Philadelphia-The Best and Worst Football Stadium

Philadelphia had the best and worst football field in the country.  Fortunately, the bad one is no longer with us.

Franklin Field-Built in 1909, this remains an architectural gem.  This place naturally does not have any of what we expect from modern stadiums. All seats are backless and most without protection from the elements.  The wind from the Schuylkill River can be uncomfortable.  For sheer viewing, however, I have never seen any place better.   The seats are sharply inclined, with no obstruction, and close to field.  Philadelphia author Lisa Scottoline mentions super-fit joggers climbing these steps.   When the Philadelphia Eagles moved here in 1958, their attendance almost doubled.  Parking was also much easier.

Before 1958, the Eagles shared Connie Mack Stadium with the  Philadelphia Phillies.   CMS had a typical baseball layout with a maximum capacity of only 40,000.  It seemed like poles were all over the place obstructing the view.  Groundskeepers had to plant turf in the infield portion.  By midseason, one fan remarked that it looked as if a cattle stampede had overrun it.  So long as a fan was not behind a pole, it was fine for baseball but not football.   Parking around Connie Mack Stadium was almost impossible.

The Eagles played at Franklin Field with 1970 being the last year.  It is a great place.   Today it hosts the Penn Relays and Penn Quakers football.

Municipal Stadium later John F. Kennedy Stadium-The city built this stadium for the Sesquicentennial in 1926.   Whoever built it must have been out to lunch.

The seats are way too far from the field and not inclined well.   This is the only place where fans don’t get a good view even from the 50 yard line. Wind comes roaring in from the Delaware and Schuylkill.  The annual Army Navy Game was here and once drew at least 100,000 people.   When the attendance fell off in the mid seventies,  the game went to Veterans Stadium.

At intervals the Navy-Notre Dame game was at JFK Stadium. It was also the scene of the Liberty Bowl from 1959 to 1963.  More on this later.   The city mercifully tore this eyesore down in the late 90s.


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