The NFL offseason is the time for ranking all things pro football — from the best players, to the best coaches, to the best mascots, to the best stadiums. USA Today’s Touchdown Wire released such an arena ranking this week, and the New England Patriots’ finds itself in the bottom half.
According to author Mark Lane, Gillette Stadium is just the 23rd best stadium in the league:
The concept of stadiums with open end zones was a thing from the early 2000s, and it is a feature at Foxborough. The problem is it doesn’t open up to a beautiful skyline or a majestic view. The weather is also awful at the end of the season and into the playoffs.
Gillette Stadium has been the Patriots’ home since it was opened in 2002, and the team has won the vast majority of its games since then: New England went 126-26 in the regular season and 19-4 in the playoffs for a combined winning percentage of .829.
So, why the low ranking?
“Such factors as fan participation are taken into consideration as well as architectural design and climate,” per Lane’s own methodology. Based on the description above, it seems as if New England’s arena did not ace the test in those last two categories, even though the weather in particular has been a prominent feature of the Gillette Stadium mystique, especially late during the season and into the playoffs.