STADIUM DUDE’S NFL STADIUM RANK: #29
- Location: Orchard Park, NY
- Opened: 1973
- Capacity: 71,608
- Weather: Uncomfortable (ranked the worst of the 20 outdoor venues)
- Games attended: 8
- Last visited: 2013
The Bills Mafia is certifiably nuts. The tailgate is among the craziest, booziest, and rowdiest in football. You want to see grown-ass men jump off RV’s in an attempt to smash through a flaming portable table? This is the place. I’m convinced the excessive pre-game binge-drinking numbed this dedicated fan base into repeatedly coming out in snowy weather for decades of mediocre football.
Having come here several times, I still struggle to review it. The Rich Stadium/ Ralph Wilson Stadium/ New Era Field/ Bills Stadium/ Highmark Stadium game plan usually involved a party bus to the park (where we’d start drinking at 7am) before tailgating with the maniacs for a few hours. By the time the actual game kicked off at 1, we’d often be lubricated enough that all we wanted was a Beef on Weck and a chance to sing “Shout” (a Buffalo Bills version of the Isley Brothers’ classic) after a Bills’ score. God help you if it was a late afternoon or night game.
I haven’t been there for a while, but I can say definitively that the stadium experience doesn’t match the pre-game. As one of the older stadiums in the league, it still feels rather ramshackle and minor league, despite several renovations. It’s as if you took a Division II stadium and plopped a large upper deck on it. And for half the season’s home games, you risk sitting in a blizzard.
I struggled how to rank it. If the Bills are good and the weather cooperates, hanging out with the nuttiest fan base in football could be a fantastic experience. But it’s inconvenient to get to, the weather is often NOT good, and the stadium itself is underwhelming. And given the quality of the “average” NFL venue, those shortcomings are reflected with this low rating.