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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Improving the Aerial Game, III

This week we continue our Google Maps tour of the National Football League, where training camps shall begin in just a few weeks' time, and all records will be set to 0-0, and every team will have a shot at the Super Bowl. (Well, not really. I'm lookin' at you, Arizona Cardinals.)

Here are the scenes of battle for the AFC and NFC South teams, again arranged in order of last year's standings.

AFC SOUTH

RCA Dome (Indianapolis Colts)
Alltel Stadium (Jacksonvilla Jaguars)
Reliant Stadium (Houston Texans)
Adelphia Coliseum (Tennessee Titans)

NFC SOUTH

Georgia Dome (Atlanta Falcons)
Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans Saints)
Bank of America Stadium (Carolina Panthers)
Raymond James Stadium (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)


As I noted in last week's installment, domes aren't that interesting to look at -- especially the "Giant Pillow" domes built in the 80s, like the Metrodome and the RCA Dome.

If Alltel Stadium looks a bit familiar, that's because it was the scene of the last game of last season, Super Bowl XXXIX. If you pull back the zoom a bit, you can see the nearby water where cruise ships that doubled as hotels for Super Bowl week docked.

Reliant Stadium, site of Super Bowl XXXVIII, is still under construction in this image. Again, pulling back the zoom reveals that it's part of a larger sports complex in Houston.

Nashville is one of those cities that surprisingly doesn't have sharp photos in the Google Maps database, so this is what resulted when I plugged in the reported address for the stadium. I'm not entirely sure where the stadium even is, in this photo. I'm guessing it's the horse-shoe shaped construct right above the little "tag" denoting the address.

The Georgia Dome was built in the early 90s (the Bills lost the fourth of their Super Bowls beneath its fabric roof), and it has the "peaked roof supported by guide wires" thing going for it, so it's marginally more interesting from a birds-eye-view.

Not so the Superdome, however, which is as boring from above as it gets. (I'll never forget the scene there when the Packers played the StuPats in Super Bowl XXXI. The NFL decided to string these colorful banners up all around the perimeter of the inside of the stadium, covering up the air conditioning ducts that supplied fresh air into the stadium. This proved to be a questionable decision during the second half, when the smoke from the halftime show pyrotechnics had noplace to go, and the temperatures on the field apparently soarded to over 90 degrees.)

Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium is a pretty standard NFL venue, just a big bowl surrounded by lots of parking.

Raymond James Stadium is kind of interesting, though. I'm not sure how old Google's photos are, so they might have built more since then, but it seems to me that the stadium has very little parking at all. I'm not sure where everyone parks when they go to Bucs games. Seriously: I think that my local Target has more parking than RJS in this photo. Also, if you scroll around, you find that this stadium is closer to a purely residential neighborhood than any stadium I've seen yet.

Anyway, next week we'll wrap this all up with the Western divisions.

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