FedExField – Washington Redskins
FedExField is located in suburban Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. It replaced the team’s longtime home RFK Stadium in 1997. The late Jack Kent Cooke, former owner of the Washington Redskins, spent the early 1990s looking for a new stadium. Finally a location was found in the town of Landover. The former owner passed away before truly enjoying his team playing at their new home. The location of the team was also even known by the United States Postal Service as Raljon, Maryland to honor Cooke’s sons Ralph and Jon, although it was always technically in the Landover area. Current owner Daniel Snyder ended the usage of the Raljon name a few years back.
FedExField has seen a pretty amazing amount of expansions and reductions in seating capacity in its short lifespan. Entire seating sections have been physically removed from the stadium to reduce capacity. The stadium has seen the removal of some seats to make standing room only “party” sections while other seats have been covered by advertisements and tarps.
There is talk every year about the team moving either back to the District of Columbia or to the commonwealth of Virginia. At this point there is no specific plan in place or motion.
Food & Beverage 4
The Redskins have many decent concession stands around the stadium. Most of the stands offer the usual stadium options. The prices are not cheap, but they are pretty much in line with other NFL venues. If you worry about high food costs, your best bet is to eat before game time. Crab cakes are now served throughout the stadium as are chicken stir-fry and Caribbean jerk chicken. Lighter options, such as the Heartland Tuna Salad, can also be found around the stadium.
My favorite choice is Johnny Rockets along the main concourse and the Club Level. The Skins Dog is a pretty tasty option as well and can be found all around the stadium, as can the newer DC Que Dog. The Club Level also hosts the 280-seat Hooters At FedExField, the EA Players Sports Lounge and the MGM National Harbor Club. Some other name brand options around the stadium include Papa John’s and D.C.’s well known Ben’s Chili Bowl.
The Redskins have done a good job with enhancing the food offerings in both the Club Level and the main concourse. The upper concourse options seem a bit sparer, although that is common with large stadiums.
The team has set a decent stage for enjoyment of NFL football. Expect the games to be loud inside the walls of the stadium. The fans are knowledgeable about all aspects of the game. Before you go into the stadium, one should spend some time out with the fans in the massive parking lots. There are some great and welcoming groups scattered around. I love to check out the Red Zone Tailgate Lot to see what some of the most extreme Redskins fans are cooking up in their pregame preparation.
Once inside the stadium you may be less impressed with some aspects of the physical structure. Some areas are just poorly designed. The stadium is not aging well.
The upper deck seems incredibly too high to enjoy the game. Some seating sections in the upper deck require your having to go both up AND down a set of stairs to find your seat. A former walkway has been filled in with three rows of seating. Doing so has created some navigational issues, in that fans may need to go up and then back down a small set of stairs just to move from one area to another. It is weird to see entire seating areas in the Club Level that are blocked off and covered up.
The upper deck also still has some audio issues. There are areas there where the sound is nearly inaudible. In addition, the lower deck still has some obstructed view seats. They do often go for quite low of a price but it is still incredible that a stadium built just one year prior to Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium has the severe design flaws that it does.
Many other parts of the seating bowl are just a bit weird here at FedExField. It opened with 80,000 seats. A few years later, the Redskins added many temporary and permanent seating areas to bring the total seating to over 91,000. Now the stadium is getting smaller, with many seats changed over to those standing room only areas and/or tarp covered areas to bring the official capacity down.
The Redskins have slowly been adding more of their large history into the stadium’s concourse area. The team should continue to embrace the long history of the team, as fans will enjoy learning about their team’s legacy.
The team also has a Season Ticket Holders Wall Of Fame. Names of those who have been season ticket holders from 20 years or more are displayed on a monitor beside some images of current Redskins players.
Suburban Landover is not the most exciting neighborhood. FedExField sits in an area surrounded by parking lots. That kind of setting can be good for tailgating, but often means the area is lacking a bit. It would be nice if there could be food, drink and entertainment options located in the area, such as at Philadelphia’s Xfinity Live complex. I would love to see something similar, even if they are temporary, game only, locations. Currently, fans who are not tailgate types have very few pregame options.
The closest thing really to the stadium is some newer housing developments as well as being close to the Boulevard at Capital Center shopping center. That center was built where the former Capital Centre Arena was located. I don’t see many fans walking the distance between the Boulevard at Capital Center and FedExField.
Luckily Washington D.C. is close by. If you are arriving by Metro, pregame activities are best spent there.
The Foggy Bottom neighborhood is a good option in D.C. as there are still plenty of restaurants to choose from. Burger Tap & Shake, Tonic at Quigley’s, Founding Farmers, and the newly opened Beefsteak by Jose Andres seem like good options.
Georgetown is another great option The choices there will astound you, but Martin’s Tavern and Georgetown Cupcake will always be a good choice. A few of my favorites away from the GW/Foggy Bottom are Smith Commons, Doi Moi and Bar Charley. A good suggestion is to stop by Bar Charley for some great craft cocktails and walk the few blocks over to Doi Moi to finish up with some great Asian small plates.
And did I mention you are right in the middle of Washington, D.C.? The amount of attractions, museums, restaurants and other sights are astounding. Spend some time pre or post game seeing the many things around this great city.
The strength of the Redskins is their loyal fans. The fans do deserve better than the often lackluster stadium. The last few years they have been seen as not as exuberant as in the past, but lately the team has stoked the excitement of these deserving fans. The fans are knowledgeable about the game. Non rivalry games have far less excitement than when the team is playing an NFC East opponent. The best time to go to FedExField is a nationally televised game against the Eagles, Cowboys, or Giants.
FedExField’s location close to the Washington Beltway is not usually seen as a positive. This suburban location compounds the traffic nightmares in the area, especially on Monday night games. The stadium is located far from public transportation and with limited parking alternatives, the stadium can be hard to get to. The opening of the Washington Metro’s Morgan Boulevard Station in 2004 gave attendees at least one public transportation option. It is slightly less than one mile away, and there are decent walkways between the station and stadium. Sure, it could be closer, but at least it is an option. The Largo Town Center Station, also on the same Blue line as the Morgan Boulevard Station, is another walkable option, but is far less convenient.
Just make sure you are aware of closing times for the Metro if attending a night game. The Metro system has experienced many problems and incidents in recent months, so it is not nearly as reliable as it should. The team has no control of this, but it sure does not help the fans who want to find alternate means to attending the games at FedExField.
There is plenty of parking available around the stadium. The problem has been that it is pricey and has been controlled strictly by the team. There are a few non approved lots to the north of the stadium around Brightseat Road, but that is an exception. If all else fails a visitor can head to the official Gray Lot and get a space for $40 cash.
Starting in 2015 the team made major strides in improving the operations of their lots. Fans are required to enter their designated lots from specific access roads. The idea was to allow for a more efficient entry and exit from the stadium. It seems to have worked.
Return on Investment 4
The cost of an NFL game is expensive. There is no way around it. You do get a good deal, because of the high entertainment value and the extremely high level of competition. The parking is also costly at FedExField and you may not be able to find good options around that cost. Fans used to have the best luck on the secondary ticket market, but as the team seems to be doing slightly better tickets can still be hard to get. All else fails, one can usually find relatively cheap standing room only tickets available. Just make sure you know that before buying in these areas of the stadium.
The team has one of the few marching bands in the NFL, the Washington Redskins Marching Band. Make sure to catch them perform before the game. The group started in 1937 and according to the team their iconic “Hail to the Redskins” made its debut on Aug. 17, 1938 as the official fight song of the Washington Redskins. The Washington Redskins Cheerleaders also put on a good show. The group was second in the NFL to the Pittsburgh Steelers in having cheerleaders (The Steelers have since abandoned the cheerleading idea). Originally called the Redskinettes, they have cheered for the team since 1962.
The fans themselves are a great extra. Their exuberance brings a lot to the games. You should also spend some time tailgating in areas such as the Red Lot before the game. This way you can experience some of their pregame excitement.
FedExField is a purely functional stadium in a less than desirable location. But the Redskins have a strong fan base that makes attending their games better than the physical environment itself allows. With that fact, and the knowledge that the team is trying to make things better for fans, we think the experience at FedExField is worth a trip.
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Daniel Snyder has been pretty outspoken that the team needs to be looking for a new stadium to replace FedExField. The future of this stadium is very much in doubt with many people feeling that eventually the team will move back into D.C. That potential move back into the District does warrant a small discussion of the team’s name. Many feel that the name may have to change for D.C. politicians to help pay for any team move or any new facility. Will the controversial name mean that FedExField stay as home to the team longer than is desired? Only time will tell.