Comparing Eagles Lincoln Financial Field to Veterans Stadium

By Frank Benditt III

There is a world of difference between the two stadiums the Philadelphia Eagles have played their football games in over the last forty-plus years.  Times have changed and so has fans football accommodations.  There is/was good and bad with both stadiums, so let us take a comparison.

Veterans Stadium opened in 1971 and became affectionately known “The Vet”.  The Vet hosted games for both baseball and football.  The Eagles last home game at the Vet was their devastating loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship game January 19th, 2003.  The Vet hosted Eagles home games for thirty-one years and always gave the home team a sizable advantage.

With a football seating capacity of 65,352, Veterans Stadium boasted acoustics that greatly enhanced the crowd noise on the field, making it nearly impossible for opposing teams to hear one another.  That was one of the beauties of the Vet.  The upper bowl section, know as the “700 Level”, was infamous for being home to the rowdiest fans in all of football.  No fan wanted to wear their away team jersey for fear of retaliation.  That was the main reason Philadelphia got it’s “tough fan” reputation.

The Vet’s playing surface was always swirled in controversy.  The field’s surface, originally composed of AstroTurf, contained many gaps and uneven patches.  In several places, seams were clearly visible, giving it the nickname “Field of Seams”.  It perennially drew the ranking of the “NFL’s worst field” in player surveys conducted by the NFL Players Association, and visiting players often fell prey to the treacherous conditions resulting in numerous injuries.  Eagles fans revelled in this advantage.

Cosmetically, the Vet was horrible.  A “cookie cutter” stadium by design, the Vet boasted little to no homely accommodations.  It was barred bones, icy and cold.  Just the way Eagles fans like their teams to be.

September 8th, 2003, Lincoln Financial Field opened up to the Eagles first regular season game, a re-match against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  68,352 fans watched and scratched their heads as the Eagles were shutout 17-0.  Not the start many expected in the new stadium.  As with the Vet, Lincoln Financial Field got a nickname, “The Linc”.

The improvement The Linc provided was both an upgrade cosmetically and great viewing sight-lines.  There is not a bad seat in the house.  Modern amenities were spruced throughout the stadium along with great vending.

The playing surface was greatly improved by a new FieldTurf synthetic blend that looks and plays like real grass.  So much for that advantage.  The large disadvantage of the Linc is the lack of crowd noise.  The Lincs open corner design lets crowd noise escape.

Older Eagles fans look back fondly at the Vet.  Newer fans have never been.  I have been to both, many times.  I was at the last game at the Vet and the first game at the Linc.  Both losses still sting to this day.  As far as the stadiums comparisons,  I miss the Vet’s noise, especially translated through T.V.  I will take the Linc any day for it’s food and fan friendliness.  It is a toss up, but sometimes I yearn for the good ‘ole AstroTurf days.  That is the Philly fan in me speaking.  Cheers!



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