STADIUM DUDE’S NFL STADIUM RANK: #18
- Location: Foxborough, MA
- Opened: 2002
- Capacity: 65,878
- Weather: Uncomfortable (ranked 14th out of 20 outdoor venues)
- Games attended: 1
- Last visited: 2019
No football stadium has enjoyed more sustained success in its history than Gillette Stadium. The home team’s regular season record is 130-31 since 2002, and their playoff mark is 20-4 when playing here. Gillette’s main tenant won 16 division titles in the stadium’s first 18 years, and 5 Super Bowls (they were still playing at old Foxborough Stadium when Brady won his first). With that kind of success, it’s no wonder that the place has sold out every game in its existence.
Success doesn’t come cheap. The Patriots have some of the highest ticket prices in football. But for that price, a fan would see their team win more than 4 out of 5 times.
Gillette is sorta in the middle of nowhere, closer to Providence RI than Boston. To counter, the Pats designed Patriot Place, a veritable city of its own with over a million square feet of shopping, restaurants, and even a hotel. It’s not a bad place to hang if you’re trying to wait out the brutal traffic after the game.
Parking is pricy, though the team offers a free lot for those willing to not leave until 75 minutes after the game. For a suburban stadium, tailgating is only decent, with many fans pre-gaming in Patriot Place rather than the back of their car. Some fans take a commuter rail trip offered on game days, but the overwhelming majority drive.
The lighthouse and Longfellow Bridge replicas are cool. The lack of escalators to the upper deck is not. Concessions, handled in-house, feature some local flair but is mainly standard stadium fare at NFL prices. Weather can be a factor, and is often made worse by the fact that the Pats play a lot of late season late afternoon and night games.
It’s been my observation that Boston-area fans like to sing when they’re watching their winning teams after a few beers. Brush up to the words of The Outfield’s “Your Love” or Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer”.
The stadium will really start to show its worth over the next few seasons as the Mac Jones era begins and the team starts to build anew. Will some of the stadium’s shortcomings become a bigger issue? Will the fans still come out? Will ticket prices come down a little? We shall see. Regardless, it’s a worthy place to catch a game.