If you have been to Hard Rock Stadium, you know some areas are problematic and there are seating issues inside but how does it compare to FedEx Field in Landover, MD?
Many years ago I went to the old RFK Stadium, it was outdated and needed to be replaced. In 1997, FedEx Field opened. It was the largest capacity stadium in the NFL and still can hold nearly 100,000 fans. And most of those fans want it gone.
In Miami, Hard Rock Stadium has been around since 1987 and fans are quite pleased with what they have. There are many differences between the two but one difference is much better than The Rock.
Jumping right to it, Stephen Ross and Tom Garfinkel should take note of the parking lot. Yeah, that is about it.
The parking lot at FedEx Field is all concrete. It had rained rather hard the morning of the game and as a result, the concrete was, well, wet. If you have been to Hard Rock, the parking has quite a bit of grass lots and they turn to mud when it rains.
That's it. That's all FedEx has on Hard Rock and it isn't that big of a deal. I was chatting with Matt Serniak, one of our contributors, and his wife and friends, and I was blown away by the space for parking. Cars driving up the aisles with plenty of room. It was nice and didn't feel tight or cramped. Once you leave the lot, however, it is a different story.
FedEx is not designed well at all. Outside, you can't walk around the entire stadium. One full end of the stadium is blocked off to all foot traffic. It is where the players come and go. At HRS, that area is fenced off and you simply walk around it.
At HRS, the team store is open early and you can buy your stuff and take it back to the car. At FedEx, it is closed from the outside and only accessible from inside the concourse.
If you have ever wandered around HRS you will experience a party atmosphere. Music, bands, parties, giveaway sites, concession stands, the Walk of Fame, statues of Don Shula, Dan Marino, and Joe Robbie, at Fed Ex...you get entry points and blocked access.
If you want to have a great time pre-game at FedEx Field, you do it in the parking lot, period. You want to have a great time at Hard Rock, you can go right to the stadium and walk around the outside and have a great time.
Outside, FedEx was a monumental letdown. This was my son's first game and I told him that the pre-game tailgate parties were fantastic and that we needed to get there early to enjoy it and take it all in. I should have stayed in bed because aside from beating the traffic and getting an easy parking spot, it was a monumental waste of time.
Once inside, I wish I could say it got better. It didn't. I can't speak for what the upper levels offered but on the lower level, you had food, it was typical overpriced stadium food with about the flavor you would expect. Nachos are a bag of Tostitos tossed into a container with yellow cheese and a bunch of jalapenos.
There wasn't anything special. Nothing that stood out as being in Washington. They had cheesesteaks, are those not from Philly? May answer a lot of questions about why Philly fans take over the stadium each year. Where were the Maryland crab cakes? I must have missed them.
It was fun being at a new stadium but I missed going to Hard Rock this year and while some Dolphins fans may complain about The Rock, it is at least head and shoulders above FedEx which I will agree with Commanders fans, could probably be torn down and built a lot better.
It was a fun quick, unexpected getaway to a game but for my son, he still gets to look forward to seeing the Dolphins at Hard Rock and I am pretty sure that will be a much more enjoyable pre-game experience.