussing FedEx Field, which didn’t have sufficient water pressure for players to take showers Sunday, one player said: “Almost everything about (FedEx) is below the standard of what an NFL stadium should be.”
“The place is just a dump,” said another.
Although Lambeau Field was among the top five for the best stadium, it also was in the top five for the worst stadium (7.6 percent): “F—ing Green Bay, because it’s super cold!”
Additionally, the Oakland Coliseum — which hasn’t been used since the Raiders moved to Las Vegas in 2020 — still managed to pick up a couple of votes (2.5 percent).
Each player polled was asked the same set of questions, although not every player answered them all. They were granted anonymity to candidly offer their opinions on some of the league’s biggest topics.
(Photo: Kara Durrette / Getty Images)