2. CenturyLink Field
Home of the Seattle Seahawks
Coolest feature: The shell-shaped roof not only makes this stadium the loudest in the NFL, it keeps hardcore football fans from getting rained on.
Fun fact: Seismologists say the noise created by Hawks fans after Marshawn Lynch’s famous 67-yard run against the Saints in the 2011 playoffs registered the power of a 1.0 earthquake.
Pro football analysts, those chronic exaggerators, at least don’t overstate the noise inside CenturyLink. Take a listen to an opposing team broadcast -- made up of announcers and engineers not accustomed to the noise -- and they’re frequently impossible to hear before key third downs. The key is the genius engineering that traps noise and positions spectators as close as 40 feet from the field, just one example of design contributing to the team’s resurgence.
Think about it this way: The Seattle Seahawks were an irrelevant franchise until the early 2000s. Build this place? All of a sudden they’ve made three Super Bowls, and brought Seattle its first pro sports championship since 1979. And it’s not because of their bold use of lime green. The stadium -- and the rabid fans inside -- can get as much, if not more credit for Seattle’s success as Pete Carroll. The Seahawks have won 70% of their home games since CenturyLink opened.
Plus, it’s just a hell of a place to blow a Sunday -- and a few hundred bucks. The concourses are huge, with varied food options that include salmon and gourmet coffee, all at prices designed for Amazon transplants. OK, so the Hawks have priced out many of their loyal fans, but they can still tailgate outside, right? Notsomuch. The rules and regulations in the stadium lots and surrounding city lots have, as one Seattle fan put it “pretty much banned fun.” So it’ll be interesting to see how enjoyable a game experience this is if the team shuffles back to mediocrity. -- MM