This last weekend, as I was flipping through the channels on television, counting down the days until Sundays would be filled with NFL football, I stumbled across the “Top Ten Home Field Advantages in the NFL” on the NFL Network. Knowing that the old Mile high Stadium would make the list for sure, I tuned in with a positive outlook! Like I said, I knew Mile High would make the list, I just wasn’t sure how high it would be on the list but I was confident that it would easily crack the top five. Before revealing all ten stadiums on the list, continue reading for some basic facts about the place Broncos called home for many years.
Mile High Stadium, called Bears Stadium until 1968, was built in 1948 on top of an old landfill. Throughout the years the Colorado Rockies (MLB), the Colorado Rapids (MLS), the Denver Gold (USFL), the Denver Bears and the Denver Zephyrs (minor league baseball) have utilized Mile High for their home games.
The stadium went through a number of renovations throughout the years all designed to increase seating capacity. The final renovation occurred in 1986 when 77 private luxury boxes were added to the west side of the stadium, making the official capacity 76,123. The largest renovation occurred between 1975 – 1977 when a triple-decked section of stands was added to the east side of the stadium. The new section of stands was movable and allowed the stadium to be used for both football and baseball. When the stadium was to be utilized for baseball, the east section of stands would actually be moved back. The process to move the east section of stands would take approximately two hours from start to finish and was accomplished by the stands being pushed back on a thin layer of water. This was quite the feat considering the east stands weighed nearly nine million pounds.
The Broncos played their final game in Mile High on December 23, 2000 and beat the San Francisco 49ers 38-9. The city of Denver, Bronco players, and all Bronco fans in attendance celebrated the old stadium and said goodbye with a grand fireworks show. Many fans exited the stadium with their own piece of Mile High as a souvenir.
The old stadium is gone but will never be forgotten – just like the memories of all those football games that she hosted!
According to the NFL Network, here are the top ten home field advantages in the NFL. The asterisk indicates stadiums that are still being utilized today.
1. Lambeau Field – Green Bay Packers *
2. Mile High Stadium – THE Denver Broncos!
3. Memorial Stadium – Baltimore Colts
4. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum – Oakland Raiders *
5. Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City Chiefs *
6. Veterans Stadium – Philadelphia Eagles
7. Three Rivers Stadium – Pittsburgh Steelers
8. Orange Bowl – Miami Dolphins
9. Qwest Field – Seattle Seahawks *
10. Metropolitan Stadium – Minnesota Vikings