Articles

Why Metlife is the Worst Modern Football Stadium

Fans deserve better.

Giants and Jets fans are some of the most passionate in football. In 2010, both fan bases received a new home to watch their teams. Several years into the stadium’s existence, fans realized that the stadium does not hold up to other recently built stadiums. Seeing the Rams, Falcons, Raiders, and Vikings’ beautiful new stadiums, Giants and Jets fans are left wondering how a modern stadium in the New York area could have been so poorly built.

It’s Extremely Dangerous

Giants fans who have had to walk down from the upper levels at the end of a long game can all agree on this. Exiting the stadium takes a long time. The ramps are all thin isles that decline in a zigzag formation. The ramps are thin so that they can remain on the interior of the Meadowlands, and not protrude to the exterior of the stadium. This preserves a seamless exterior look free of anything aside from the metal panels. Along with being a major inconvenience for the fans, this design flaw may result in serious legal issues if there were ever an emergency event at the stadium. The time it takes to get from top to bottom is simply too long.

At the old Giants Stadium, there were 8 massive circular exit ramps from the stadium. Despite the ugly look, exiting the stadium was much easier. An emergency event at Giants Stadium could have been handled much easier. (Also, let’s not forget the melting ice from the Metlife rafters.

The Field Conditions are Bad

The Giants have racked up some serious injuries in the past several years. In fact, they have had more injuries to their starters in the past decade than any other team. A huge contributing factor is the Metlife turf. Many players have complained about the field conditions. So not only is Metlife Stadium a lousy experience for the fans, it is literally impairing the success of the teams that play there. Fortunately, this is probably the most fixable issue. Ownership needs to front a serious investigation into the quality of the field.

The Views Are Terrible

Metlife Stadium extends into the heavens. Fans in the top row can easily signal score updates to planes landing at Newark. Realistically, the upper level is too far from the field…I’m sure Mara has never sat there. The main priority for the new stadium was the luxury seating and box suites. There are two reasons why. The first and most obvious reason why box suites are prioritized is the revenue difference. Corporations are willing to spend millions on suites. Regular fans…we don’t matter as much.

The lesser-known reason is that much of the general seating revenue is socialized with the entire NFL. Luxury suites, however, are not. Revenue from box suites can be kept entirely by the home team. Therefore, new stadiums seem to be in an arms race to pack in as many luxury suites as possible. More box seating elevates the middle and upper-level general seats. Perhaps Giants and Jets fans wouldn’t mind this, but if you sat in the upper level of Giants Stadium, the views were much better than Metlife. Do not get me wrong, nose-bleed seating does not take that much away from the experience, but it is hard to want to go to the game in the days of HD TV right in your living rooms.

The Stadium is Hideous

Fans have compared Metlife Stadium to an AC unit. How could the stadium look so ugly? After all, the stadium is in a metro area known for its beautiful mix of classical and modern architecture. How was it so hard to get a state-of-the-art stadium in a world-class city like New York?

According to The Architects Newspaper, the designers for the stadium took demands from both ownerships to create a mutual design. It was reported that “The Giants favored a traditional look of exposed steel framework and rusticated stone while the Jets wanted a sleek and modern look highlighted by metal and glass”. These two requests are a grand recipe for a hideous stadium. The Vikings US Bank Stadium proves that a contemporary look can look fantastic. The Mets Citi Field proves a classical design could have worked as well. However, mixing the two is an eye sore.

There is No Retractable-Roof

Some fans may disagree with this. I used to believe this as well. However, in 2015, I went to the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Field. It was freezing in Indy that day, and completely miserable leading up to the game. However, once we were in the heated stadium, I never found the idea of a Giants game in December appealing again. Many fans believe in old sayings such as “real football is played outdoors” and that “dome teams are soft”.

However, considering the Giants and Jets have been bottom-barrel teams for the past ten years, and dome teams consistently obliterate both teams at home, these points are redundant. Watching football in sub-freezing temperatures is uncomfortably miserable. Truth be told, the Giants and Jets did ponder the idea of a roof. However, it would have cost over $400MM. T

They asked the state of New Jersey to foot the bill, to which the state rightfully said, no. While almost every new stadium is built with a roof, Giants and Jets fans get to enjoy the diverse range of temperatures, various forms of precipitation, and the most powerful winds known to man.

The Food Prices are Insane

Giants and Jets fans have to pay an arm for tickets, a leg for parking, and a first-born for a Nathan’s Hotdog and Mrs. Fields brownie (Granted, Nathan’s Cheese Fries might be worth the newborn). I know food prices are expensive at every stadium nowadays, but the prices became noticeably more expensive in the new stadium.

When the Falcons built their new stadium, the owner decided to keep food costs low, citing the want for the fans to have an enjoyable experience. Since hearing this, I have decided to make this a standard expectation for John Mara. Again, this is not necessarily the worst thing in the world since a smart Giants fan would tailgate before the game, but it’s still another eye-rolling inconvenience.

The Fans Paid for It

Do not mention the word Personal Seat Licence (PSL) to Giants/Jets fans. Either they are infuriated they had to pay for such a premium, or they lost their season tickets when the new stadium was built due to the excessive cost.  Metlife received zero taxpayer funding from New Jersey.

However, instead of the Giants and Jets owners eating a solid portion of the expense, they looked to longtime season ticket holders to finance the stadium. What does not get discussed is the fact that taxpayers footed the bill for the utilities and the installation of those utilities. And let’s not forget the new roads, ramps, and exits compliments of New Jersey residents.

Of course, at the end of the day, the NFL is a business, and the fans can decide for themselves if the investment is worth it. But seeing how the stadium came out so poorly, it is infuriating for Giants and Jets season ticket holders to bare the cost. Fans probably wouldn’t complain so much if the team was better.

All in all, Giants and Jets fans not only have to suffer watching terrible football, they are also stuck with a garbage stadium to call home for the next several decades. As passionate as I am about the Giants, I do feel the best ticket in the house is my living room, where I can watch the Giants lose while I am eating a mountain of cheap buffalo wings before crying myself to sleep.

Positive Spin:

Metlife looks cool at night

I will say, the stadium does look fantastic at night. The metal panels lighting up with Giants or Jets colors has a very sharp look. It also looks great on TV, and when the teams are good, it is a pretty cool experience at night.

The Tailgating is Unmatched

I have been to many NFL stadiums. Steelers, Cowboys, Vikings, Colts, Lions, Cardinals, etc. None of these teams’ stadiums have the tailgating capacity that Metlife does. Many stadiums closer to downtowns do not have widespread parking. In fact, looking back on my childhood, some of the best memories I have at the Giants games were the tailgates. It was a blast. It would be insufferable to lose that benefit as a Giants fan.

No matter how good or bad the Giants are, tailgating is always something to look forward to.