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FedExField (map it)
1600 FedEx Way
Landover, MD 20785
Year Opened: 1997
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.
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".
Nothing special here. You have standard stadium fare, along with Johnny Rockets Burgers, which, last time I checked, served burgers and fries, found at any stadium in America.
There are bars throughout, with beer on tap for around eight bucks. Not a huge selection, but not small either. I've seen much better and I've seen much worse.
The Redskins have a tremendous history. In fact, they remind you of it every time there is a break in the action by showing old highlights on of the two massive screens at either end of the stadium. The problem is that none of it happened in this stadium. This stadium is just kinda there.
RFK has a lot of flaws, but it had character and personality. It literally shook when the Redskins scored. This stadium has nothing. It has no soul. Part of that is a function of the frustration of the fan base and the team's lack of success in recent years, but there are stadiums of bad teams (Seattle's CenturyLink Field comes to mind) that are new and have a great feel. This one has nothing, which is a shame, because these great fans deserve better.
The stadium is oddly placed. It is right off of Interstate 95, the main interstate on the East Coast, but it isn't walking distance to anywhere. There is stuff to do, but you have to drive to it.
There are several chain restaurants, but there is one place that cannot be missed, and that is Carolina Kitchen. Located off of Arena Drive tucked into the back of the Boulevard at Cap Center
shopping plaza, this place has amazing soul food in a clean friendly environment. They go out of their way to make you feel welcome from the minute you walk in the door. No, seriously, when you walk in the the door ALL of the counter staff stop what they are doing and shout at you, "Welcome, welcome, wel-COME!" And then you stuff your face with soul food so amazing you would think your OWN MOTHER was back there cooking it.
Beyond that, there's nothing special. Unless you think Golden Corral is special, in which case I feel sorry for you if you do.
Redskins fans are among the best in sports. They have a tremendous history and will not hesitate to let you know about it. Politely, of course. I'm not sure I have ever come across a more polite fan base. There are exceptions, of course, but there are those everywhere. Generally speaking, visiting fans are left alone and there is good interaction and back and forth, as long as you aren't stupid about it. If you get stupid, they will take care of business, which is how it should be.
They know what they are talking about, know their history, and know that the current state of the team is not what it used to be, which frustrates them to no end. But they still come, and they still
cheer their team. What else could you ask for? Nothing, that's what.
As stated above, the stadium is right off I-95, making it easy to find. However, the parking is, well.... Look, if you buy a ticket, ask about buying parking as well; there is plenty of parking IF you pay for it in advance, or arrive really early for the official cash lot. Otherwise, you'll be parking in a cash lot for $25 located, approximately, five hundred miles from the stadium.
OK, that's a slight exaggeration. Just make parking arrangements when you make ticket arrangements. And if you take the Metro, bring a scooter or a Segway, because the Metro is even further away than the parking lots.
The bathroom situation is good. There are plenty, and they are clean and well maintained.
It isn't that the prices are that much higher than normal; they really aren't. It's just that, man, there is just nothing to this place. I mean, it's almost as if it was designed to cram as many people into one place to watch a football game as possible. You want food too? All right, fine, but nothing fancy. There are tons of amenities for club seat holders, but we don't cater to fancy people like that. Those folks probably just have helicopters drop them off or something.
Uh, it's sturdy?
FedEx isn't the worst stadium I have ever been to, and as long as RFK is still standing, I'd be surprised if that ever changes. But I have been to Single-A minor league baseball stadiums that offer a better fan experience. Every stadium speaks to me, and what this one says is, "Come watch a football game, and if the game isn't to your liking, that's a shame, because I don't care about anything else you want. I don't really care it you're hungry or thirsty, because I'm not giving you
anything you haven't had in any other stadium anywhere in the world. I don't really like you. Don't come early, and don't hang out after. Beat it."
Basically, if your team is playing here, and you are dying to watch them live, wait until your team is playing in Baltimore or Philly and drive there. If that isn't an option, and I mean you are DYING to see your team live, I guess you can come here. Just don't expect to enjoy it. Except for Carolina Kitchen. Get the meatloaf.
Geoff Crawley is the Mid-Atlantic Regional Correspondent, moderator of The Voice of the Fan, and host of a weekly podcast.
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.
If you want to find out more about me and my extensive sports travel knowledge I strongly suggest that you check out my recently created blog.
Here's the link:
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!
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