The Athletic ranked all 30 NFL stadiums. Gillette Stadium didn’t fare too well.

Gillette Stadium was ranked 20th overall during The Athletic's last NFL stadium ranking in 2020.

The New England Patriots new giant scoreboard had plenty of room for ads as well as the game. The New England Patriots host the Houston Texans in a NFL pre-season exhibition game on August 10, 2023 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA.
Gillette Stadium is in the midst of a $250 million renovation project. Barry Chin / Globe Staff

Given its standing as the home of a two-decades-long Patriots dynasty, Gillette Stadium has often stood as one of the epicenters of the football world.

But even with all of the memorable games over the last 21 years, the Patriots’ home venue is apparently not viewed in high regard by NFL writers across the country.

The Athletic released its ranking of the top 30 NFL stadiums on Monday, with 30 of the website’s NFL writers tasked with ranking their top five and bottom five stadiums in order.

Of the 30 stadiums listed, Gillette Stadium ranked 21st overall on The Athletic’s final results.


“The Patriots have won five Super Bowls since this became their home in 2002. Somewhat surprisingly, four ballots had it ranked as one of the NFL’s worst stadiums,” the post read.

Gillette Stadium ranked 20th overall in The Athletic’s last NFL stadium ranking in 2020, with new venues like the Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium and the Los Angeles Rams/Chargers’ SoFi Stadium joining the field since then.

The Minnesota Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium placed first overall, with half of The Athletic’s voters handing it the No. 1 spot. The Washington Commanders’ FedEx Field ranked dead last at No. 30, with 25 of the 30 ballots tabbing the venue as the worst in the league.

Gillette Stadium isn’t exactly a spring chicken among NFL stadiums, with 12 other venues opening up after its debut in May 2002.

Still, older stadiums such as Green Bay’s Lambeau Field (No. 3), Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium (No. 6 overall), Denver’s Empower Field at Mile High Stadium (No. 9), Pittsburgh’s Acrisure Stadium (No. 10 overall), and Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium (No. 11) were among the older venues that ranked ahead of Gillette.

Of course, other factors such as proximity to major cities and press box amenities can play heavily into reporters’ feelings about specific sports stadiums.


But the Foxborough-based spot didn’t fare too well in the latest NFL Players Association report cards released earlier this year, either.

The NFLPA report — featuring a poll of 1,300 players across the league — ranked the Patriots 24th out of 32 teams in terms of overall player satisfaction, which was mapped out over eight separate categories.

In total, New England ranked 22nd or worse in five of the eight classifications and ranked in the top 10 of just one designation.

“The player respondents’ feedback from our survey described the club’s facility as old, dated and in need of renovation,” the report read. “The staffing of the current facilities was also flagged as an issue in need of improvement, specifically in the weight room and training room. The player respondents’ indicated that facilities and operations at the Patriots can use a refresh.”

Here’s how the Patriots graded out in the report:

Treatment of Families: C- (tied-22nd)

Food Service/Nutrition: B (12th)

Weight Room: D (31st)

Strength Coaches: B+ (tied-28th)

Training Room: C- (tied-22nd)

Training Staff: A (tied-9th)

Locker Room: C+ (tied-18th)

Team Travel: D+ (tied-25th)


“The main complaint is that players want a little more room to spread out without feeling on top of one another,” the survey said of New England’s locker-room amenities, adding that “85% of players feel like they have enough space.”

Still, Gillette Stadium has invested heavily in renovations for the upcoming 2023 season.

Earlier this month, Gillette Stadium unveiled the centerpiece of a $250 million renovation project in its new north end zone video board. 

The new display stands as the largest outdoor curved-radius video board at a sports venue in the country. In total, the new screen measures 22,200 square feet (370 feet by 60 feet) and is almost half an acre in size. It is over five times the size of the board it replaced.

Other renovations and improvements to Gillette Stadium as part of this construction phase include a new 22-story lighthouse behind the north end zone videoboard, the Bud Light Celebration Beer Hall at field level, an expanded Enel Plaza and grand staircase, and more.

Here is The Athletic’s full ranking of the 30 stadiums in the NFL:

  1. U.S. Bank Stadium — Minnesota Vikings
  2. SoFi Stadium — Los Angeles Rams/Chargers
  3. Lambeau Field — Green Bay Packers
  4. AT&T Stadium — Dallas Cowboys
  5. Lumen Field — Seattle Seahawks
  6. GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium — Kansas City Chiefs
  7. Allegiant Stadium — Los Vegas Raiders
  8. Mercedes-Benz Stadium — Atlanta Falcons
  9. Empower Field at Mile High Stadium — Denver Broncos
  10. Acrisure Stadium — Pittsburgh Steelers
  11. M&T Bank Stadium — Baltimore Ravens
  12. Levi’s Stadium — San Francisco 49ers
  13. Lucas Oil Stadium — Indianapolis Colts
  14. Ford Field — Detroit Lions
  15. Lincoln Financial Field — Philadelphia Eagles
  16. NRG Stadium — Houston Texans
  17. State Farm Stadium — Arizona Cardinals
  18. Nissan Stadium — Tennessee Titans
  19. Cleveland Browns Stadium — Cleveland Browns
  20. Raymond James Stadium — Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  21. Gillette Stadium — New England Patriots
  22. Bank of America Stadium — Carolina Panthers
  23. Soldier Field — Chicago Bears
  24. Highmark Stadium — Buffalo Bills
  25. MetLife Stadium — New York Giants/Jets
  26. Caesars Superdome — New Orleans Saints
  27. Paycor Stadium — Cincinnati Bengals
  28. Hard Rock Stadium — Miami Dolphins
  29. TIAA Bank Field — Jacksonville Jaguars
  30. FedEx Field — Washington Commanders


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