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A lot of Ravens fans would agree with my friend and NFL expert Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News in that their favorite team plays in one of the best stadiums in the league.
The only home that out-homes the Ravens? That would be the Dallas Cowboys’ new castle, which was finished this summer at a price tag that went over $1 billion.
Not too bad for a stadium that was completed in 1998 in the heart of Baltimore.
Here’s what Gosselin had to say:
“Location, location, location. This stadium is walking distance from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and, until Cowboys Stadium came along, had the league’s biggest and best replay boards.”
I’d agree. Living downtown, it’s a short trek for me on gameday, and it’s always a cool sight to see it sitting next to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. That’s how it should be, city stadiums.
And Gosselin didn’t even mention the tailgating scene. As someone that has never experienced it first-hand – typically, I get to the press box at least three hours before the game – I’m a little jealous when I see the purple and black-clad fans cooking and enjoying a few beverages.
About the SMARTVISION video boards, they are two of the largest in the NFL, measuring in at 100 ft. x 24 ft. while still maintaining crystal-clear images. A staff of 25-plus people operate them from a central control room that looks like the deck of the StarShip Enterprise.
And, each board can be divided into as many as 16 different pictures.
According to Ravens president Dick Cass, the Ravens are even going to upgrade to HD by 2010.
In case you’re wondering, the three stadiums at the bottom of the list all exist in California.
San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium, Candlestick Park in San Francisco and Oakland Coliseum are 29th, 30th and 31st, respectively. I’ve been to all three, and I would tend to agree, I’m sorry to say. Hey, somebody’s got to be last, right?