STATE FARM STADIUM
STADIUM DUDE’S NFL STADIUM RANK: #11
- Location: Glendale, AZ
- Opened: 2006
- Capacity: 63,400
- Weather: n/a (indoors)
- Games attended: 3 (plus one tour)
- Last visited: 2022
This place is one of the coolest looking edifices in America. When it opened in 2006, it was hard to imagine how a football stadium could be much better than this. Now, it sits just outside the Top 10.
From the outside, this place looks like a UFO or a giant toaster. It sits in suburban Phoenix, and is visible for miles. The stadium took design inspiration from the barrel cactus and has a rounded metal surface designed to reflect the harsh Arizona sun away from the interior and the fans. The exterior is broken up by 21 glass wall slots to provide fans with a distant view of the desert horizon. Its translucent retractable roof can open or close in a 12-minute period. And the grass field is retractable like an old compact disc player, sliding in and out of the stadium to ensure it can always soak up plenty of sun.
It’s located way out in the western suburbs, making it a haul for most area residents as well as visitors staying in Scottsdale. There are a few bars in the area, as it shares space with the Gilda River Arena and an open-air mall, but many choose to tailgate in the parking lots if the weather isn’t punishing.
Inside, sightlines are fantastic. Concessions are solid and relatively affordable. Atmosphere is a little muted: Phoenix is a transplant town and a tourist destination meaning road fans will always have a presence at Cardinal games, mitigating some of the home field advantage. And there aren’t enough escalators to get to and from the upper levels, leading to gridlock just before kickoff and just after the game.
Believe it or not, the Cardinals are the oldest professional football organization still in existence. But they play in a place that feels as futuristic as it comes even though 8 stadiums have been built after it. It’s a wonderful facility.