Within the NFL, there is undoubtedly a shakeup taking place among stadiums, as plans for new or renovated facilities are in the works around the league.
The last few weeks alone have seen several teams—including the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens—announce renovations to their stadiums. Meanwhile, construction continues at Mercedes-Benz Stadium—the new home of the Atlanta Falcons—which is set to replace the Georgia Dome.
The Georgia Dome is set to be demolished later this year, marking the end of the road for a stadium that only opened in 1992. There are some situations around the NFL, however, where facilities that opened in the early 20th century still have many good years ahead.
That is in part reflected in the league’s five oldest stadiums, which—with some exceptions—reveal some stability. Note that the criteria being used reflects when the facility opened, not when it hosted its first NFL action:
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Year opened: 1923 Current NFL team: Los Angeles Rams
The Coliseum has a long and interesting history, one that has included hosting USC football, the Rams (for two separate stints), Los Angeles Raiders, MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Summer Olympic games of 1932 and 1984. In 2016, the Rams returned to the facility that they had previously called home from 1946-1979, but their current stay will not last anywhere near as long.
Plans for a new stadium in Inglewood that will host the Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers are well underway, and both teams could be occupying the facility by 2019. However, the Coliseum will continue to host the Trojans, who plan to renovate the facility in the coming years. That will undoubtedly extend the life of the Coliseum as it approaches its 100th birthday, and the venue could once again play a role in the Olympics if Los Angeles lands the 2024 games.
Year opened: 1924 Current NFL team: Chicago Bears
There is a notable disclaimer in this case: Soldier Field received a massive overhaul between the 2002 and 2003 seasons, a project large enough to force the Bears to spend one season at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium. Ultimately, the renovation changed many of the facility’s characteristics, but its official debut is still widely cited as 1924.
The renovations ensure that Soldier Field maintains the characteristics of a modern NFL stadium, so the Bears should continue to call the facility home. Soldier Field is also still a major contributor in drawing non-football events to Chicago, something that is evidenced by the fact that it will host this summer’s MLS All-Star Game.
Year opened: 1957 Current NFL team: Green Bay Packers
One of the NFL’s classic venues, Lambeau Field has a very viable future as an NFL facility. The Packers have made numerous upgrades to the stadium over the 21st century, including a renovation to the Lambeau Field atrium that was completed in 2015. Work outside the stadium as well, as construction is taking place on the $130 million Titletown development that will serve the facility.
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
Year opened: 1966 Current NFL team: Oakland Raiders
Of the stadiums on this list, the Coliseum is probably the closest to the end of its run. It is the only stadium left to serve as a full-time home to both NFL and MLB franchises, and each team is looking for a new facility. While the Raiders are still sorting out their proposal to move to Las Vegas, the A’s are actively searching for a new ballpark in Oakland.
Neither departure is a done deal, but the possibility exists that both of the Coliseum’s primary tenants could leave within the next several years. If that happens, its days as a major sports facility will be all but assured to come to an end.
Year opened: 1972 Current NFL team: Kansas City Chiefs
Much like Soldier Field and Lambeau Field, Arrowhead Stadium has benefited from continual improvement over the years. The facility received a $375 million in renovations that were completed prior to the 2010 season, and that has helped ensure that the Chiefs will call the venerable facility home for the foreseeable future.
This list shows that upgrades over the years have helped maintain NFL stadiums for decades, with the Los Angeles Coliseum primed for a future that extends beyond the NFL. New stadiums could continue to shakeup the order of NFL’s facilities but, with at least three of the league’s oldest stadiums expected to host football for the foreseeable future, the makeup of the NFL’s veteran venues is fairly stable.
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