No joke. The longer the Minnesota Vikings go without a new facility, the more I fear for the safety of their fans after enduring firsthand what they must deal with at home games. I’m not an advocate of corporate welfare for teams with stadium issues. I understand there are greater social needs with tax dollars. But I am sympathetic to the Vikings’ plight. -- Alex MarvezRead more of Marvez's breakdown of the Vikings' sticky stadium issue
Dolphins - Sun Life Stadium
South Florida hosted its record 10th Super Bowl in February at Sun Life Stadium (the Dolphins' stadium name du jour amidst a dizzying run of sponsor switches), but the NFL is threatening not to return unless significant renovations are made. That bluff may have to get called. Sensing an unsympathetic populace, the Dolphins already pulled the plug on pitching a $200-million hotel tax proposal that would have included a partial stadium roof. With the end zones facing east and west, the uncovered north side of the stadium bakes in the South Florida sun.
Bengals - Paul Brown Stadium
Like in St. Louis, the Bengals have a clause allowing early exit from their lease unless future technological stadium upgrades are made. The franchise already is at odds with county officials because of a stadium deal that is straining the local budget. Even with all these problems, it's tough to foresee Bengals owner Mike Brown moving the franchise under his watch.
Jaguars - Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
Actually, the venue is fine. The problem is getting people to fill it. In March, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said “you can't continue to have an NFL team with 40,000 people in the stadium.” Jaguars management is gamely trying to sell seats, but there isn’t a flood of interest in a region far more dedicated to college teams (Florida and Florida State) located outside city limits.
Bills - Ralph Wilson Stadium
A stadium with one of the NFL’s largest seating capacities (73,967) is also among the smallest in overall square feet. The Bills would benefit from a stadium with fewer traditional seats and more club/luxury areas. Such a project wouldn’t be considered while 91-year-old Ralph Wilson still owns the team. There is a chance new ownership would consider leaving Buffalo for a more lucrative market.
Falcons - Georgia Dome
In 2005, Falcons owner Arthur Blank failed to receive help refurbishing his stadium through a Super Bowl hosting bid. Blank is now pushing for a new facility that would include public and private financing. He estimates the project would take seven years to complete. Atlanta’s stadium lease expires in 2020.
Rams - Edward Jones Dome
It’s hard to believe a stadium built just 15 years ago could already be antiquated. But that’s the problem facing the Edward Jones Dome and the city officials who will try to keep the Rams from leaving town. The franchise’s lease stipulates the venue must rank among the top eight NFL stadiums in quality by 2015 or the Rams are free to move elsewhere. Such renovations aren’t in the offing. An uncertain ownership situation provides more dark clouds for St. Louis football fans who already lost the Cardinals to Arizona in 1988.
Raiders - Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
It isn’t just seven consecutive seasons of 11-plus losses that keep fans away. This 33-year-old facility is brutal. The lack of a family-friendly atmosphere doesn’t help matters. The Raiders also share the stadium with the Oakland A’s, which means playing football on a dirt infield through September and possibly longer depending on baseball playoffs. One glimmer of hope: The possibility of sharing a new Santa Clara facility with the 49ers.
49ers - Candlestick Park
Like with San Diego, the Bay Area won’t host another Super Bowl until a new stadium is constructed. The 49ers, though, are far closer than the Chargers or Vikings in their quest. A public vote for a new $937 million facility in nearby Santa Clara was held June 8, with residents voting in favor of building a team a 68,500-seat stadium for the Niners. The ball's now in the teams' hands.
Chargers - Qualcomm Stadium
The San Diego City Council voted unanimously on June 22 to spend $500,000 on a downtown development study that could eventually funnel public money toward a new Chargers stadium within two years. San Diego’s mayor and other city officials favor a 10-acre site downtown to replace the aging venue. San Diego was becoming a regular spot in the NFL’s Super Bowl rotation until 2003. The game won’t be returning to Qualcomm Stadium.