The late Jack Kent Cooke, former owner of the Washington Redskins, spent the early 1990s looking for a new stadium. Finally a location was found in suburban Prince George’s County, Maryland in the town of Landover.
The former owner passed away before truly enjoying his team playing at their new home. The location of the team was also even known by the United States Postal Service as Raljon, Maryland to honor Cooke’s sons Ralph and Jon, although it was always technically in the Landover area. Current owner Daniel Snyder ended the usage of the Raljon name a few years back.
FedExField replaced Washington, DC’s RFK Stadium. RFK was not generally regarded as the best NFL stadium, but it had a certain sense of character. FedExField has so far not had the feel or character that the Redskins enjoyed in the past.
FedExField has seen a pretty amazing amount of expansions and reductions in seating capacity in its short lifespan. Entire seating sections have been physically removed from the stadium to reduce capacity. Another recent trend has the team physically removing seats to make standing room only “party” sections that do not count against blackout rules. The look of the standing room only seats is pretty jarring.
Daniel Snyder has been pretty outspoken that the team needs to be looking for a new stadium to replace FedExField. The future of this stadium is very much in doubt, as is this location that is unpopular with most everyone.
The biggest shock I had as a first time guest to FedExField was how old the stadium felt. Opened in 1997, it seemed like a stadium opened possibly two decades earlier. It is shocking to consider that it is only one year older than Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium. The concourses are dark and dreary. It has modern touches, such as the wider public areas and numerous food stands of a newer facility, but still never felt like a place that opened five years AFTER the groundbreaking Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Wandering the concourses brought back memories of long gone places such as Veterans Stadium, The Kingdome and Candlestick Park. That is not a good thing.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The food choice are quite basic. With the exception of a few food outposts FedExField lacks many of the choices seen at modern ballparks. The prices are high, as they are in most NFL-level stadiums, but they are pretty much in line with other league venues.
One very good choice is Johnny Rockets along the main concourse.
The stadium is just so poorly designed that it must be disheartening to be a Redskins fan. The stadium is far too loud and the upper deck seems incredibly too high to enjoy the game. I found seating sections in the upper deck that you have to go both up AND down set of stairs to find your seat. A former walkway has been filled in with three rows of seating. Doing so has created some navigational issues, in that fans may need to go up and then back down a small set of stairs just to move from one area to another.
There are frankly just poor conditions for the fans. The audio, especially in the upper sections, is nearly inaudible. Seats in the lower deck have an obstructed view of the field. It is incredible that a stadium built just one year prior to Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium has the severe design flaws that it does.
Many other parts of the seating bowl are just a bit weird here at FedExField. It opened with 80,000 seats. A few years later, the Redskins added many temporary and permanent seating areas to bring the total seating to over 91,000. Now the stadium is getting smaller, with many seats changed over to standing room only areas to bring the official capacity to 79,000.
The standing room only areas just look strange and out of place. I also found places other places where temporary seating has been added to the strangest of locations.
The sight of the sections removed, as well as the standing room only sections is pretty jarring. The look of these kind of things reinforces that FedExField is a stadium that needs replacing.
The Redskins have shown a complete lack of history at the stadium. For a team that has been around so long, the lack of evidence of that past is pretty amazing.
With all the above stated, the team does have pretty good fan support.
There is no real neighborhood. FedExField sits amongst a sea of parking lots. The closest thing really to the stadium is some newer housing developments as well as being close to the Boulevard at Capital Center shopping center. That center was built where the former Capital Centre Arena was located.
Luckily Washington DC is close by. Pregame activities are best spent there.
The Foggy Bottom neighborhood is a good option as there are still plenty of restaurants to choose from. Burger Tap & Shake, Tonic at Quigley's, Founding Farmers, and the newly opened Beefsteak by Jose Andres seem like good options.
Georgetown is another great option The choices there will astound you, but Billy Martin's Tavern and Georgetown Cupcake will also treat one right. A few of my favorites away from the GW/Foggy Bottom are Smith Commons, Doi Moi and Bar Charley. A good suggestion is to stop by Bar Charley for some great craft cocktails and walk the few blocks over to Doi Moi to finish up with some great Asian small plates.
And did I mention you are right in the middle of Washington, DC? The amount of attractions, museums, restaurants and other sights are astounding. Spend some time pre or postgame seeing the many things around this great city.
The Redskins do have very loyal fans. Their unexciting stadium is not indicative of them as a whole. Currently they do not not seem as exuberant as a whole as does the fans of other local teams. But the lack of recent success is a likely factor. Fans can only be beaten down for so long.
The fans are knowledgeable about the game. Non rivalry games have far less excitement than when the team is playing a NFC East opponent.
The location of FedExField has always been a big complaint. Located far from public transportation and with limited parking alternatives, the stadium is just considered too hard to get to. Its location close to the Washington Beltway would seem to be a plus, but it just compounds the traffic nightmares, especially on increasingly rare Monday night games.
The opening of the Washington Metro's Morgan Boulevard Station in 2004 gave attendees at least one public transportation option. It is slightly less than one mile away, and there are decent walkways between the station and stadium. Sure, it could be closer, but at least there are options. The Largo Town Center Station, also on the same Blue line as the Morgan Boulevard Station, is another walkable option, but is far less convenient. Just make sure you aware of closing times for the Metro if attending a night game.
The Redskins have plenty of parking at the stadium, so there is no real valid reason why they push out parking alternatives in the area. No excuses here, as that is just a money grab.
The stadium is still regarded as being hard to get to.
Newsflash....the NFL is expensive. Attending a game here is no exception. Also parking is expensive, and riding the Metro is expensive.
For fans looking to save some money, you are in a bit of luck. Since the team has shown little success lately the secondary ticket market is making some tickets available for pretty cheap. Look for one of those unfortunate obstructed view or standing room only tickets and you may get in for less than $5, especially if it is not a known rivalry game. You may not see much but you are in.
For a team with the history and success that the Redskins have, there is a shocking lack of evidence of it at FedExField. But one extra is the Washington Redskins Band. This fine band, one of the few in the league, is a pretty enjoyable part of the overall game experience.
FedExField is a functional stadium that is unfortunately showing its age faster than other stadiums of the same vintage. Functionality alone does not equate into great fan experiences. Its location in an area that no one seems to really want the stadium be located in, makes the whole game day experience come across as quite negative.
FedEx Field is the home of the NFL's Washington Redskins. This storied franchise has called this stadium home since it opened in 1997. It is one of the largest stadiums in the NFL, with a seating capacity of well over 90,000. It has been called by many the worst stadium on the East Coast, which is a bit unfair, what with RFK Stadium (which, for my money, is the worst stadium on Earth) being on the East Coast and all. It's not so much that it's bad, per se; there just isn't much good about it.
Fed Ex Field opened in August of 1997. It is the second largest stadium in the NFL, with a capacity of just under 92,000.
While I enjoyed visiting a new NFL stadium, the experience is not much to write home about. If you're not a Redskins fan, a trip to Fed Ex Field isn't likely to impress. Fed Ex Field shouldn't be on the "must visit" list, but it's not necessarily a bad place to watch a game either. Overall, I would rate it as an average experience.
Now that I visited the New Meadowlands Stadium, I can honestly say FedEx Field is better. I'm a big football fan, I love to Hail to the Redskins. That's a great fight song. When the Redskins do well, it makes for a great atomosphere. I heard they redid the scoreboards, if that's true then this place is tremendous. That was a pet peeve of mine.
I've been there 9 times and I'm planning to be there again on October 10th against the Packers to make it a perfect 10.
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Worst stadium in the NFL. Overpriced, no character, terrible traffic, greedy owner. I wouldn't go here again.
A professional sports stadium should offer a wonderful, enjoyable fan experience, regardless of who won.
Having recently experienced my 1st visit to this stadium, I was amazed as to how poor the conditions are for the fans, at least in the nosebleed section. The audio system is deplorable: almost everything comes thru inaudible. You might pick up 1 or 2 words, just enough make you struggle to hear more but it is a cruel joke for the fan who struggles to hear what everyone in the stadium has learned but never does. With today's technology, the question is "Why?" and this same question can be repeated for each point discussed here,
Audio/visual in the concession area: As I stood in line for a snack, I pondered how this might be the only place on earth where sound is faster than light. You HEAR the audio BEFORE you see the delayed broadcast on the monitors.
Come on. I frequent Oriole Park in Camden Yards and, no matter where you experience the game, the AV system is in sync with real time.
Watching the Skins & Dallas play for the div. title on prime time TV, I see deep, muddy skid marks in the turf and all the symptoms leading up to these conditions that have caused player injuries. There was no rain; it was clear. What it did remind me of fields I played on in scholastic sports 40 years ago.
Look, if Foxboro or Lambeau can come up great playing conditions for the players as well as the entire audience, including TV, why can't the stadium of our nation's capital (and in a less-challenging weather / environment) be on par with the rest of the world?
Parking has already been addressed. No answers but this whole thing begins to smell of politics and money.
The fans ... are polite but lacked the festive rowdiness that the Ravens fans live for each Sunday. Yea, you guessed it, I'm from Baltimore and this is a culture thing. What it will be will be ... and "on any given Sunday."
But all of us who paid out of their own pocket deserve the same quality level of experience, no matter what the price or where they sit. These are all equal, "out-of-pocket" dollars that were earned and spent.
Bottom line: Fedex Stadium fails to clear the minimum level of acceptance for fans and visitors. And that's wrong.
I really liked my visit to FedEx Field.
The stadium is quite away from the city of Washington and the parking near the stadium is quite expensive so if you are looking to save money then get there early and prepare yourself for a walk. There is a lot of people tailgating, fans are welcoming and good humoured for the most part, the only real issue being that there is just a big parking area and not a designated tailgate area, so you have a lot of fans tailgating but they are spread out quite widely among parked and discarded cars which takes away from the usual NFL tailgating atmosphere.
The stadium itself is pretty impressive, its large, my tickets were reasonable and there is a good level of noise produced. On the day I attended a game an escalator was broken entering the stadium causing a long line, those around me reassured me this was not a one off but a regular issue since the stadium opened.
Once in the stadium I was impressed, there was a decent selection of places to eat including some stalls unique to the area which is nice as a visiting fan as you don't just have the usual burger and hot dog. There was never really a long line for drinks or food and the staff were very polite and helpful.
I had a fairly cheap ticket for the game in the upper tier but the stadium is well banked and so we had a great view of the game but if you have an issue with heights you may not enjoy it.
I really liked FedEx field, from the local fans I spoke to there is the feeling that the stadium could use some investment and maybe a change of ownership (watching the "marching band" play from some designated seats in the crowd was a fairly perplexing moment) but as a venue for a game it was very enjoyable.
Taking transit to the stadium saves on the parking charge but it is a long walk. The stadium is fairly boring on the main concourse, with few amenities other than concessions. The club level is great though, although very crowded at halftime. Fans are passionate and enjoy the game. There are a few bars nearby just over the highway. Great tailgating atmosphere before the game.
After over 7 years of living in the DC area and hearing fans complain about FedEx, I finally made it out here for Monday Night Football. The walk from the Metro is indeed long, but not unbearable. When you finally make it to the grounds, you're greeted by a pleasant-looking building, and the (very) distant views of the Washington monuments on the way up to the cheap seats are a nice bonus.
The food wasn't cheap, but not as expensive as I assumed it would be. Halftime was enough time for me to hit the men's room and the concession stand and make it back to my seat in time for the kickoff return, which says something nice about the way this place is run.
While I wouldn't say DC sports (or music) fans are the most passionate overall, the football fans seem to be the exception to the rule. They love and support their team, but didn't give me too hard of a time for wearing an Eagles jersey. The verdict: An above-average experience when I expected a below-average one. Worth the trip!
Jack Kent Cooke is a legend in the Washington, DC metro area. As an owner of the hometown Redskins for over 30 years, his team won three Super Bowls while playing their home games in RFK Stadium. In 1996, ground was broken on a new stadium in suburban Maryland that would bear his name. At a cost of $250 million and a capacity of over 80,000, the new stadium would allow 25 percent more fans to get their hands on the hottest ticket in town. Unfortunately, Mr. Cooke passed away before the stadium that bore his name opened in time for the 1997 NFL season.
New ownership, led by Daniel Snyder, bought the team shortly after Mr. Cooke’s death and sold the naming rights to Federal Express. The stadium has gone through multiple seat expansions (and reductions) over the years, and now holds a capacity of 85,000 on game day. While the Redskins are able to pack more fans into their stadium, they haven’t been able to replicate the atmosphere and titles they had at RFK.
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