Is It Common To Play In Front Of 80,000 Fans In The NFL?

Updated: Jan 21, 2019

Listening to the Dan Patrick show over the last few weeks, I've heard Dan mention a number of times how exciting it would be for Kyler Murray formerly of the Oklahoma Sooners to play in front of 80,000 NFL fans. I gave him a mulligan the first or second time hearing this but after repeated reference to the 80,000 capacity NFL stadiums, I had to do some research. One side note, my gut told me there were only a handful of stadiums with this capacity or greater but I wanted the facts to back up my intuition.

Georgia Dome in Atlanta (Old and recently imploded)

According to Wikipedia, there are only 4 NFL stadiums with a capacity of 80,000 or greater. This includes Lambeau Field (with a capacity of 81,435, but they still call it a field?), AT&T Stadium, MetLife Stadium and FedEx Field (shouldn't this also be called a stadium?). Over half the stadiums (16) are in the 60,000 to 69,900 range. There are a total of 31 current NFL stadiums so if my math is correct, that leaves 11 stadiums. 9 stadiums are in the 70,000 or greater capacity which indeed is closer to 80,000 but not quite there. The remaining two are in California, the Oakland Coliseum (50,000 or so) and the soccer venue which hosts the Chargers with a capacity of 27,000 (these two will be replaced by newer stadiums in the next few years but their new capacity will not reach 80,000).

If Dan had said it's common for college players to play in front of 80,000, he'd not have an argument with me. Reviewing Wikipedia for college venues, there are close to 20 stadiums in excess of 80,000 spectators.

Ohio Stadium (Ohio State Buckeyes)

I get it, 80,000 sounds like a nice number to throw out when talking about NFL venues. However, it's not even close to the facts. Perhaps the new number should be playing in front of 70,000 fans or so. That would not be accurate but would be closer to the actual number.