Sunday, July 03, 2005

Improving the Aerial Game, IV

Here we conclude our four-week tour of the stadiums of the National Football League, as revealed to us by Google Maps. This week's NFL venues hail from the two West divisions, and are listed again in order of last year's final standings.


QualComm Stadium (San Diego Chargers)
INVESCO Field at Mile High (Denver Broncos)
Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City Chiefs)
McAfee Coliseum (Oakland Raiders)


QWest Field (Seattle Seahawks)
Edward Jones Stadium (St. Louis Rams)
Sun Devil Stadium (Arizona Cardinals)
Monster Park (San Francisco 49ers)

I left the Qualcomm Stadium image zoomed out one setting to show the immensity of that stadium's parking lot. Geez, that's a lot of parking.

INVESCO Field's exterior landscaping, probably for parking (I guess), is still under construction here, but the stadium itself seems to be mint-from-the-box new. You can make out the Broncos logo on the north side of the upper deck. That appears to be one tall stadium.

Arrowhead Stadium is nothing spectacular, so I left the zoom out one setting again so as to depict the next-door Kaufmann Stadium, where the Royals play baseball. Also note the titanic parking lot and the fact that snow is still present against some of the curbs. I'd guess this photo was taken in spring before the thaw had become complete.

Also zoom in on Oakland's McAfee Coliseum (formerly Oakland-Alameda Coliseum), which also hosts the home games of the Oakland Athletics. Here the stadium is decked out for baseball. The stadium was originally in a 'C' shape, with an open outfield, but when the Raiders returned to Oakland after their LA exile, Al Davis insisted that more seating be built. Hence the ugly barn-jobbed seating across the outfield that looks like the world's largest bleacher (which is what it probably is). Also note, since the stadium is reflectant of baseball and not football at the time the photo is taken, just how massive that park's foul territory is.

Seattle's QWest Field looks like it was shoehorned into a warehouse district. Is it built on the KingDome's old site? Anyone know?

The Edward Jones Dome was formerly called the TransWorld Dome; hence the TWA logo visible on its domed roof here. I wonder if that logo is still there? Anyway, this is the house that Kurt Warner built and then self-destructed within.

Sun Devil Stadium is due to be replaced in the next couple of years, so the eternally hapless Cardinals can go be hapless in a spanking-new park. Those lucky duckies! This stadium has seen three, count 'em, three meaningful games in the last ten years. It hosted Super Bowl XXX (Dallas 27, Pittsburgh 17); the Cards managed to stun the Vikings here a year ago to keep them out of the playoffs and put the Packers in; and of course, this stadium saw that spectacular Monday Night Football game in which receiver Rod Tidwell had the game of his life and caught the winning score with seconds left (and was seemingly badly injured before he came to, recovered his feet, and danced the night away). Of course, this last one was fictional and happened in the movie Jerry McGuire, but you can't take that away from Sun Devil Stadium.

And finally there is Monster Park, formerly 3Com Park, formerly Candlestick Park. I always like the way this stadium looks for football, but I also always thought it looked appallingly bad for baseball. Thank God the Giants got a new park, right on the water so their steroid-enhanced slugger could hit it to the sea-kayakers, eh? By the way, this appears to be the only GoogleMaps satellite image of an NFL stadium that was actually taken while a game was in progress. Look at the packed parking lot, including all the busses -- many in a giant cluster, and many more in a long line snaking all the way up the drive to the stadium. Cool.

BONUS ITEM: If you've ever wondered just how far apart the two NFL stadiums in the San Francisco Bay Area are, well, never fear: here's how the region shapes up. I've captured the tightest zoom I could in GoogleMaps that still included both Monster Park and McAfee Coliseum, and as a bonus you can see the Bay Bridge and, for you geeks out there, the Alameda Naval Station, where in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Commander Chekov and Lieutenant Uhura went in search of "nuclear wessels". (Because they needed to capture high-energy photons from a nuclear reactor so they could inject those photons into the dilithium crystal chamber on their stolen Klingon ship, thus triggering the decaying dilithium crystals to reform. Duh!)

McAfee Coliseum here is directly underneath the 'C' in the word 'Coliseum'. It's harder to spot outright than Monster Park, which is in a pretty distinctive spot on the SF peninsula.

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