FedExField

FedExField

FedExField (originally Jack Kent Cooke Stadium) is a football stadium located in Landover, an unincorporated community near the Capital Beltway (I-495) in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States near the site of the old Capital Centre later called USAir Arena. FedExField is the home of the Washington Redskins football team and is the largest stadium in the National Football League, seating 91,704 people.

History

The stadium opened in 1997 as Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, in honor of the recently deceased owner of the team, and the stadium site was known as Raljon. Before the stadium was built, the Wilson Farm was there. The name "Raljon" is a portmanteau of Jack Kent Cooke's sons' first names - "Ralph" and "John." Notably, Cooke was even able to register Raljon with the United States Postal Service as a legal alternate address for the 20785 zip code of Landover, Maryland, in which the stadium is located, and went to some lengths to require media to use Raljon in datelines from the stadium.

A special exit, Exit 16 (Arena Drive), was built from Interstate 495, the Capital Beltway. It is generally open only on event days.

After the team and stadium were purchased by Daniel Snyder, the naming rights were sold to the FedEx corporation in November 1999 for an average of $7.6 million per year; however, many fans still refer to the stadium as "Big Jack." FedExField replaced Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington, D.C., as the home of the Redskins. FedExField has not had a football season in which the stadium failed to sell out its tickets. Even though it's the NFL's largest stadium, the waiting list for Redskins season tickets has reached well over 10 years.

For the past six years at FedExField, Redskins fans have set the regular-season home paid attendance record. In 2005, the team drew a record 716,998 fans overall. The December 30, 2007, 27–6 win against the Dallas Cowboys was the most watched game in Redskins history, with 90,910 fans in the stands to see Washington clinch a playoff spot.

The August 28, 2004, BCA Classic between the Virginia Tech Hokies and USC Trojans attracted a record 91,665 in attendance.

Design and access

The stadium has five levels - the Lower Level, the Club Level, the Lower and Upper Suite Levels, and the Upper Level. The Lower, Club, and Upper Levels are all named after important figures of the Redskins, NFL, and Washington, D.C. area. The Lower Level is officially named "George Preston Marshall Lower Level", The Club is named "Joe Gibbs Club Level, and The Upper Level is called "Pete Rozelle Upper Level." The Suite Levels have over 200 suite, loge, and Owner's Club luxury boxes.

The stadium is about a 15-minute walk from the Morgan Boulevard Station on Metro's Blue Line, which opened on December 18, 2004. Some fans opt to take the Metro instead of spending $40 (as of 9/14/08) or even more (or in private "discount" lots as little as $25) on parking.

For some years, the Redskins and the local police sought to prevent people from walking to the stadium from the Metro or from private parking lots. After a successful court challenge to the ordinance brought by attorney J.P. Szymkowicz on behalf of "Superfan" Peggy Feltman, walk-ins are now tolerated.

Walking is preferred to driving and parking; a limited amount of at-stadium parking is available; most "official" parking is actually at various nearby office-parks, with lengthly walks to several bus stations. A bus (complimentary with purchase of parking at $40 (as of 9/14/08), but requiring a hospital-style wristband to weed out non-"official" parking locations) takes parkers to a point in the parking lot that's a 5 minute walk to the stadium proper. Given poor access control, it takes an average of an hour, and as much as two and a half hours to leave the stadium parking lot and arrive at the remote parking locations.

The Metrobus line F14 and TheBus lines 22 and 23 serve near the stadium.

Notable events

FedExField hosts the annual Prince George's Classic college football game, which is a game usually between two historically black universities. It has hosted several other college football games as well, including the 1998 game between the University of Notre Dame and the United States Naval Academy, as well as the 2004 Black Coaches Association Classic between the University of Southern California Trojans and Virginia Tech. The stadium has hosted numerous other events as well, including many big-time concerts.

FedExField is not well known as a soccer venue, as D.C. United of Major League Soccer elected to remain at RFK Stadium after the new stadium's opening. As Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, it hosted four preliminary matches and one quarterfinal doubleheader in the 1999 Women's World Cup. During the July 2005 World Series of Football, D.C. United hosted Chelsea F.C. there; the stadium did not sell out, but the 31,473 spectators represented D.C. United's third-highest ever home attendance.

Other notable events include:

Criticisms of FedEx Field and potential replacement

Many fans feel FedEx Field does not compare favorably with RFK Stadium; Sports Illustrated's rankings of "NFL Fan Value Experience" rated FedEx Field 28th out of 32 NFL stadiums. In January 2007, the Washington Post reported that Redskins owner Dan Snyder was meeting with Washington D.C. officials about building a new stadium to return the team to the capital.

Notes and references

External links

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